Cuningham Park is good find for fishers

Posted: Monday, August 07, 2000

The squishy sound of mud, the whiz and plunk of a cast line, gentle lapping of waves, snippets of casual conversation and the inevitable shout of "fish on" are familiar sounds on the Kenai Peninsula.

They also set the scene at Kenai's Cunningham Park on Sunday afternoon, where fishers lined the bank to try their luck at the silver salmon run in the Kenai River.

"What can I say? It's nice fishing here, there's lots of room, and the tourists don't cut you off," said Caroline Burback of Sterling.

She was one of the more successful fishers lining the bank, already having caught two silvers Sunday and two on Saturday.

"I come quite often, especially when the weather's nice, but if the fishing's really good and I can get my spot, I don't mind the weather," she said.

The silvers have been running since about July 27, estimated Jay Waterbury of Soldotna, who had caught one silver Sunday morning, although Sunday's crowd seemed to be having as much luck with humpies and pinks as they were with silvers.

"It seems like it really hasn't gotten going yet for silvers," said Dorothy Westerlund of California. "It's been real off and on."

Westerlund is up fishing with her daughter from Oregon who used to live in the Kenai area.

Joe Bryant and his 9-year-old daughter, Samantha, from the Kenai-Soldotna area, also had been skunked for silvers all morning but had yet to give up hope.

"They're spotty, but they're there," Bryant said.

At that point, Samantha had gotten a humpy, "which improved her attitude," her dad joked.

The Bryants were using a spinning globe turned upside-down with the wings cut off and a toothpick stuck in it as their lure of choice.

"It's a quirky set-up, is what it is," Bryant said, nodding his head to a group of fishers up the bank who already had caught their limit and indicated it was the same lure they used.

Vic Gendel from Hawaii, who had caught a humpy and a silver by early Sunday afternoon, said he used coho flies for reds and a king rig with a spinner, a couple of beads and some eggs he cured himself from silvers.

Most people on the bank were relying on the tried-and-true combination of eggs and patience to catch their limit.

"Just eggs on a hook," Waterbury said. "Ninety percent of the people here are doing exactly the same thing. You've just got to spend the time."

Despite the somewhat slow run, no one seemed especially put-out by the lack of action.

"The sun's out, there's no traffic to listen to, and there was an eagle we were listening to a while ago," said Charlotte Rosin of Soldotna, who hadn't as yet caught anything.

Cunningham Park, on Beaver Loop Road in Kenai, has a long stretch of fishable bank, restroom facilities, an overlook platform and stairway down to the river. Parking is tight, and the bank is not accessible to wheelchairs, but the slope to the river is moderate.

"It's one of my favorite spots," said Robert Shassetz of Sterling. "There's good access for the kids, and I love bringing them down here."

Caroline Roy brought her 9-year-old daughter, Kelly, out to fish, and she landed one pink out of the four she hooked.

"I caught nothing, so I'm quite embarrassed. I think it's awful to be outfished by a 9-year-old," Roy said.

From the only 30 to 40 people lining the bank on Sunday afternoon, Cunningham Park seemed a well-kept secret. And its visitors want to keep it that way.

"It's horrible," said former area resident Cynthia Lindsay, who was fishing with her mother. "Whatever you do, don't come to Cunningham Park!"

When asked about his catch, Mike Ashwell of Kenai first hid the bucket with his catch of two behind him and said he hadn't got anything. Then, switching tactics, he brought the bucket around and grinned.

"Tell them the fishing's great at Centennial Park!"

HEAD:A bank far from crowded Cunningham Park is good find for fishers

BYLINE1:By JENNY NEYMAN

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

The squishy sound of mud, the whiz and plunk of a cast line, gentle lapping of waves, snippets of casual conversation and the inevitable shout of "fish on" are familiar sounds on the Kenai Peninsula.

They also set the scene at Kenai's Cunningham Park on Sunday afternoon, where fishers lined the bank to try their luck at the silver salmon run in the Kenai River.

"What can I say? It's nice fishing here, there's lots of room, and the tourists don't cut you off," said Caroline Burback of Sterling.

She was one of the more successful fishers lining the bank, already having caught two silvers Sunday and two on Saturday.

"I come quite often, especially when the weather's nice, but if the fishing's really good and I can get my spot, I don't mind the weather," she said.

The silvers have been running since about July 27, estimated Jay Waterbury of Soldotna, who had caught one silver Sunday morning, although Sunday's crowd seemed to be having as much luck with humpies and pinks as they were with silvers.

"It seems like it really hasn't gotten going yet for silvers," said Dorothy Westerlund of California. "It's been real off and on."

Westerlund is up fishing with her daughter from Oregon who used to live in the Kenai area.

Joe Bryant and his 9-year-old daughter, Samantha, from the Kenai-Soldotna area, also had been skunked for silvers all morning but had yet to give up hope.

"They're spotty, but they're there," Bryant said.

At that point, Samantha had gotten a humpy, "which improved her attitude," her dad joked.

The Bryants were using a spinning globe turned upside-down with the wings cut off and a toothpick stuck in it as their lure of choice.

"It's a quirky set-up, is what it is," Bryant said, nodding his head to a group of fishers up the bank who already had caught their limit and indicated it was the same lure they used.

Vic Gendel from Hawaii, who had caught a humpy and a silver by early Sunday afternoon, said he used coho flies for reds and a king rig with a spinner, a couple of beads and some eggs he cured himself from silvers.

Most people on the bank were relying on the tried-and-true combination of eggs and patience to catch their limit.

"Just eggs on a hook," Waterbury said. "Ninety percent of the people here are doing exactly the same thing. You've just got to spend the time."

Despite the somewhat slow run, no one seemed especially put-out by the lack of action.

"The sun's out, there's no traffic to listen to, and there was an eagle we were listening to a while ago," said Charlotte Rosin of Soldotna, who hadn't as yet caught anything.

Cunningham Park, on Beaver Loop Road in Kenai, has a long stretch of fishable bank, restroom facilities, an overlook platform and stairway down to the river. Parking is tight, and the bank is not accessible to wheelchairs, but the slope to the river is moderate.

"It's one of my favorite spots," said Robert Shassetz of Sterling. "There's good access for the kids, and I love bringing them down here."

Caroline Roy brought her 9-year-old daughter, Kelly, out to fish, and she landed one pink out of the four she hooked.

"I caught nothing, so I'm quite embarrassed. I think it's awful to be outfished by a 9-year-old," Roy said.

From the only 30 to 40 people lining the bank on Sunday afternoon, Cunningham Park seemed a well-kept secret. And its visitors want to keep it that way.

"It's horrible," said former area resident Cynthia Lindsay, who was fishing with her mother. "Whatever you do, don't come to Cunningham Park!"

When asked about his catch, Mike Ashwell of Kenai first hid the bucket with his catch of two behind him and said he hadn't got anything. Then, switching tactics, he brought the bucket around and grinned.

"Tell them the fishing's great at Centennial Park!"



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