, Fishing News
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 


Website of the Week


Curing eggs for salmon fishing

Jeff G oodwin author photo,

Article and photos by Jeff Goodwin
09/27/15 -- Salmon fishing on the Sacramento River is going strong and anglers are catching salmon just about everywhere in the Sacramento River system. We really got off to a late start this year, but the tough fishing seems to be behind us now. With fresh salmon still being caught in the saltwater, we might just see fishing last a bit longer this year. I think it would be safe to say that we should continue to see some pretty good salmon fishing until the end of October or until we see our first good shot of rainfall.

Every salmon season, new and experienced anglers alike flock to the rivers along the banks or in boats in pursuit of the mighty king salmon. There are a number of different methods used to catch these elusive fish, but fishing with fresh cured salmon roe is surely among the top choices for many anglers. Every year, lots of salmon heavily laden with eggs are caught by anglers who have little, if any, experience in curing salmon eggs. Often times, the eggs from harvested salmon are given away to fellow anglers or even thrown away. I happen to catch the majority of my salmon every year on roe that I have harvested and cured myself. There are many techniques for curing salmon eggs, and everyone who does, has a favorite method of their own. I'm going to explain a simple method for curing salmon eggs that is very easy, and requires very little experience to produce a very good batch of salmon roe which you can use to catch your own salmon. Curing your own roe and catching salmon with it is actually quite rewarding.

A fresh pair of salmon skeins , photo by Jeff Goodwin
A fresh pair of salmon skeins

The first step in the curing process begins with immediately bleeding your fish after catching it. Severe both sides of the gills and keep the salmon submerged in water until it’s no longer bleeding. This will reduce the amount of blood that will remain in the egg skeins before you remove them. Always wear latex gloves and remove the eggs from your fish before you fillet them so you don't damage the membrane that surrounds the eggs. I cut up the belly of the fish and pull the eggs loose from near the head of the fish where the egg membrane attaches. Once you break the membrane free inside the belly cavity, the skeins will come out easily. Make sure you have a clean Ziploc® bag to put your eggs in immediately after removing them from the salmon. I like to place a few sheets of paper towels in the bag to soak up any little bit of blood or moisture they may still have on them. Do not wash off the eggs before placing them in the Ziploc. Keep the eggs cool after removing them from the fish and until you get home. Once at home place them in the fridge until you can get around to curing them, usually within 24 hours.

Skeins butterflied prior to applying cure , photo by Jeff Goodwin
Skeins butterflied prior to applying cure

Now that you are ready to take some time to cure your eggs, make sure you have a good place to cure them. I wouldn't recommend curing eggs inside your home, or near anything that you don't want to be contaminated by red dye. Permanent damage can result if you’re not careful! After slipping on your latex gloves remove the eggs from the Ziploc and place them on the surface you intend to use to cure your eggs. Make sure they are free from blood or excess moisture. If there is any blood left in the veins of the skein, use a dull butter knife to push the blood out of the veins using a paper towel to wick up any blood that is removed. Just make sure you don't damage the membrane while removing the blood. Next, take the same butter knife and cut down through the center of the opening in the membrane of the skein. Using a butter knife will keep the berry intact and won't pop them. This opens up the skein and exposes all of the eggs. Once the skein is butterflied open, you may want to cut the skein in half so it is easier to deal with. Sacramento River kings can have very large skeins in them.

Application of the cure to the butterflied skeins , photo by Jeff Goodwin
Application of the cure to the butterflied skeins

Now, here comes the tricky part. What kind of egg cure do I use on my eggs? Well, there are a lot of different kinds of cures out there, and like I said, everyone has their favorite. I would recommend using a commercial cure. It contains all the necessary ingredients to cure your eggs and they require very little knowledge to use. Because most egg cures for salmon contain sulfites, you only have to be careful about how much cure you put on the skeins. Using too much will burn the eggs, causing them to get hard and to shrivel up. A cure that I know to be very forgiving and also produces a very good cured egg is Pautzke Fire Cure. The chemicals in the Fire Cure are mild and you really have to go overboard to burn your eggs. So now that you have your fire cure, sprinkle the cure over the open skein with just enough powder to cover all the eggs. Turn your skein over and sprinkle the Fire Cure over the membrane side covering it completely. Flip the skein over again and gently massage the cure into the open egg side of the skein, making sure the cure gets down into the crevices. This is all you need to do before placing the skeins in a gallon Ziploc baggie. Once the skeins are in the Ziploc, gently roll the skeins around in the bag ensuring you get the cure to cover all of the surfaces of the skein. As you do this, you will notice the eggs will begin to juice up indicating that the curing process has begun. Place the Ziploc in the refrigerator. On the first day, I will turn the eggs in the juice every couple of hours and once before bed. First thing in the morning, I will roll them around again.

Skeins in the Ziploc bag during the curing process , photo by Jeff Goodwin
Skeins in the Ziploc bag during the curing process

You will find that after the eggs get really juicy, they will slowly begin to reabsorb the juice back into the egg berry's causing them to look nice and plump again. The amount of time that it takes for the eggs to reabsorb the juices will most often depend on the temperature in your fridge. Keep an eye on them. Once the juice has reabsorbed back into the eggs, I will push the air out of the Ziploc and reseal. I will let the eggs sit for about 3-5 days before removing them. These eggs will fish best after 5-7 days of curing. If you intend on fishing them within a few weeks, remove them from the Ziploc and wrap each skein in an unscented paper towel. Place the wrapped skein in a Ziploc bag and label it with the type of cure, and the date you cured them.

Finished product on a drifting rig , photo by Jeff Goodwin
Finished product on a drifting rig

If you plan to save them for later or even next year, the best way to keep them is to freeze them. Plastic or glass jars are my first choice. You can place them in the freezer wrapped in a paper towel inside a Ziploc as well. If you plan to store them long term in the wrap, after they are frozen vacuum seal them. They will last a year or more vacuum sealed. Best of luck to all of you who are new to curing eggs, and please, if you have any questions feel free to give me a call. I'd be happy to help in any way that I can. Tight lines everyone!

Jeff Goodwin specializes in guiding and fishing for salmon, trout and steelhead in Northern California and Southern Oregon rivers. He also has many associates who work with him and/or guide on other waters in this region. To learn more please visit or contact him at or at (707) 616-1905.

Fishing Reports

A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story


Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports


So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries,

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.


A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.