How to Cure Salmon Eggs
In my opinion, cured Salmon roe is the best bait you can use for Salmon (and many other species). Chum Salmon roe is my favorite to use because of the size of the eggs and skeins. This How To Tip is captured in the video but I’ve also included the same steps with screen captures below.
Note: When watching the video, be sure to read the subtitles as most of the information is captured there.
Layout Skeins on a paper towel. Also recommend putting newspaper or something else under the paper towel as blood/moisture will soak through.
Butterfly the Skeins on a paper towel. Use scissors or knife to cut down the middle of the eggs (do NOT cut the skein side or through the skein). This opens up the skein so the cure can easily get into all the eggs. Lastly, don’t worry about popping/destroying the eggs in this step, the eggs (and skein) separate quite easily with a few simple scissor clips.
Where there is still blood in the veins of the skein use a spoon/butter knife to push the blood out. Dab it up with a paper towel. Lastly, use a paper towel to dab any blood anywhere else on the roe/skein. Repeat process for all skeins.
Cut the skeins into smaller pieces. Typically, I like to cut 1 skein into 3 or 4 pieces. I think smaller pieces cure better as there is more surface area for the cure to work. Also, smaller pieces provide better bait management as you can take what you need when you are ready to go fishing.
Put the small pieces into a large freezer Ziploc bag. On average I put 2 skeins per Ziploc bag, but keep in mind salmon skeins vary in size. For example, Chum vs. Pink skeins. In this video, I’m using large Chum skeins. IMPORTANT! I’d suggest using latex gloves before completing this step. A bit of a fail on my part here.
Add your cure! Twist off the top and I recommend using anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the bottle per bag. I like this amount of cure when a large freezer Ziploc bag is 1/5-1/4 full of roe.
With some air in the Ziploc bag tumble the cure. Do this until you’ve ensured all the eggs are well covered. I tumble every 15-20 minutes for the first 2 hours (6-8 tumbles). After the 2 hours I put into the fridge for the night. IMPORTANT! Do NOT drain the juice.
The entire curing process I recommend 36 to 48 hours. After the first night in the fridge, check on the eggs and you’ll feel them hardening up, keep tossing them and gently massaging the eggs into the juice. You really can’t tumble the eggs too much during the 48 hour period. In the last 24 hours of curing you don’t have to do it as regularly as the initial 12-24 hour period. In this last period I’d recommend tumbling them at least 5-6 times.
Use a Sharpie to write the cure name & recipe on the bags. It’s good to keep track of the cure name and recipe you use, especially if you’re adding Krill powder or other ingredients that eventually work out great on the river.
After the 36-48 hour period and the eggs are cured, you’ll need to determine if you should freeze them. If you’re not using the eggs in the next week, you should freeze them. Be sure to freeze the eggs into bag sizes that would accommodate a fishing trip. That way you don’t have to thaw the entire batch, but only what you need.
I decided to freeze my eggs using my Food Saver freezer bags (vacuum sealed). Of course, I’ll have to rewrite my cures/recipes on these new bags but this roe will be ready to fish in the upcoming months (up to a year). When ready to use, take bag(s) out of freezer and place into the the fridge the night before the fishing trip. When the morning comes they should be ready for action!