The art of tying spawn has been evolving for the past decade. Ten years ago anglers used one color netting and used regular string or line to tie their spawn sacs together. Today, thanks to technology, we have more options and can tie them with ease compared to the past.
To begin, an angler needs to get spawn, or fish eggs, from a freshly caught fish. This can be a challenge at times, since spawn is often the best bait during tough fishing conditions. Once a female with spawn is caught, it is important to first bleed the fish out by cutting a gill plate on each side of the fish and allow the blood to bleed out into water. This will get most of the blood away from the eggs. Blood taints the eggs, so you want to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Once the fish has been bled out, you can begin extracting the eggs from the fish. If the fish is really ripe, you might be able to simply squirt the eggs out of the fish by pressing on the belly and holding a container under the fish to catch the spraying eggs. If this doesn't work you will have to use a knife to remove the eggs. Begin by slicing from the anus towards the belly of the fish. Be careful not to pierce too deep, which could lead to damaging the eggs. Once the stomach is opened up, the eggs can be removed by hand. If the eggs aren't fully developed they will be in the form of skein. The eggs will be held together by a membrane which can be removed from the fish by cutting on both ends of the skein.
Once the eggs are out of the fish, you can begin tying spawn sacs. There are many shapes, sizes, and colors that can be tied. River conditions will dictate how you should tie your eggs. When ice fishing, water clarity is the main factor to consider when choosing how to tie your spawn sacs.
Dirty, high, or fast water generally mean bigger and brighter, while clean, low, or calm water tends to mean smaller and more natural presentations.
Once you have assessed the conditions, you can begin tying the proper spawn sacs. Regardless of conditions, I like to have a variety of colors and sizes of spawn with me on any given day, since Trout, for whatever reason, tend to want something a little different every day.
The art of tying spawn sacs isn't developed overnight. It will take some trial and error to get good at it and learn what will be productive in certain situations. For beginners, there are a few essential items to get started. Spawn netting is the first necessity, which can be found at most tackle shops. Magic Thread is also needed, since it is used to tie the netting together and hold the eggs in place, and can also be found at most tackle shops. A bag or container to put the eggs in prior to tying the spawn sacs in needed, as well as baggies to place the finished spawn sacs in. I also use a marker to label the bags. I like to state what type of eggs it is, the color of the netting, and the date I caught the fish. I will also label whether it is spawn or skein. You will also need a scissors to cut off excess netting as well as cut the skein into chunks small enough to tie into sacs. I have noticed over the years that sometimes the fish want the skein natural, just hooked onto a bare hook, and other times will not touch it unless it is tied into a sac with netting.
If you plan on getting into the sport and tying lots of spawn sacs, I strongly suggest getting a spawn tying machine. These are relatively inexpensive and will save you lots of time in the long run. The machine enables you to tie the spawn sacs in different sizes and with whatever color netting you choose. With or without the help of a spawn tying machine, you will be on your way to creating your own bait by hand, something that doesn't often happen in today's world!
Curing eggs is another popular tactic that will be discussed a different day, but is primarily used when you have more eggs than you can use in the short term. By curing the eggs, you extend their life for up to a year if frozen and over a month if refrigerated.
I hope these tips will put you on the right path the next time you land a nice female trout! Good luck fishing and check back soon!