The most effective way to catch any type of fish in any environment is to use natural food sources or replicas of those food sources to entice a fish to strike. The key to finding the right type of bait or lure is to understand in which environments the natural models upon which those baits are likely to appear, and which fish are likely to strike on them. Eggs and roe for salmon fishing are two baits that have proven effective in most salmon fishing environments, so let???s take a look at some ways in which they are used.
For the purposes of this article, we will refer to artificial products as ???eggs??? while natural bait will be referred to as ???roe???. It is important to note that eggs and roe are actually synonymous, roe being the plural form of a group of eggs that comes from a salmon or various other types of marine life.
Artificial eggs are usually brightly colored, and can be used both for ocean and river fishing. Many anglers I know of actually use the roe to cast with, contained within an egg sac that helps with the presentation. These eggs are typically cured when manufactured, the scent being absorbed by the material used (typically foam). The great thing about artificial eggs as bait is that they do not need to be re-cured; they are simply put back into the container where they begin to absorb scent again.
Natural roe is a more complicated bait when we are talking about eggs and roe for salmon fishing. Roe needs to be taken fresh in order for it to be totally effective; please note that it is illegal in many areas to harvest roe from a wild, breeding salmon. In most cases, however, roe can be harvested from a stocked species, be it salmon or another type of fish.
One of your first instincts may be to wash the roe, but this is a mistake if you want to use it for fishing at a later date; when water touches roe the membranes begin to break down and pretty soon the roe deteriorates and is not useful as bait anymore.
If you are planning to store your roe, it is important to cure it right away. There are plenty of artificial cures out there, but you might want to make your own with a combination of salt, borax, sugar, and dye. You can mix it around in a Ziploc bag, and this cured roe can be stored in a freezer for a long time without losing its appeal (just make sure it does not get freezer burn).
Eggs and roe for salmon fishing are particularly effective when you are using floats in the mouths of rivers where salmon are gathered pre-spawn. They are still in the mood to eat, and will strike at the tempting offering. Don???t expect the same bait to work farther upstream, though; if salmon still had an instinct to feed on eggs and roe at the spawning grounds, they would quickly eliminate themselves as a species!