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Whitefish Fishing 4: Salting the Fish

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I sometimes dry whitefish, just like I do with trout. However, they are very oily and go rancid fast so I prefer to brine salt them. Stored this way they easily keep for half a year.

The process is pretty simple. I use a wooden barrel, since it is more hygienic than using plastic. Capping the barrel is not necessary unless transporting the barrel with the fish in. Make sure it is waterproof though. If it isn’t, soak it in water for a day or two and try again.

I always clean and scale the fish before doing this, although apparently one can do it without any preparations.

Start with sprinkling a layer of coarse salt at the bottom. I only ever use coarse sea salt because it is more easily handled and extremely cheap.


Every fish gets some salt in the gut cavity and is laid opposite each other in the way shown, belly up.

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Between every layer of fish you add more salt and eventually also on the very top.


After relatively short time, a lot of moisture will draw out of the fish and completely submerge them. Some people use weights, but I have never found that to be necessary.


More layers can be added when available. I did not finish a complete layer on this particular batch, but added an arctic char and brown trout on top.

That is all there is to it. When you are going to use the fish for cooking they should be leached for 2 days in frequent changes of water or in a river like I do. I put them in a net-sack, anchored to a bush along the shore. This will allow for a lot of water exchange and quite thorough desalination. You don’t want to oversoak the fish, experience has shown 2 days to be just right. If oversoaked, the fish will get extremely bland, if undersoaked it will be too salty.


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