By: Bojan Zivkovic
“Bojangles. How do you get your roe to look so good?”
That is a question I get quite often from my friends and anglers on the water, especially after one has seen my freshly cured batch of eggs whether it is trout or salmon eggs. Vibrant, soft, tacky, and plump is a way I like to describe a perfectly cured batch of eggs. I can honestly say the eggs I cure using Pautzke’s Fire Cure turn out to be the perfect ‘textbook’ batch of eggs, every single time. It’s not rocket science! The curing is a very simple process, which any novice or experienced salmon or trout angler can accomplish within minutes.
First and foremost, to have that perfectly cured batch of eggs, you must have freshly harvested eggs. Frozen roe will not cure well although it rejuvenates well with Pautzke’s Nectar, so it is very important to start with fresh eggs. Any harvested fish should be bled out immediately unless your fish is kept alive throughout your day on the water. Blood can quickly spoil your eggs quickly, especially if you keep your eggs in the fridge for a couple days prior to the curing process.
Once you have your fresh eggs ready for the curing process, I recommend scraping your salmon or steelhead eggs off the skein (membrane) with a spoon if the eggs happen to be premature. Although skein can be too messy to work with for some anglers, scraped eggs carry more scent and milk better compared to mature (loose) eggs.
To scrape the eggs with minimal mess, flip the eggs down on a paper towel so that the membrane side is facing upwards. The paper towel sheets help dry out your fresh eggs if there is far too much moisture. From this step, you can take a spoon and slowly start scraping the eggs gently off the back of the membrane from the top of the skein down to the bottom. While scraping your eggs, be sure to get rid of any bloody membrane since blood will spoil a cured batch of eggs quickly.
After your eggs have all been scraped off the membrane, you are now ready to start the curing process. Fire Cure is a personal favourite of mine whether it is natural, orange, pink, or red. While targeting steelhead, I find myself using Orange Fire Cure the most since the eggs come out more vibrantly when using different colours of spawn mesh. If I am l satisfied with the colour of the eggs that came out of the fish naturally, I use Natural Fire Cure since the colour of the eggs in salmon and trout vary in different bodies of water.