Fresh Cured Prawns bring out some of the best Salmon Fishing in Oregon
By: Kyle Buschelman

It’s no secret that good bait catches more fish. When it comes to springer fishing, having well cured bait marks the difference between a poor and successful day and being a full time fishing guide poor outings aren’t an option.

My job is to put fish in the boat daily. I accomplish this by showing up with an assortment of quality baits. The bite can be finicky and change hourly. Restricting yourself to one bait can make things tougher. The morning might start off as a herring bite, but by 1 p.m. prawn spinners can be the ticket to getting that one more keeper.

Fresh Cured Prawns Increase the chances of catching great Salmon in Oregon | Willamette Valley Outfitters

The water temperature on the Willamette is rising. The Multnomha Channel was around 55 degrees as of 4/21/16 and the Harbor area has reached 60 already. This temperature rise historically has signified a prawn bite.

The question is, do you have good prawns?

Freshly Cured Salmon Prawns in front of Willamette Valley Outfitter's boat

Adding prawns to your arsenal is a must to increase success. Prawns have saved days for me and made me a hero and not a zero on tough days.

Use Cured Prawns for Great Salmon Fishing in Oregon even on the slow days

Prawns work great trolled in a spinner set up in the Multnomha Channel and the Harbor. They can also be back trolled with a jet diver and back bounced at Oregon City.

Fresh Cured Prawns make Great Spinners for Salmon Fishing in the Columbia River

Trying to come up with a simple, yet effective method to cure prawns, I’ve been working on wet brines and dry cures for ages. A salmon catching prawn needs to have good color, hold its integrity and offer scent. To achieve this I prefer a dry cure.

Willamette Valley Outfitters prefer Dry Cure Prawns to emphasize odor for fish

There’s many ways to cure prawns. Some use wet and others dry cures. Here are the ingredients I use to achieve my perfect bait. You’re welcome to adjust colors or adds ingredients to fit your personal needs. I make small batches and do more as necessary.

My favorite prawn cure:

1/2 cup Pink BorX O Fire

1/2 cup Orange BorX O Fire

1/2 cup Sea Salt

1 TBS Fire Power (krill powder)

2 TBS Red Fire Cure

Pink BorX O Fire | Orange BorX O Fire | Sea Salt | Fire Power Krill Powder | Red Fire Cure

Get a jar to place cure and prawns in. Sprinkle cure on bottom, layer prawns, then add cure. Do this till full. Once you have jar full, secure lid, turn over and make sure the cure covers the prawns. I prefer the prawns be frozen. The reason for this is as they thaw the moisture helps mix the cure and the prawns take the color quicker.

First layer of prawns over Cure mixture in jar | Willamette Valley Outfitters

Second Layer of Cure over Prawns in jar | Willamette Valley Outfitters



Prawns Cured, Sealed in Jar, and ready to refrigerate | Willamette Valley Outfitters

Prawns Cured, Sealed in Jar, and Ready for Action | Willamette Valley Outfitters

I like to let them cure at room temperature for 24 hours. Afterwards, I put the jar in the refrigerator for three days to complete the process.

Prawns are mixed with homemade dry cure | Let sit then ready for action | Willamette Valley Outfitters

Pink on Left Pink/Orange on Right (Above)

Orange BorX O Fire | Pink BorX O Fire | Sea Salt | Krill | Red Fire Cure

I prefer not to freeze my prawns after curing. Once the prawns are ready let them dry a bit in the container. Feel free to add a bit of salt if you feel the prawns need to toughen up a bit. However, removing them from the jar and drying in a container works fine.

Prawns are now completely cured, set, and ready for action | Willamette Valley Outfitters

These prawns are ready to fish.

Homemade Cure Mixture brought in Great Salmon Fishing | Willamette Valley Outfitters