Spring chinook fishing is in full swing and people are starting to fish the tributaries for these coveted fish. One of the most effective ways to fish for springers is with bobber and eggs. If you are new to fishing for salmon with eggs you may have heard fishermen and women talking about hot or sweet eggs. If you don’t know how to create eggs that fall on one end of the sweet/hot spectrum this will help you hook up with more fish.
Sweet is achieved by using a cure that is heavy on the sweet ingredients such as sugar. Sweet cures are great for using closer to the ocean. The fish just came out of the salt and sweet is the opposite of where they came from. The majority of my cures have sugar in them because I fish close to the ocean. If you have a cure that is referred to as hot and you want to make it more appealing to costal fish, just play with adding different amounts of sugar when you cure your eggs. Some store bought cures are sweeter than others. Amerman’s and Pro-Cure Last Supper Cure in the Costal / Tidewater formulations are a few that are on the sweet end of the spectrum.
Hot is achieved by the use of different sodiums. I am not going to give it all away, so I will let you do some experimentation to find the one or combination you like. Salmon that have been out of the salt for a while start to experience a loss of nutrients. Eggs that are on the hot end of the spectrum are especially appealing to them. If you want to add heat to your existing cure I would suggest starting with a small amount of a sodium and working your way up. It is easy to fry eggs with sodiums. Eggs can be recurred if you do not get the result you were hoping for. Pro-Cure Last Supper Cure in the Inland / Upriver formula and the Pro-Cure Wizard formulas are on the hotter end of the spectrum.
I love curing eggs and I like to use Nate’s Bait because I can take it in the direction I want to, or just fish it out of the bottle. I get consistent results and eggs that catch fish when I use Nates Bait. Most fishermen have their go to cure, and if you are not sure what to try, ask at the local tackle shop.
The most important steps of egg curing happen as soon as you catch a hen. Bleed your fish well. My skeins are blood free and I don’t have to take the time to try to remove blood when I cure the eggs.
After you have bleed your fish take the time to put it on ice or on a stringer in cool water. Keeping your catch as fresh as possible is important to the eggs and the filets you will bring home.
When I get ready to fillet a fish I make sure I have plenty of Ziploc bags opened with the tops folded open. I wear gloves when I take the eggs out of the fish, to avoid any contamination. They are then placed in a Ziploc bag and cured within 24 hours of when they were removed from the fish.
If you are wanting to step up your egg game be prepared to measure everything every time so you can achieve the same results next time. Not every recipe you make will be a big producer but hold onto those eggs for less picky fish like coho and chum. There will always be exceptions to the sweet closer to the salt and hot for inland fish, but it is a good start for thinking about egg cures for where you fish.