How to Brine Herring for Salmon Fishing

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This page has a great brine recipe that we use, however if you don’t want to do all of the mixing, Pautzke has a great pre-made brine that you can order below.

Brining herring is an invaluable technique when you’re salmon fishing, it toughens the bait, tends to make it shinier and allows you to add scent to the herring prior to using it.
Here is our tried and true herring brine:
1. Gallon Ziploc bag
2. Mrs. Stewarts Laundry Bluing(brightens the bait)
3. 1 cup Rock Salt
4. Distilled water
5. Pure Anise Oil
Take your Ziploc bag and put the 1 cup of Rock Salt in it.
Give it 4 good squirts of Mrs. Stewarts Bluing.

Add 5 or 6 drops of pure Anise Oil (not the kind from your grocer’s baking section that has alcohol in it).


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.  Just take the cap off of the jar and fill the cap half full then dump it into the bag when you add your rock salt.

You can over brine green label herring if you use too much rock salt but I worry less about this then under brining them and having them be mushy and fall off the hook. If your herring are shriveling up, just pull them out of the brine before this happens and keep them in a ziploc bag on ice.
This is the most important thing to remember, keep your herring cold for the whole fishing day by placing it in a cooler on ice and making sure you’re using the best looking herring you can find!

Additional help on the article was provided by expert fisherman William Tillman

The author, Kevin Newell, and his wife Lacey DeWeert are professional fishing guides in Oregon and Washington!

Click here to go fishing with Kevin or Lacey!

Copyright 2012 Total Fisherman™