Catching a stout rainbow trout while fishing in a stream can be a great thrill. But if an angler forgets to prep the catch for dinner on the riverbank later that evening or for the car ride home, the excitement of the moment can quickly become a smelly disappointment.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers these guidelines for the safe preparation and packing of caught finfish:
– Scale, gut and clean the fish as soon as possible after the catch.
– Keep live fish on stringers or in live wells that provide enough water and enough room to move and breathe.
– Wrap fish, both whole and cleaned, in watertight plastic and store on ice. Keep 3 to 4 inches of ice on the bottom of the cooler. Alternate layers of fish and ice.
– Store the cooler out of the sun and cover with a blanket.
– Once home, eat fresh fish within 1 to 2 days or freezing. For top quality, use frozen fish within 3 to 6 months.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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