By: Todd Daniels
Western Washington’s pink salmon run came in much higher than forecasted and it’s not over yet. Anglers starting catching pinks in the salt in late July. Although pinks are still being caught in the salt the bite shifted to the rivers in August. Meanwhile, we are nearing the tail end of the run. Fortunately, there’s still ample opportunity to catch them. Many anglers have caught pink salmon and have eggs to cure now and more remain available for harvest.
Curing pink eggs is different than Chinook and coho eggs. Pink salmon eggs have a more delicate membrane and you need to exercise more caution when curing them. The main thing I do different with pink eggs is use one part Fire Cure to two parts BorX O Fire. I do this because too much sulfite burns pink eggs. It will also make them gooey. When curing pink eggs I have a tendency to use less cure overall than I do with Chinook and coho eggs. Below explains my go-to process to cure pink eggs specifically.
The Western WA Pink Cure
I stress this regardless of what eggs I’m curing. Get the blood out of the eggs and then gently butterfly them open.
Trim the skeins and cut them into thirds so they are easier to work with. Then put them in a gallon Ziploc.
This recipe is what I use for roughly five pounds of skeins. Add one tablespoon of Fire Cure and two tablespoons of BorX O Fire into the Ziploc.
For eggs to be used in the Western Washington I’m using Red Fire Cure because our salmon like red eggs in general. I used Pink BorX O Fire (in these photos) because I ran out of red. Normally, I’d use Red Borx O Fire.
*On a side note if you want super red eggs add a quarter cup of Red Fire Dye during this step. You’ll have reddest eggs you’ve ever seen – and sometimes that’s best.
Add one teaspoon of Fire Power. The Fire Power provides extra bite stimulants.
Scent is important in cures. I take roughly one third of a bottle of Atlas Mike’s Shrimp Lunker Lotion and squirt it into the bag. At this point the curing process is well underway. Seal the bag and massage the eggs. Make sure you massage the bag to get the cure into the folds of the eggs.
It’s time to let the cure work. Let it sit at room temperature for six to eight hours. Massage it once an hour to make sure the cure gets in the folds of the eggs.
Place the bag in the fridge. After anything over 24 hours the eggs will be ready to fish.
At this stage the eggs will still be juicy because that’s what pink eggs are. I’ll place them at room temperature on a drying rack for up to 12 hours to help them tack up. I’m looking for that gummy bear consistency – and you should, too.
Editor’s Note: Todd Daniels operates Tall Tales Guide Service. To learn more about his guided Washington salmon trips please visit http://talltailsguideservice.com.