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  • Super User

For me, this includes an occasional bass, crappie and bigger bream. I fillet the fish, and put the fillets in a bowl of water that's been salted down.                                                  I set the bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, rinse the fillets well, and transfer them to a container for freezing. Over the years, I've used small buckets, plastic bowls, and plastic bags to freeze them in. A one gallon milk container cut down to size can work good too.                     This has worked well, and the important thing is to make sure that the fillets are submerged in solid ice. It takes most of a day to thaw them out for a fish fry.                    How do you like to freeze your catch?

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  • Super User

I always prefer to vacuum seal them before freezing to prevent freezer burn. When I’m away from home I’ll use freezer bags and seal them under water to prevent any air from getting into the bag. Both methods work well for up to a year in the freezer. 

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  • Global Moderator

I do the same as OP except drain water and put in ziplock unless I have a whole lot of fish, in which case I break out the food saver. Those bags are pretty high so I try not to use them often 

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  • Super User

Prefer to vacuum seal but when not available a zip lock with no air voids works well.  Took out some walleye fillets from end of May and fried them up.  They were in the zip locks.  They were very good.  

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  • Global Moderator
3 hours ago, Alex from GA said:

I don't freeze them.  If I catch a fish we want to eat I'll filet it and cook that evening or the next.

Me, too.

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  • Super User

I rarely freeze fish because our possession limit is the same as the daily bag limit here. I prefer to eat mine the same day or the day after.

 

In the rare event I freeze filets, I use my vacuum sealer.

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On 10/9/2023 at 8:42 PM, gimruis said:

I rarely freeze fish because our possession limit is the same as the daily bag limit here. I prefer to eat mine the same day or the day after.

 

In the rare event I freeze filets, I use my vacuum sealer.

I don’t believe possession limits count the ones in the freezer. That’s just a two day limit in the field. 

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  • Super User
1 hour ago, Swinghead said:

I don’t believe possession limits count the ones in the freezer. That’s just a two day limit in the field. 

I'd double check your state's regs - cause in MN possession limit certainly does include what's in your freezer. They're 'in your possession'.

 

I wrap them tight in Saran wrap, then into a freezer bag.

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23 hours ago, MN Fisher said:

I'd double check your state's regs - cause in MN possession limit certainly does include what's in your freezer. They're 'in your possession'.

 

I wrap them tight in Saran wrap, then into a freezer bag.

“The possession limit is the amount of unprocessed fish a person may hold after two or more days of fishing. In Kentucky, this amount is two times the daily creel limit for any species that has a daily creel limit."

 

This is unprocessed fish a person holds in the field. This how it works in Kentucky at least. 

 

 

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  • Super User
8 hours ago, Swinghead said:

This is unprocessed fish a person holds in the field. This how it works in Kentucky at least. 

Which is exactly why you'll want to check your state regulations.

 

Here in MN, the daily bag limit is exactly the same as the possession limit for just about every species that anglers regularly harvest except perch.  Example: walleye daily bag limit is 6 statewide (unless your fishing a specific lake that has more restrictive limits).  Possession limit is also 6.  Which means if you catch a limit, freeze it, and do not consume any, you cannot legally keep any more walleye until you 1) give some away, or 2) consume it.  The conservative possession limit here prevents people from stock piling fish at home.

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  • Super User

I try to only keep one or two when I decide to keep any. That way I go home and fry them up fresh with no leftovers. My wife and daughter will only eat crappie from the freshwater fish I catch, and not many of those. So I usually fly solo on the fish fry.

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  • Super User

I vacuum seal every meat before freezing it.  Two reasons.  One is the whole freezer burn and freshness thing.  But the second and more important reason (for me) is that they can thaw out a lot quicker.  Just makes sure that the pieces of meat don't overlap each other to increase their surface area.  If you have a sous vide machine that can run without heat or a water circulator, you can usually thaw out your meat in less than an hour.  Sometimes, though not usually with fish, I'll sous vide cook the frozen meat without thawing it.  

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  • Global Moderator

Ok since I’m close friend with about 7 game wardens I’ll tell you their thoughts on this topic, in fact I’ve heard them say this at public talks and such. In TN, our possession limit is typically twice the daily creel limit. Are they going to go to everyone’s house in the state and make sure they have less than 30 crappie in their freezer? Not a chance. 
 

where this rule comes into play is in cases of egregious poachers. Game wardens can write all the tickets they want and once things go through a court, not all of the charges will stick. You know, murders and such kind of take precedent. So when they are trying to get known poachers more charges in hopes they might learn a lesson, they will go to their house and check the freezer. That way it can be fishing without a license, more than possession limit, and a list of other charges instead of just one. They aren’t exactly locking these people up so they use the possession limit to make fines greater for repeat offenders 

 

if someone who buys license , registers their boat, and never keeps more than a single limit in a day has 31 crappie in the freezer, they aren’t coming after you. Many people fish to survive and they don’t want to punish someone for trying to eat dinner instead of starving 

 

common sense does still hold some weight in this scenario 

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  • Super User
44 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

if someone who buys license , registers their boat, and never keeps more than a single limit in a day has 31 crappie in the freezer, they aren’t coming after you. Many people fish to survive and they don’t want to punish someone for trying to eat dinner instead of starving 

I don't care if someone is doing it for dinner.  A law is a law and a rule is a rule.  What you're doing here is openly stating that its OK to not follow fish possession laws in Tennessee because you're hungry.  And being a moderator here, that's down right shameful IMO.

