Season of salmon sorrow looking up

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2008

It was a day for memories to be made.

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Photo By Joseph Robertia
Photo By Joseph Robertia
Lynn Rickert of Kenai couldn't contain her smile after a few hours of fishing at Cunningham Park in Kenai on Thursday.

On Thursday morning at Cunningham Park in Kenai, the cool air was still, pinkish rays of early morning sun were peaking through the clouds, and the fish were running hard with the incoming tide.

"They've really been rolling. When we first got here they were rolling everywhere on the water," said Lynn Rickert of Kenai, who along with her husband, Dallas, hit the muddy banks of the Kenai River just before 6 a.m. in the hopes of catching a few salmon.

They said the poor return of sockeyes on the Kenai had taken its toll on them this season. They had fished numerous times, but Lynn had been skunked on every occasion, and a person could count on one hand the number of fish Dallas brought in.

"It's tough because we depend on those fish for the winter," Dallas said.

They were hoping to turn the tide with the coming of the silver salmon, but their first foray for this feisty sport fish proved par for the season.

"We came a couple of days ago, flipping Pixies, and got nothing," Lynn said.

However, on Thursday morning they changed their bait and with it, their luck finally changed.

"With no luck with the Pixies, we decided to use eggs today, and we've done much better. We've caught seven fish between the two of us," Lynn said, after roughly four hours of fishing.

The Rickerts' fish were a combination of pink and silver salmon -- all still dime bright from having just left the saltwater -- and in regard to the latter species, Lynn's catch was particularly impressive.

"I got two silvers, one big one and one smaller one, but a guy weighed the bigger one for me and it weighed 12 pounds," she said.

A 12-pound silver can pack lot of punch, and Lynn said once she felt the power of the salmon pulsing through her pole, she wasn't entirely sure she could muscle the fish up without loosing it.

"It was pulling really hard and you can always lose them right when you get them on the bank, so I was a little concerned," she said.

In the end, she had nothing to fear, She got the fish up, and her husband bonked it dead before putting it on the stringer.

They weren't the only ones on the bank with fish to show. Several other anglers had pulled in a fish or two during the flood tide by soaking eggs on the bottom with a heavy sinker to hold them there against the ripping current.

Lynn said this is one of the perks of fishing at Cunningham Park.

"I like fishing here. You just sit and wait. It's not like at Centennial or Swiftwater where you have to stand in the cold water for hours, flipping a hook, trying to snag a fish," she said.

Lynn was happy with her catch, and while it didn't make up for a season of salmon sorrow, she said she was thankful to have pulled in a few fish.

"I guess today was my lucky day," she said.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at

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