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· catch & digest
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Since sometimes we squeeze in a fishing trip between family, social or work obligations. I though I would share what works for me.

I take a couple of grocery store bags, line the bottom with a section of newspaper, put down a layer of panfish, another section of newspaper and repeat as required. Place them in the fridge til you can get to them. The top layer of two will likely have live fish in the morning. Another benefit(other that dealing with live fish) is that the fish are relatively dry and make a noticably smaller mess on the cutting board/newspaper.

I keep my fish alive til I quit for the day so I can release those"what was I thinking" fish that seem to find their way into my bucket early in the day. It only takes a couple of inches of water to do this and the fish are fiesty going into the shopping bags.

ficious
 

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I ALWAYS, no matter what, clean the fish, as soon as I get home. I figure that part in as part of my schedule. I wasted a decent catch of gills, a few years ago, when I "forgot" they were in my bucket, and this was in the end of March:rolleyes: . If I remember correctly, I think I had to throw the bucket away also. The smell was "unbearable". I don't worry about those "what was I thinkin" fish anymore,,, if its not 8 inches, it goes back down the hole, doesn't matter, perch, gills,.
 

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Depends how much time i do have.... if i have a little, but not to finish the job, i bone in skin on fillet them and then place in a dish and put ice on top then put in fridge.

If i don't have any time at all. I can leave them whole and put a layer of ice over all of them in a bucket and they will remain fine for hours that way until you fillet em. I even do this if its just gonna be an hour or two (wash up, eat, catch up on calls, emails, internet, etc.) before i clean em. Never had a problem yet.

steve
 

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Most times I clean them the same day,night. But if I can't get at them I put them in a 5 gallon bucket of water in the garage and do them first thing in the morning.

chad1
 

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I always try to clean them when I get home as well but as long as they are packed in ice, they will last a couple days. I'm not saying that this should be the norm but if it happens, pack em in ice and don't let them go to waste.
BTW, my experience is with Perch, some cold water species might not fare as well. I've had Steelhead meat change color rather quickly before when the fish was left in the livewell for awhile during the summer. Still seemed to taste OK but I did notice some loss of color in the meat.
 

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I think we all try to get them cleaned when you get home, but......if its been a long day, and I want to get back out there early in the morn, and it real cold out, I will leave them outside in a burlap bag, and clean them when I get a chance. When I catch them I throw them on the ice and they are usually froze when I bring them home anyways, I dont think it matters how long they have been froze.
 

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If you have snow like we do in upstate NY and you can't fillet your fresh caught fish that night. Powdery snow is the next best thing. I have a 6 gal. pail and I put about 6" of dry snow in the bottom and then dump my catch in the snow. Each fish receives a powdery coating of snow and toss em back in the bucket and top the bucket of with a layer of dry snow and your fish will keep nicely over night in the garage and won't freeze solid. I have done this more than on one occasion and it's worked great. If there's no snow I just use my lazer auger and put a bunch of ice chips over the top of my fish when I'm done but the snows better as they don't slime up.
 
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