Springer season opens Saturday in Idaho and during the first week or two I’ll be running mostly Fire Brine herring and Kwikfish in the lower river, a place locals refer to as The Pond. However, once more fish start passing through in greater numbers I’ll move upriver into the faster water where I’ll start fishing Jet Divers and eggs, most notably a Spin n Glo and a quarter-size glob of cured eggs.
I cure fall and spring Chinook eggs the same way, which comes in a sulfite based formula. Meanwhile, I’ve been tinkering with my recipe this winter and spring as I stockpiled steelhead eggs in anticipation of a strong spring Chinook season. Here’s my latest go-to recipe.
Step 1: Start Strong
It’s important to start off with fresh steelhead eggs that are blood free. Once they are blood free I’ll place them on a paper towel to ensure there’s no more blood left on the skein. The paper towel removes all excess blood.
Step 2: Cut Efficiently
I like to cut my baits into 2-inch chunks. This way once they are cured, there’s plenty of space left to cut them into bait-size pieces. The reason for this is because the river is moving fast in the spring you need to have more skein in order to hold the eggs together. Otherwise, they’ll break apart.
Step 3: Bag It
Place chunks of skein in gallon Ziploc. I like to have at least four to six full skeins per bag.
Step 4: Power It Up
I like to first load of my bag with a bunch of Fire Power. You might think I’m crazy, but I’ll use almost a half bottle. Salmon love krill and Fire Power is 100 percent krill with nothing added. They eat it in the ocean and are attracted to it in the rivers, too.
Step 5: Pour On the Fire
After I add the Fire Power, I’ll sprinkle Fire Cure in the bag. If you recall from my last blog, I’m a fan of mixing cures to achieve different colors that salmon don’t normally see. To achieve this, I’ll mix Orange and Pink Fire Cure and sometimes I’ll mix pink and red, too. I sprinkle in a quarter cup of each color, per six skeins in the bag. Keep in mind, these skeins are large because they come from late season steelhead.
Step 6: Roll Em
To spread the cure around I’ll roll the eggs in the Ziploc for at least 20 minutes to guarantee the cure embeds itself into every part of the egg. You want it in every crack.
Step 7: Let It Juice
My job over. Now, I lay the Ziploc on an egg try and let them juice out. Once they juice out, I sometimes add scent, like herring oil, garlic or anise. Since they are juiced out, they’ll suck the juice back in with the scent. At this point, I’ll let them sit at room temperature overnight. The next morning, the bag will literally be vacuum sealed because the eggs suck the air out.
Step 8: Ready To Fish
Throw them in the bait fridge, fish them or store them. You’re ready to fish.
Editor’s Note: Veteran guide John Albrich runs trips for Reel Time Fishing. For more information please visit http://reeltimefishing.com.