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how to brine herring for salmon fishing插图

What is the best way to brine herring?

Fill the bag half full of distilled water. Seal the bag and shake it up so the salt gets as mixed with the water as it can. Open the bag and add 2 dozen thawed or mostly thawed herring. Put it on ice or in the refrigerator. I will often add a product made by Pro-Cure called Brine N’ Bite to my brine.

How much salt do you put in a herring tank?

This is enough water to effectively cover 3-5 packs of herring. The water must be non-chlorinated, as chlorine will damage the fish. Coarse Salt – 1000mL (4 cups) of coarse salt (dump in a whole box) Bluing – squirt into the water until it turns bluish This is all you need for the basic salt water brine mixture.

How do you cook frozen herring in a bag?

Fill the bag half full of distilled water. Seal the bag and shake it up so the salt gets as mixed with the water as it can. Open the bag and add 2 dozen thawed or mostly thawed herring. Put it on ice or in the refrigerator.

What is the best brine for Chinook fishing?

This is a very simple brine that contains only two ingredients, Rock Salt and bottled water. Combine one bottle (16.9 oz) of water to 1 cup rock salt. At this point you can now add any optional scents or dyes to the brine. For Spring Chinook I often will add a very small amount of Blue Bad AZZ bait dye from Pro Cure.


It’s a pretty simple recipe and process – follow these steps and you’ll have guide ready herring in no time. Just make sure to combine everything in a space where you aren’t worried about making a bit of a mess. We recommend using your garage or backyard to mix the ingredients and clean your herring.

Why Should You Brine Your Herring?

Many first-time salmon fishermen wonder why you want to brine your herring? Do salmon like their fish salty? The answer is that brined herring holds it shape better and will last longer when you troll with it.


You can pretty much use any type of salt when brining herring. All salt will draw out moisture from the herring and make them go stiff. We recommend using sea salt since that will be the most natural smelling or tasting for the salmon.


There you have it! That’s everything you need to know about how to brine herring for salmon. We’ve been using variations of this recipe for years, and are confident it will help improve your chances of catching a trophy salmon.

Herring Brine Recipe for Salmon Fishing

This recipe is measured out for one or two dozen herring. All of these ingredients can be bought at your local grocery store.

Brining Cut Plug Herring

If I’m trolling cut plug herring, I’ll thaw the herring and cut plug before I place in the brine. It is amazing how well it holds together!

Make This Brine Your Own!

This is a great base, but feel free to experiment adding scent or changing the measured ingredients to make it your own. Best of luck out there and good luck salmon fishing!

Tip 1: The Hunt For Good Bait

Good herring can be hard to find but the quality of the bait will determine how well it fishes. Watch out for blood vacuum packed around the bait fish or bloody eye balls; this means it was probably thawed and re-frozen. Beware of any yellowing on the herring or freezer-burnt fins; this means it is old bait.

Tip 2: Beginners Should Keep it Simple

Fishing for Salmon with herring has been considered an art for generations. Herring is used to target Chinook and Coho, for which herring is a major food source.

Tip 4: Break The Seal on Vac-Packed Bags

If you purchased herring that has been vacuum sealed in its packaging, make sure to break the seal before it thaws. I cut open one end, and lift the plastic up to create a tent out of the package.

Tip 5: Resist Breaking Apart Frozen Bait

Herring is sold frozen in a tray and wrapped in plastic. If you break the bait fish apart from one another you will find major loss of scales, which is bad! More scales equals more flash equals more fish! I remove the brick of herring from the tray and plastic and place it frozen in the brine. It will thaw and brine overnight and be just fine.

Tip 6: Bluing Makes it Brighter!

Adding a little bluing solution to your brine will give the herring scales more shine, which means more flash in the water, which means a greater attraction!

Tip 7: Experiment with Scents

After you feel fairly confident with your bait preparation skills, you can experiment with scents to improve the attractiveness of your bait. Many expert herring fishermen will add garlic, anise, krill or other scents to the brine to give their herring a unique flavor.

Tip 8: Allow Time to Brine

Brine works well when the bait is allowed the appropriate time in the mixture. I prefer to brine my bait overnight. My herring gets brined directly in the plastic container I plan on taking with me on the boat. I place the container in the refrigerator to keep the bait cool while it cures.