How to Keep Trout Fresh after Catching- 5 Easy Steps to Clean Your Catch

You have finished the most challenging and thrilling part of the fishing process. Yes, you got me right. You have just caught the trout

What’s next? 

Now, it’s time to think about keeping it fresh as long as possible and store it properly.

Any kind of fresh fish, including trout, is highly perishable, and it will begin to decompose immediately after dying. It is crucial how you handle the first 20 minutes after you have caught your fish. Bacteria can grow rapidly and can be detrimental to your trout. Proper treatment of the fish can ensure its nutritional benefits and taste. 

So, the most important thing is to clean it and keep it cold or move it around.   

How do you keep your fish alive?

You may choose to keep your catch alive or kill it immediately. You may also consider trying one of the following methods for keeping fish in the water while fishing.  

  • Keep your fish into a basket and filling it with water
  • Utilizing a live well that can accommodate all of your fish
  • Place the fish in a cooler filled with ice to keep them cool. 

The Best way to keep trout fresh after catching

The best way to keep trout fresh is to kill and gut it as soon as you can and keep it in a cool place. You may wrap the trout in vegetation, i.e., grass and plants, which will naturally keep the temperature down. You may also use plastic bags and any container that will help reduce its body temperature. 

How to kill and clean trout efficiently?

You can kill and clean the trout in many ways. However, my favorite steps to clean a trout is:

Step-1: Cut the gill latch completely and eliminate all gills. 

Step-2: After that, you can run the point of a knife sharply across the anus until the Gill latch. 

Step-3: Open the belly up and then pull out the contents of the stomach. 

Step-4: Then, run the tip of the knife across the belly’s upper cavity to reveal the dark bloodline along the spine. Make use of a teaspoon (if available) to get rid of the blood.

Step-5: Cleanse and rinse the fish thoroughly. Make sure you remove any blood traces from the stomach cavity, around the spine, and inside your gill cavities

Suppose, you stay out for a more extended period while fishing. In that case, do not forget to use ice to store the fish. Also, keep in mind that the fish should be gutted in 8-10 hours for better nutrition value and taste.

Helpful equipment to keep your trout fresh


If you are fishing in the summer, you should take proper care of your fish to make them as fresh as possible. It is sometimes helpful to get help from particular equipment. The equipment will make your task easier and keep them fresh for an extended period.

The list of equipment is:

The best practice is to use four pounds of ice for two pounds of fish. This will ensure that you have adequate cooling and you’re not allowing any growth of bacteria.

You may go fishing on the shore or on a boat. Depending on the fishing types, you should take a different strategy to keep your fish fresh.  

On the shore

You will likely have plenty of trees for shade, and you can gut and clean the trout on the banks. 

It is wise to keep a cooler beside you on the shore. The grass is also excellent insulation so once you wash your trout, stick it together with some leaves to cool it down. Dispose of the gut there where you caught the fish and let the natural system careen the remaining. 

Remember gutting an overwater trout sooner will keep it fresh longer as well as it helps stop its digestive system from ruining the meat. It is disposing of the gutting when the fish is caught and dumping out the contents.

On a boat

When you take trout on a boat, you can use a cooler to keep it fresh. You can use the ice or water of the lake or river. Try also keeping the cooler in the shade and, if possible, put a layer of cover. 


Most times, catching water trout requires using stringers. When sandboarding, it can be challenging to carry coolers. You can also use a fish sack. However, stringers usually cover more surfaces. Pick a tree branch and carry it around if you don’t need any packing materials or have some resourcefulness. However, be careful with your catch! Predators often steal trouts—a watchful eye on hawks and fish lovers. Backpack coolers with ice are a suitable alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Before refrigerating the fish, wash it in cold water and dry it off with a clean cloth or paper towels. Wrap cleaned fish in wax paper, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil and store them on ice or in the refrigerator. Large fish can last longer, or large portions are kept longer. Lean fish (panfish and walleye) stores better than fatty fish (trout), lean fish (pancakes) can last two days store fish in the fridge. 

Trout, flounder, tuna, bass, swordfish, and salmon can last for 3 to 5 days. The oily ones, such as bluefish, mackerel, and sardines, can have a shorter period. It is recommended to cook and consume them within 3 days.

In reality, many fish that are released after being caught die due to being wrongly handled. Studies have shown many deaths of fish after being released. This is what biologists from fisheries call hooking mortality. This mortality ranges from under 2 percent for swiftly managed stream trout up to 40% for certain lake trout.

If the fish is dead, It is recommended to wash them within 2 hours and consume in 24 hours. There will be a way to hold your fish until it is time to wash them. Some anglers utilize stringers to keep the fish out of the water.

If the fish is properly bled following catching, they may be kept on ice without cutting for up to 24 hours without adverse effects. Then, the quality begins to decline, and you’re better off freezing instead.

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