Ice Throughout: The right way to ice your fish. Chill room: 33 to 35° F
Ice Only on Top: Not Good Enough. The fish on the bottom will not get cold enough.
No Ice: Your fish will NOT count. All fish entries are required to be kept on ice. Ice should be layered in coolers.
On the Boat or Dock
Fish caught on a fishing trip are good for freezing for later use if they are brought in in good condition. Proper preservation begins the moment the fish is hooked and pulled from the water. How you initially handle a fish can greatly affect its quality, taste and storage life.
Pack your catch in a cooler with plenty of ice before transporting it. Put ice above, below, and around the fish, as shown in the "Ice Throughout" image shown above. Once you are in, the fish should be processed and frozen as soon as possible.
Failure to promptly ice your catch may result in the flesh having a soft, open texture. Severe deterioration is indicated by a condition called “belly burn,” in which the ribs have become separated from the flesh. Inadequate bleeding and delayed gutting will cause blood clots to form in the flesh. Such fish are not suitable for freezing.