Learn to Cure Eggs For West Coast Steelhead

By: John Albrich

Out West, from Northern California through BC, and into Idaho, there’s still steelhead runs taking place. Some are about to expire while others are still in full swing. Regardless of whether it’s early or late in the run I cure my eggs the same way. I prefer fresh coho or mature steelhead eggs, and the following egg cure will work on both.

I like a pink egg that’s plump and tacky. This is why I like mature steelhead or coho eggs, because they are larger. A larger egg holds more scent and cure and provides you with a larger berry to work with. Pink is vibrant and is one of the preferred colors anywhere in the West. Meanwhile, this season I have tweaked my eggs a tad by adding Pink Fire Dye. I’m doing this because it adds UV and bolsters the color.


An All Season Cure for Steelhead

Step 1:

I like to start with blood-free skeins. It’s important to get all blood off them. I’ll dab them with paper towels to remove all the blood I can.


Step 2:

Butterfly the skein and place them in a gallon Ziploc.

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Step 3:

After butterflying the skein place them one at a time in the Ziploc. Then, sprinkle Pink BorX O Fire onto the skein. I’ll repeat this until the bag is three quarters full. Sprinkle enough cure on each skein to cover it. Keep in mind, you can’t burn them with BorX O Fire.

Step 4:

Personally, I add a quarter to half cup of sugar to the bag. This helps make them more tacky and sweet. Steelhead are attracted to a sweeter egg rather than a sulfite based egg.


Step 5:

At this point I add five to eight drops of pure anise oil. I do this to add scent. Sometimes I use Fire Power as well. When I do I’ll use about a tablespoon. I often cure two batches; one with anise and one with the Fire Power to give the fish options.

Step 6:

This season I’ve been pouring two tablespoons of Pink Fire Dye into the bag. As mentioned above this gives the eggs stronger UV properties and a more vibrant color. You don’t need to use much. It’s potent.


Step 7:

Seal the bag and gently massage it to get the cure and agents into the egg.


Step 8:

Leave the eggs overnight at room temperature. The eggs will first juice out and then suck all the juice and scent back in. This is a good thing as the scent and cure will get pulled into the membrane of the egg. After 12 hours they are ready to fish, but oftentimes I’ll them sit 24 hours. During this time I’ll roll the bag every few hours. The eggs are now ready to fish.


Editor’s Note: Veteran guide John Abrich resides in Idaho. He’s fished steelhead systems from California to Alaska.