How To Store Fresh Fish

If you’ve had a successful day of fishing and you’ve managed to catch something tasty for dinner, you may now be wondering how to store a fish until you’re able to cook it.

Because fish can sometimes be a tricky food to store, we thought we’d put this little guide together to help you out.

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Why The Correct Storage Method Is Important


Knowing how to properly store the fish you catch is important because fish that’s not correctly stored can quickly become inedible. When fish is not stored properly it can also mean that some of the flavor is lost.

The quality of the meat can also be affected by incorrect storage, such as if the cleaned fish is stored in water for too long. This is why ice replenishment can be important in the storing process.

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How To Store Fresh Fish (At Home)

Before You Get Home

While you’re fishing, it can be important to either keep the fish alive until you’re ready to store it, or kill it immediately after you catch it.

If you choose to kill it immediately, you should keep it in ice.

It can also be a good idea to clean the fish before putting it in your ice bucket, removing the gills and organs. If you don’t have time to clean the fish at the time, you can keep it in ice for up to 24 hours. If you’ve cleaned the fish, remember to pack ice inside the fish - crushed ice will likely work better for this than cubed ice.

If you have a drain on your cooler or bucket, it can be helpful to keep this open to allow the melted ice to drain away. Otherwise you may have to manually drain any water.

Either way, you should maintain a good level of ice in your bucket by replenishing it as necessary; around two pounds of ice for each pound of fish.

When You Arrive Home

Once you get home, rinse the fish in cold water and dry it with paper towels to get rid of any moisture. After it’s dry, place the fish in a Ziploc bag or equivalent, which should keep the air out. Use separate bags for each fish so that they don’t create extra moisture within the bag.

Once your fish is in the bag, with the air pressed out, place it on a tray of ice (or rack over an ice tray) and put it on the bottom shelf of your fridge. It can help to fill a Ziploc bag with ice and place it on top of your wrapped fish. Keep an eye on your ice, draining the water when it melts and adding fresh ice when required.

Video: How To Store And Preserve Fish

You can also place your wrapped fish on top of a bowl of ice and store it in your fridge, but remember to replace the ice in the bowl as it melts. 

Where Should You Store Raw Fish In A Refrigerator?

It’s important to keep your fish as cold as possible while it’s stored. This means storing it in the coldest part of your refrigerator - usually at the bottom, away from the door.

Can I Freeze My Catch?

Yes, you can freeze your catch. As long as you do it as soon as possible after you catch it and clean it. Make sure it’s wrapped inside an air-tight container or a Ziploc bag before you put it in your freezer.

Freezing fish can preserve the quality and flavor for a few months and can be a good option if you don’t plan to eat your fish right away.

Finishing Up

The next time you catch a tasty fish, hopefully you’ll now be able to keep it tasty till it’s time to cook it.

It can be pretty useful to have ice with you while you’re fishing, as well as when you get home, as ice can help to preserve the flavor and the quality of the fish until you’re ready to use it. Remember to keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator for no more than a day or two.

If you want to help your fellow anglers enjoy what they catch, share this with them. And don’t forget to let us know what you thought by leaving us a comment.

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