By Bob Kratzer | 03/24/2012

As a full-time steelhead and salmon guide, I’m always looking for the best egg cure to catch these species, but also the easiest way to cure the large amount of eggs I go through. I use many different recipes. Some are powder cures, water brines and even others, but lately I’ve found a cure that seems to work well for me.

For years fishermen have been using water brines to cure eggs, but for the last couple of years this technique has gained popularity.  Everyday different water brine cures are being developed. Meanwhile, this is a water brine that I have developed and used with great success. It gives me an egg that I can fish in a 1 ½ day process.

INGREDIENTS 2 quarts river water or distilled water

2 cups borax

2 cups sea salt

1 cup natural Borax-o-Fire

1 cup pink Borax-o- Fire


Notes on achieving colors:

The color of BorX-O-Fire can be switched out depending on the color you are trying to achieve. The above amounts create a nice, light, pink egg for perfect steelhead green water. If you prefer a brighter color you can use two cups of pink or two cups of red. If you want a lighter orange substitute the pink for orange or simply use natural.

1st Step

Mix the two quarts of water with your ingredients. Make sure to stir mixture for a couple of minutes to thoroughly dissolve all of the contents. Keep in mind, this mixture is heavy so you will have contents that will not dissolve and will lie on bottom.

2nd Step

Cut your egg skeins into large pieces. I butterfly mine up the middle and then cut them into smaller pieces. A normal steelhead skein will be cut into 4 to 6 pieces and a bigger king skein will be cut into 8 pieces.

3rd Step

Drop the skeins into the brine. Stir the brine gently to thoroughly mix the brine. Let soak for 45 minutes. Eggs will start to have a raisin looking appearance.  After 45 minutes gently stir eggs and brine one more time.


4th Step

After 1 ½ hours take eggs out of brine and put into a strainer to allow juices to drain. I like to let my eggs sit in the strainer overnight. In the morning I put the eggs into a gallon Ziploc to finish the curing process.


Getting Ready To Fish The Eggs

Your eggs are now ready to fish. To prepare them I cut my eggs into small clusters the size of a nickel or quarter (depending on the color and flow of the water). Next, place them in a small container lined with paper towels. I cut a layer and then squirt the egg clusters with Pautzke red Nectar. Cover that layer with a paper towel and repeat until there are three layers of eggs.

Bonus Info-Prawns

If you like to fish prawns feel free to add prawns to this brine. They can be mixed in with the eggs or done separately. Personally, I like to take the shell off my prawns. I’ll cut them into small pieces and drop them in the brine treating them just like eggs. When taking the prawns out of the brine drain them for a couple of hours. They are now ready to fish.

This quick, easy brine that will make a very tough egg and one the fish can’t resist.

Good luck!



Pautzke Pro Staffer Bob Kratzer offers steelhead trips on the world famous Olymic Peninsula in Washington. For more info on his guide service, Anglers Guide Service, please visit