 

I enforce federal code for a living.  I don't care if the rule breakers are big fish or little fish.  If they break the law, and I have the evidence to prove it, the case goes through and punishment is the result.  Its straight up black and white.  While obviously some citations, fines, and court orders are more severe than others, they all fall under the same category to me: non law-abiding citizens.

 

If the possession limit is double the daily bag limit, I would expect people to follow it.  Its not about getting caught.  Its about taking the higher moral ground and having respect for laws that on the books, whether that be in Minnesota, Kentucky, or Tennessee.  Its not OK to buy a license and register your watercraft, but keep more fish in possession than allowed.  That is a terrible way to operate and you should not be communicating that here.

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  • Global Moderator

I’m just saying how it is, I’ve got zero fish in my freezer currently. The game wardens are far more reasonable and sensible than most 

 

this isn’t something I’m making up, it was explained to us this way many times by law enforcement officers in college wildlife law enforcement classes 

 

if repeating the interpretation and enforcement of a law explained by lawmen is shameful, I guess give me my ticket from the morality police 

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  • Super User
49 minutes ago, gimruis said:

I don't care if someone is doing it for dinner.  A law is a law and a rule is a rule.  What you're doing here is openly stating that its OK to not follow fish possession laws in Tennessee because you're hungry.  And being a moderator here, that's down right shameful IMO.

 

I enforce federal code for a living.  I don't care if the rule breakers are big fish or little fish.  If they break the law, and I have the evidence to prove it, the case goes through and punishment is the result.  Its straight up black and white.  While obviously some citations, fines, and court orders are more severe than others, they all fall under the same category to me: non law-abiding citizens.

 

If the possession limit is double the daily bag limit, I would expect people to follow it.  Its not about getting caught.  Its about taking the higher moral ground and having respect for laws that on the books, whether that be in Minnesota, Kentucky, or Tennessee.  Its not OK to buy a license and register your watercraft, but keep more fish in possession than allowed.  That is a terrible way to operate and you should not be communicating that here.

I get what you're saying.  But the law is anything but black and white.  That's why we have judges and juries.  And there are a TON of laws on books that no one follows because everyone knows they make no sense.  In Virginia it's illegal to hunt nuisance animals on Sundays, except racoons.  So be sure to pick up your mouse traps Saturday night.  In Minnetonka, you can't drive a vehicle with dirty tires.  Horoscopes, palm reading, and fortune telling are illegal in Yamhill Oregon.  In Oklahoma, eavesdropping is illegal.  So wear earplugs in restaurants.  In North Dakota, killing a pigeon is illegal without permission.  In Billings Montana a performer may not leave the stage during a performance.  So don't expect the singer to walk into the crowd.  In Massachusetts it's illegal to sing the National Anthem off key or alter it in any way (it's a good thing Woodstock was in NY).  In Maine, you can't dance in a bar that sells alcohol without a permit.  You can't buy or sell a vehicle in Iowa on Sundays.  You can't eat fried chicken with a fork in Georgia.  Big Napkin strikes again!  

 

My point being, the laws are there for a reason, and sometimes that reason isn't a good one.  And in most cases, the people charged with upholding these laws know that and use their power to the betterment of society versus blindly upholding arbitrary laws just because that's what was written.  There's a difference between technically illegal, practically illegal and morally wrong.  And the three don't always go hand in hand in hand.  

 

 

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  • Super User

State legislators make the laws.  If you don't like them, lobby to get them changed or make your vote count in an election.

 

Game wardens, police, and other LEO's don't get to decide if they think one law makes sense and another does.  That's not their job.  Their job is to enforce every single on on the books.  When they're hired, they get asked a whether they are going to uphold the law, and they all say yes.  If they say no, they aren't hired.  There are a lot of federal codes that I personally think are useless and irrelevant too;  that's not the point here.  If its broken, and there's evidence, that's the end of it on my end.  Let the judicial branch sort out the punishment, that's their job.

 

Openly stating that one law should be abided by and another shouldn't is not how anyone should be communicating here.  @TnRiver46, I should have stated earlier that I understand you're just the messenger based on what you were told, but I still don't think you should be relaying or supporting that.  Just my opinion.

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  • Super User
1 hour ago, gimruis said:

State legislators make the laws.  If you don't like them, lobby to get them changed or make your vote count in an election.

And for game limits - they take advice from the DNR/DFW/whatever. The people who manage the lands and game make the suggestions to the legislature for changes to the laws regarding hunting/fishing seasons/bag limits...so it's the experts who start the ball rolling for that.

1 hour ago, gimruis said:

When they're hired, they get asked a whether they are going to uphold the law, and they all say yes.  If they say no, they aren't hired. 

And if they're found to NOT be enforcing the laws on the books, they're put on probation at a minimum...probably fired.

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  • Super User

I've always froze them completely submerged in water but most often, the fish never make their way to the freezer.

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  • Super User

I was taught to dry off the fillets before storing or freezing the meat. Water can contains bacteria why freeze it into the meat?

Before we had vacuum sealers we used  bucket of water to lower the open end Zip Lock bags down into to,squeeze  out all the air in the bag being careful not to:get any water in the bag, then zip it closed. Worked good but today’s vacuum sealer are much faster and no air or water in the sealed bags.

Still we eat a lot of fish fresh line caught fish from Costco, always more then 2 people can eat fresh so vacuum sealing is a must. I date the sealed bags before freezing, everything gets eaten before 6 months.

When I catch trout, crappie or bass only keep enough to eat fresh, not frozen.

Tom

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