Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 6:08 PM on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home-cured roe good for slingshots, silvers


Although I'm basically a herring flinger when it comes to chasing salmon, I do use roe when everything else has failed and I'm out of explosives.

Why the aversion? Because the stuff is messy and I usually end up resembling someone who has just butchered a moose after I get done prepping a batch of fresh roe. Nevertheless, I've received several requests on how to process home-cure salmon eggs, so I'll share a method that works for me.

First, butterfly the skein. Cut it down the middle without disrupting the fragile membrane on the outside by laying it flat against your hand, egg side up, and work the scissors halfway down the skein.

Because it is vital that you not poke the scissors through the membrane, the scissor operator should remain brew free. The membrane is what keeps eggs held together when they are cured.

After the butterfly cut is made, you can either cut the skein into chunks or leave it whole ready to cut to size, as you fish. If you chunk, try cutting at the natural folds of the skein to maintain as much membrane as possible.

The next step is very important. The container you select to place the eggs in must not be anything that your lady could find use for other than a litter box. Her Tupperware is not a cool choice. Trust me.

Once you have your landfill-scavenged tub, lay your skein cuts out and sprinkle your choice of cure directly onto the eggs while lifting up on the back of the skein to reveal its natural breaks. Open up these to allow the cure to soak deep into the membrane.

Note: It is highly recommended during this procedure to wear cheap elbow-length rubber gloves lest you come away stained so badly your wife dives for the phone to dial 911 when you step back into the house.

When you have completed sprinkling on the cure, turn it upside down and do the same for the other side. As you finish one piece of skein, lay it in a plastic, sealable bag.

Continue working until all of the eggs are coated and layered in bags then seal the tops and shake the eggs to assure full exposure of the eggs and suitable moisture assimilation.

Once they are mixed, let them juice out and reabsorb in an area where the temperature stays between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turn the eggs about every eight hours as they juice out. It takes about 48 to 72 hours for juice to reabsorb, depending on the temp.

During this period of re-absorption I sometimes add either herring or krill oil as an extra odorous attraction.

Warning: Do not spill this stuff on your clothing. It's embarrassing having to strip down on the deck before being allowed back inside. Even more so if the cops show up.

The preferred texture and firmness of a finished cure egg varies between fishermen. If you like your eggs drier, drain them for 48 hours.

If you like to dry your eggs in the fridge, don't leave them there too long or they'll turn into chunks you can use as wrist rocket ammo.

There are numerous ways to store cured eggs. If you are going to be using them soon just refrigerate in a tightly sealed container hidden behind stuff your significant other seldom uses, but under no circumstances forget them.

I did. She still hasn't, and claims whatever she discovered was alive. I dispute that, but admit that it was incinerated without being opened.

For later use, I recommend placing the eggs flat in a vacuum pack bag. Leave it unsealed and freeze them. When that's done vac them and they'll be good for at least a year.

Now let's take a quick look at some of the state's weekly fishing report.

Fresh Water Streams

Anglers fishing the lower sections of the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek report some fair catches of silvers, but nothing to warrant a stampede just yet.

Fishing, as usual, has been better in the morning and rookie fish continue to show up on the incoming tides.

So far, the cohos have a thing for drifting salmon roe clusters. Try hanging a glop just off the bottom using a bobber.

A plug-cut herring, spinners in sizes 3-6 and weighted flies also will give you a shot at a strike. Remember, a silver may not be removed from the water prior to release. If it is, you own it and it counts toward your bag limit.

Steelhead remain off-limits in the Anchor, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and the Ninilchik streams. If hooked, they must not be removed from the water and be released immediately or you could get in bigger trouble than my dog Howard when he shares a very personal gas event just as dinner is served.

Salt Water: Halibut

Halibut fishing in Kachemak Bay has sneaked up to a rating of pitiable to fair. It gets much better if you gun it on out to central or southern Cook Inlet.

Try fishing around and during slack tide, especially after Saturday. Minus tides are coming and you may need engine blocks as weights to hold your bait on the bottom when they start running.

Salt Water: Salmon

Silver salmon fishing in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay remains fair to good at Flat Island, Point Pogibshi and farther offshore. Trolling works great for these gluttons, especially if they are tearing into a school of bait fish as you go motoring by. Try a figure eight trolling pattern if you get on top of them.

Fishing for silvers in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon was so bad last week anglers were spotted filleting their bait herring for dinner. There were some reports of new fish arriving on a couple of incoming tides, but it turned out they were lost.

Catches of feeder kings have picked up near Bluff Point.

Salt Water: Shellfish

The next series of clamming tides occur between Saturday and Sept. 3.

Don't forget that an emergency order has been issued to reduce the sport, personal use and subsistence bag and possession limits for littleneck and butter clams in Cook Inlet and Resurrection Bay from 1,000 littleneck clams and 700 butter clams to a combined limit of 80 clams.

Take someone along who knows how to count. It'll keep the snickers down when you walk into a store after your name shows up in the police report.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.