How to Properly Store Fresh Caught Fish: Best Tips

Learning how to Properly Store Fresh Caught Fish is very important and healthy. Fishing is a popular hobby that many people find relaxing and enjoyable. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of catching a fish and bringing it home to cook up for dinner. However, storing fresh caught fish can be a bit tricky, especially if you want to keep it fresh for as long as possible. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best ways to store fresh caught fish so that it stays fresh and tasty.


properly store fresh caught fish


When it comes to storing fresh caught fish, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to keep the fish as cold as possible. This helps to slow down the growth of bacteria, which can cause the fish to spoil quickly. Additionally, it’s important to handle the fish carefully to avoid damaging the delicate flesh.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice fisherman, learning how to properly store fresh caught fish is an essential skill. By following a few simple tips and tricks, you can ensure that your fish stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible, allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your labor to the fullest.


Before storing fresh caught fish, it’s important to properly prepare it. This includes cleaning, scaling, and gutting the fish. Here are the steps to follow:

Cleaning the Fish

The first step in preparing fresh caught fish is to clean it. Rinse the fish under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Use a clean towel or paper towel to pat the fish dry.

Scaling the Fish

Scaling the fish is the process of removing the scales from the skin. This can be done using a scaling tool or the back of a knife. Hold the fish firmly by the head and scrape the scales from the tail to the head. Rinse the fish under cold water to remove any loose scales.

Gutting the Fish

Gutting the fish involves removing the internal organs. Use a sharp knife to make a cut along the belly of the fish from the anus to the gills. Remove the guts and rinse the fish under cold water to remove any remaining blood or debris.

Once the fish has been cleaned, scaled, and gutted, it’s ready to be stored. Keep in mind that the fresher the fish, the better it will taste. It’s best to store the fish as soon as possible after it’s been caught.

Storage Options

On Ice

When storing fresh caught fish, one of the most common methods is to keep it on ice. This is especially useful when you’re out on a fishing trip and need to keep your catch fresh until you return home. To store fish on ice, place the fish in a cooler or large bucket and cover it with ice. It’s important to use enough ice to keep the fish cold. A good rule of thumb is to use four pounds of crushed ice for every two pounds of fish. Keep the drain open on your cooler to ensure that the fish is not submerged in water.

In the Refrigerator

If you’re not planning on eating your fresh caught fish right away, storing it in the refrigerator is another option. Make sure that the temperature in the refrigerator is 40℉ or lower to keep the fish as fresh as possible. The best method for storing fresh fish in the refrigerator requires a cooling rack that fits inside a large shallow container such as a roasting pan. The cooling rack should be a grid or mesh design with many openings. If the rack doesn’t have legs, find a way to elevate it inside the large container. Immerse the sealed bag of fish in the ice cubes and water and store in the fridge. Drain some of the water and add more ice once a day until you’re ready to cook your fish.

Freezing the Fish

Freezing is another common way of storing fish. Frozen fish can last from three to 12 months. When freezing fish, it’s important to wrap it tightly to prevent freezer burn. Use plastic wrap or aluminum foil to wrap each piece of fish individually. Then, place the wrapped fish in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing it. Label the bag with the date and type of fish, and place it in the freezer. When you’re ready to use the fish, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or under cold running water.

Overall, there are several options for storing fresh caught fish. Whether you choose to keep it on ice, in the refrigerator, or freeze it, it’s important to handle the fish properly to ensure that it stays fresh and safe to eat.

Tips for Storing Fresh Caught Fish

Using a Vacuum Sealer

One of the best ways to store fresh caught fish is by using a vacuum sealer. This method removes all the air from the packaging, preventing freezer burn and extending the shelf life of the fish. To use a vacuum sealer, first, clean and dry the fish thoroughly. Then, place the fish in the vacuum sealer bag and seal it tightly. Be sure to label the bag with the date and type of fish before storing it in the freezer.

Keeping the Fish Dry

Moisture is the enemy of fresh caught fish. To keep the fish dry, wrap it in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel before placing it in a plastic bag or container. This will help absorb any excess moisture and prevent the fish from becoming slimy or developing an off-flavor. It’s also important to change the paper towels or towel regularly to keep the fish as dry as possible.

Storing Different Types of Fish

Not all fish are created equal when it comes to storage. Some fish, like salmon and tuna, are oilier and can be stored for longer periods in the freezer. Other fish, like cod and halibut, are leaner and should be consumed within a few months of being caught. It’s important to know the characteristics of the fish you’re storing to ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat.

Here’s a quick guide to storing different types of fish:

Fish Type Storage Method Storage Time
Salmon, Tuna, Swordfish Vacuum Sealer 6-9 months
Cod, Halibut, Snapper Paper Towel Wrap 2-3 months
Shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters) Store in the refrigerator on ice 1-2 days

By following these tips, you can ensure that your fresh caught fish stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

How to Properly Store Fresh Caught Fish Recap

Storing fresh caught fish properly is essential to preserving its freshness, flavor, and texture. Below is a quick recap of the best practices:

  • Wash the fish in cold water and dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel before storing it.
  • Wrap the fish in waxed paper, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil to protect it from moisture and air.
  • Store the wrapped fish on ice or in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40℉ or lower.
  • Use enough ice to keep the fish cool and replace it as it melts.
  • Keep the fish in a cooler with the drain open to prevent it from being submerged in water.
  • If you don’t plan to eat the fish within a couple of days, freeze it instead.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your fresh caught fish stays fresh and delicious until you’re ready to prepare it.

Bonsenkitchen Machine Options Storage Suctionstore fresh food was founded in August 2022. Yes, we are new and upcoming. However, we have been fishing for over 60 years and have caught both freshwater and saltwater fish. In freshwater we have caught everything from panfish to Muskellunge. In saltwater we have caught ocean perch to sharks. is reader supported, some products displayed may earn us an affiliate commission if you purchase through our links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.