Herring is the bait of choice for many of the Northwest’s top salmon fishermen. Having the highest quality baits will increase your catch, and brining it the night before can help make that happen. Even the best quality herring needs a little love. Brining will help toughen them up, making them stay fishing longer. Special additives will also help to brighten the bait and add more flash as it spins in the water column.
I’ve played around with different brines, but after years of experimenting I’ve found the perfect recipe to brine herring for salmon fishing.
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.
- 4 cups of water (distilled is preferred)
- 1/2 cup natural sea salt
- 2 tablespoons powdered milk
- 2 tablespoons borax
- 1 tablespoon Mrs Stewart’s Bluing
Herring Brine Instructions
- Mix the ingredients in a water-tight plastic container.
- Add the herring to the brine the night before your fishing trip.
- Place in refrigerator or iced cooler and store.
By morning, the bait will be stiffer and will fish longer. The powdered milk and bluing will brighten up the scales and make the bait appear more lifelike.
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!