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  1. #12
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    Cleaning trout is easier to do in the first hour to 90 minutes after death.
    Trout can start to take on Rigor Mortis in 1.5 hours to six hours depending on temps and storage used.

    Straightened out curved fish with R/M , tears muscle fiber and damages the meat, which will shrink
    during the R/M stage that can last up to ten hours. Salman can take up to 30 hours for R/M to end.

    At the end of R/M, the meat will be aged and at its best for cleaning and cooking.

    In China town, fresh killed fish is always "Steamed", not fried to prevent shrinkage and to produce a tender meat.

    I always kill my fish as fast as possible to prevent stress and clean at the lake or when I get home, then
    place in the frig. over night, before cooking.
    Placing fish "On ice", not covered in it, will also help in getting a quality piece of meat, if available.

  2. #11
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by sarahpee View Post
    For those that cut off the head you're missing a treat. I love the flesh/muscle behind the gill plate, and also there are good pockets of meat at the base of the skull that are lost when the head is cut off. Also over the years of cooking trout, I believe th best indicator of a perfectly cooked trout is the eyeballs. If undercooked the lens isn't fully chalky white in color, if fully cooked the lens is fully white.

    If you are camping with kids, they always seem to like dissecting the head & checking out the brain & eyes & how it's all protected within the skull.

    Agreed. I for one have become “sanitized” when it comes to fish. I prefer mild fish and hate anything overly fishy. As a result I’m anal about trimming all fat and dark meat off fish, even to the point I don’t steak salmon because it doesn’t remove their lateral line (dark meat on the skin side of a fillet midway down their side. Stripers and sturgeon even more so.


    But, as a result I miss a lot of good meat. Smoked salmon collars are awesome, and the cheek meat on decent size Stripers and halibut is some of the best.

    Small trout are are generally very mild and the closer to whole you cook them, the more meat you get. Good point.

  3. #10
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    For those that cut off the head you're missing a treat. I love the flesh/muscle behind the gill plate, and also there are good pockets of meat at the base of the skull that are lost when the head is cut off. Also over the years of cooking trout, I believe th best indicator of a perfectly cooked trout is the eyeballs. If undercooked the lens isn't fully chalky white in color, if fully cooked the lens is fully white.

    If you are camping with kids, they always seem to like dissecting the head & checking out the brain & eyes & how it's all protected within the skull.
    Last edited by sarahpee; 08-30-2019 at 08:43 PM.

  4. #9
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishwrong2 View Post
    I’ve got no problem throwing head and guts back, provided it’s not affecting others. Small creeks and rivers in swimming areas is rude in my opinion. Same for lakes where they’re visible to others. Just a respect thing. If those aren’t issues, if feel they’re food in the chain.

    As for processing fish before getting home, if I’m eating them at camp, fillet once you’re off the water. If I’m transporting home, Scale, gill, gut and blood line get removed and the rest goes on ice.

    Just what I do.
    I think I tend to agree with your approach. Too much dumping along the banks in shallow still water could make it pretty nasty, IMO. Out in he middle of a deep lake, I think it would be no issue.

  5. #8
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    I’ve got no problem throwing head and guts back, provided it’s not affecting others. Small creeks and rivers in swimming areas is rude in my opinion. Same for lakes where they’re visible to others. Just a respect thing. If those aren’t issues, if feel they’re food in the chain.

    As for processing fish before getting home, if I’m eating them at camp, fillet once you’re off the water. If I’m transporting home, Scale, gill, gut and blood line get removed and the rest goes on ice.

    Just what I do.

  6. #7
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Plug-n-Jug View Post
    Question. Why do you throw the guts in the trash? It ends up stinking and attracting those dam meat bees. Why don't you clean bank side and toss the head & guts in the water. Its actually good for the lake ecology. I know that there are a few bodies of water that prohibit this .
    We typically toss guts into the water IF there are consumers in the water (e.g., small bait fish, crayfish etc.) and it's not prohibited on the particular body of water. If filleting Heads and bones either get packed for crab bait or discarded. I usually bring our foodsaver with us camping if there's heavy fishing planned, our truck's 110 outlet will run it without popping a fuse (only pulls ~1.2amps) then into the bear proof cooler, YMMV.

  7. #6
    computer assisted angler hooks's Avatar
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    No Particular reason, just what I've always done. The last time I went camping was in 2004 for turkey hunting. I can't remember the last time I camped to fish. Also, going forward, I wont be camping much if at all.

    Maybe I should have started with....many years ago when I was younger I.......
    Catch ya later ... hooks

  8. #5
    Senior Member Plug-n-Jug's Avatar
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    Question. Why do you throw the guts in the trash? It ends up stinking and attracting those dam meat bees. Why don't you clean bank side and toss the head & guts in the water. Its actually good for the lake ecology. I know that there are a few bodies of water that prohibit this .
    Last edited by Plug-n-Jug; 08-01-2019 at 02:59 PM.
    I FISH, THEREFORE I CUSS AND LIE!

  9. #4
    computer assisted angler hooks's Avatar
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    I use method #3 for filleting cooked fish.

    https://www.wikihow.com/Debone-a-Trout

    I scale the fish and cut the head off and gut the fish and clean out the blood line in the water. Throw the head and guts in the garbage can if there is one. If not I bury them.
    Catch ya later ... hooks

  10. #3
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    Re: Camping and Fishing - Best Practices for Cleaning Fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hookem2004 View Post
    I've always just kept the fish whole and put them in ziploc bags and throw them on ice and process them at home.
    Thats usually what I do too, but I was asking about those situations when you're fishing during the day and cooking the fish in camp at night, so processing has to be done somewhere between the lake and the site.

    I've mostly avoided filleting so far since I fish mostly trout and cooking a whole (gutted) trout can actually be quite good, but I appreciate the advice.

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