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jmed999

How Long Can You Keep A Fish In A Cooler/fridge Before You Clean It?

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Guys, there are times when I want to keep and clean a fish (Bass, Bream, Catfish, etc) but I dont have time at the moment to clean it. If I put it/them in a cooler with ice or a refrigerator, how long can they stay there until I have to clean them?

Thanks!

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You should clean fish as soon as possible

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I wouldn't keep it in a cooler for more than 8 hours and no longer than 2 days in the fridge/freezer.

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i cant say how long they will last i try to clean them asap but have left them overnight several times with no problems as long as they still have ice on them

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Do some research to see how long fish at a market have been out of water and are still good to eat ( gutted and iced), you would be surprised at the length of time. Think that commercially caught lake Superior Whitefish or Lake Erie Pickeral ( walleye) from Canada, or Salmon and many other varieties of ocean fish like flounder were caught yesterday, Then packed on ice, offloaded, trucked to the airport, flown to your city, offloaded, trucked to a wholesaler, then shipped to your local market, then into the display case, all done in a matter of hours...............ain't so. My dad was in the biz for 35 years.

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I would never NOT at least gut the fish first. Commercial fishermen gut the fish on the deck, then put it on ice and stay out fishing for a LONG time so they'll last that way, but I wouldn't want to freeze the whole fish and then clean it later.

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Most of the fish I keep are panfish I catch through the ice. I usually clean them right when I get home. But if it's late or I am being lazy, I have packed them in snow, left them out side where it's cold and cleaned them the next day.

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Many species of fish that came into our market were not gutted at sea before being boxed & iced. We wholesaled out fish plus had a retail counter as well. Once we cleaned the fish for them, as they do in markets today, the fish was wrapped in butcher block type paper, fish held up fine until customers got home to refrigerate. Personally fish I catch are cleaned at a fillet station at the marina, then I pack them in a cooler with ice for the drive home, probably be fine if I just wrapped them and got them home with 45 minutes or so.

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So if I catch a few fish in the pond in my back yard and immediately put them in the refrigerator in my garage I could clean them the next day in the afternoon then put the meat back in the refrigerator? Does everyone agree that would be fine?

Thanks for all the help guys!

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I would never NOT at least gut the fish first. Commercial fishermen gut the fish on the deck, then put it on ice and stay out fishing for a LONG time so they'll last that way, but I wouldn't want to freeze the whole fish and then clean it later.

Totally agree. I would not eat or keep a fish that was not at least gutted almost immediately after dying. I've always read and heard that as soon as a fish dies, the little parasites and nasties in its digestive system get to work. And since the fish is not alive anymore, its system is no longer fighting them back and they grow/expand rapidly. If I keep a fish, it dies on the filet table with a couple of blows to the head just before I clean it. I bring 'em home live in the livewell.

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I though the nasties really slow down in a cooler full of ice or the refrigerator making it such that you can wait to clean them the next day. I could be wrong though.

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I though the nasties really slow down in a cooler full of ice or the refrigerator making it such that you can wait to clean them the next day. I could be wrong though.

So where are you going with this?

Either clean the fish or don't. If you are not going to clean the fish throw them back in.

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I fish the Tortugas and keep fish for 2 days before cleaning them. I take the fish off the hook and toss it in the coller of ice while he's still floppin. We spend 2 nights on the water and head back to captivity to clean our fish, grouper, snapper, cobia, kings, dolphin, and whatever else we catch. Never have been sick after eating any of our catch.

I've kept Snook out of the water and ice for 2-3 hours before cleaning them, but it was cool weather and at night.

I suggest gutting your fish first, toss it in the fridge for a day or two and you'll be perfectly fine.

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The answer is day's, at the right temp. Havn't you ever seen pictures of tuna boats come in with their decks full of whole fish? They just put them in a holding tank (fridge).

Hope you guy's who want them gutted in hours don't eat sushi.

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So if I catch a few fish in the pond in my back yard and immediately put them in the refrigerator in my garage I could clean them the next day in the afternoon then put the meat back in the refrigerator? Does everyone agree that would be fine?

Thanks for all the help guys!

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