By: Kyle McClelland
There’s an endless number of ways to cure salmon eggs. However, with the increase in fishing pressure in the Great Lakes it’s vital to have well-cured eggs that are durable and have strong scent. Day in and day out I need to have the best eggs to keep my clients catching fish.
While some anglers still believe that uncured eggs are sufficient there’s no better bait for fall salmon than cured eggs. It’s important to have cured eggs because you have to preserve your egg. If you don’t cure them they’ll go bad in three or four days, even when refrigerated. Curing eggs also gives them color, milking properties and more scent.
I aim to drift eggs everyday that are tacky, colorful, milk out and are well scented. This is only attainable by curing them properly and for me requires using two different egg cures: BorX O Fire and Fire Cure. This is a process I do daily during fall salmon season. I use two different cures because I want the sulfites and milking properties of the Fire Cure and the properties of the BorX O Fire to dry the eggs out and make them tacky. Many anglers like their eggs wet and runny, but I like mine dry.
Many anglers ask what color to use when curing eggs. That’s a tough question. All colors work, but some work better than others. I prefer pink and red eggs for fall salmon and always have those colors on the boat. However, there’s so many people using cured eggs now sometimes you have to switch colors to get them to bite. Lately even orange has been working.
Follow these exact steps to make your eggs exactly like I do.
The XXL Great Lakes Cure
Immediately after catching a female salmon that you plan to harvest for eggs make sure to bleed it out. Bleeding it will remove most of the blood from the skeins. After bleeding, remove the eggs from the fish and plan to cure them as soon as possible.
Butterfly the eggs. I do so with my hands, not scissors. I don’t like to cut them because you pop eggs when you do so. When you use your hand you don’t do that.
Start The Cure
After butterflying, sprinkle Fire Cure on both sides of the skein. Your job isn’t done yet. To make sure the cure is distributed properly massage the cure into the eggs with your finger. You want to make sure the cure gets to every egg. (As mentioned above I normally use Red or Pink Fire Cure.)
Let the Cure Work
In recently years I’ve seen many Great Lakes anglers let the cure sit for an hour and think the curing process is done. It’s best to be patient and let the cure work. If you do you’ll see a difference in the quality of the eggs when they are done. After sprinkling on the cure place the eggs in a Ziploc (some anglers around here even use a bucket) and let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours to allow the cure to work.
Time to Dry Them Out
After 24 hours the Fire Cure makes the eggs juice out and then reabsorbs those juices. Now it’s time to dry them out. To do so, take the skeins out of the bag and lay them on a table. Use a paper towel to dab off the excess juices.
At this point I sprinkle Natural BorX O Fire on the eggs. However, you can also use orange, pink or red. Simply match the color of BorX O Fire to the color you used with Fire Cure. I use natural because it doesn’t change the color of the eggs, but add red on red, etc., won’t alter that either. Keep in mind the BorX O Fire dries the eggs out, preserves them and makes them tackier, which is why we are adding this process.
Store or Use
After dusting them off with BorX O Fire they are ready to fish. I place them in a paper towel – one skein at a time – and place them in a fridge. They can be used right away or frozen this way.
Editor’s Note: Kyle McClelland operates XXL Chrome Chasing. For more info on his guided salmon trips please visit: https://www.facebook.com/XxlChromeChasing or https://www.xxlchromechasing.com.