By: Ted Kessler
My go-to egg curing method hasn’t changed in a few years. More than 85 percent of the salmon we catch come on what I call the Niagara River Brine. I mix plain borax and blend three colors of Fire Cure and it gives us an egg the salmon key in on. More so, it gives our boat a consistent egg every time. Over the year’s I’ve found out that every fish’s eggs cure differently. With this method we get a more consistent egg regardless of whether the eggs are mature or immature. Using the brine the eggs tend to take on the same color across the board.
Regardless of whether you fish on the US or Canadian side of the Niagara River this egg cure puts you in the best position to catch salmon. Even though I mix three different colors of Fire Cure the method is still simple. Here’s exactly what I do.
The Niagara River Brine
Step 1: Butterfly
Butterfly the eggs to make sure the cure penetrates all the eggs. I normally cut them in half or in three pieces depending on the size of the skein.
Step 2: Mix & Stir
Mix the below ingredients together. Then stir until the contents are dissolved.
2 quarts of bottled spring water or fresh river water (don’t use tap water)
1 cup of non-iodize salt or sea salt
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of plain borax
½ cup of Natural Fire Cure
¼ cup of Orange Fire Cure
¼ cup of Pink Fire Cure
At this time if you want to add scents do so now. Personally, I add Fire Power (krill powder) or a tablespoon of anise oil or garlic oil extract. All three are popular locally although garlic is more pertinent for steelhead.
Step 3: Add Skeins
Take skeins and place them in the solution. Leave them in there for one hour and stir several times during that hour.
Step 4: Strain
Take the skeins out, put them in a strainer and let them drain overnight
Step 5: Air Dry
At this point lay the skeins on paper towels and let them air dry for about eight hours. The drying time varies depending on the humidity in the air. The more humid, the longer it takes them to dry. You want that gummy or rubbery consistency. When you get that consistently they are ready to fish.
Step 6: Storage
Put the skeins in Ziploc or sealed containers for storage.
*This recipe will cure four to six skeins at a time.