If you’re after freshwater fish like steelhead and trout, some of the best bait you can use is salmon or trout eggs. When fish are actively spawning in shorelines, rivers, harbors or streams, they don’t pay much attention to normal baits and lures. However, they’ll respond to a cluster of cured eggs, called a skein, or an egg spawn sack (a small cheesecloth sack filled with clumps of eggs). You can attach either of these egg clumps to your hook and let it float freely. You can also add a small sinker if you need to get the bait to go deeper. You can find cured fish roe in many tackle or bait shops, or you can simply make your own.
How to Cure Roe for Fish Bait
To cure salmon eggs, you’ll need the following:
- Fresh salmon eggs
- A one gallon Ziplock bag
- An egg cure: Some brands include Pautzke, Beau Mac Cure, Pro-Cure, Zilla Baits and Cure-All
- A pair of scissors or a knife
- Paper towels
- Curing salm
Curing Quick Steps:
- Bleed the salmon and keep it cool.
- Take the egg skeins out of the salmon.
- Butterfly the egg skeins to allow the cure to penetrate them.
- Add the salmon egg skeins into the Ziploc bag.
- Add the cure and shake the bag to coat the eggs – don’t over or under shake.
- Gently rotate and shake the bag so the cure coats the eggs evenly.
- Set the bag down and let it rest. The eggs will juice out, then reabsorb the cure.
- Drain any extra juice from the bag, then put it in the refrigerator for a day.
- Use it within a week or freeze it if you plan on using it later.
What is Egg Cure?
You can make a salmon egg cure out of salt, borax, dye, sugar and other preservatives. The salt is used to preserve, the borax to dry, the dye to color, and the sugar to toughen. After you coat the skins, the cure will pull the liquid out of the eggs. After several hours, the eggs will be noticeably smaller and the liquid in the container will look soupy. Wait a few more hours to give the eggs time to pull the liquid back in, along with the dye and preservatives. The reabsorbing is the last step – you can now prepare the eggs specifically for whichever fishing method you plan to use.
How to Apply Egg Cure
Lightly cover the skeins with the cure solution, making sure to use just the right amount. If you don’t use enough, your bait won’t be preserved. If you add too much, the chemicals in the mixture will burn the roe. Once you’ve evenly coated the skeins with the cure, let them rest so they can finish curing.