Hunting Fishing Discussions

Featured Outdoor Businesses

Van Hook Resort
NEW TOWN, North Dakota
Roughrider RVs
Beulah, ND


Share on Facebook subscribe feed

Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?

by , Posted to on 02/03/2012 10:25 AM | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 08/12/2003
Location: ND
 I've always just waited for them to thaw.  An evening in an above freezing garage usually does it and then I whip through them in the am.  I've tried cleaning them frozen but with an electric I always end up cutting through the backbone as the frozen flesh doesn't provide the necessary "feel" to do things right.  How about you guys that use a standard knife?  Can you fillet fish frozen or do you need to let them thaw?

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.


Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:30 AM | Reply #1 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 09/28/2005
Location: ND
I've always thawed them. Never even tried them frozen. Usually thaw them in a bucket of water for a few hours. Unfortunately they fit in the bucket with room to spare this year.
Education will tell you a tomato is a fruit, while wisdom will tell you not to put it in a fruit salad.
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:33 AM | Reply #2 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/17/2003
Location: ND
I try not to let them freeze in the first place. Keep them in a pail in the fish house and transport them in a warm vehicle in the same pail with some snow on top to keep them fresh.

If you have a frozen northern pike the best thing to do with them is take them in the house and put them in a sink full of warm water and let them thaw that way.

(Ok, so I had a smile on my face when I typed that last part!)
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:34 AM | Reply #3 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 03/18/2005
Location: ND
I always let them thaw. when I used a regular knife I wouldn't even think of attempting it until they were thawed and with my electric now, if they are froze I end up making mush of them or cuting through the skin making more work than necessary. I have the luxury of a heated shop to let them sit in for a couple of hours and they are usually good to go then.

With northerns I never worry, seems like they never die. Came home fishing one morning and left some out in the garage, came back that evening, atleast 10 hours later, and no kidding here, one was still flapping his gills and living. They were not in water either, just laying in a cardboard box!! Stubborn they are!!!
 
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:35 AM | Reply #4 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 03/16/2010
Location: ND
 I usually will drill and extra hole and put each of the fish on a stringer down that hole and tied off to whatever.  They also make those livewell nets that go down a hole.  Then on the way home put the fish in a bucket with some water and a lid.  Fish are usually still alive when I get home.
 
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:36 AM | Reply #5 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 04/26/2009
Location: ND
I just don't let them freeze.  keep them in a bucket in the ice house and clean them while still fresh & even alive right when I get home.  easier to clean that way and then they don't taste like mud either.  when they freeze & thaw before cleaning it crystalizes & damages the cell structure and mixes the blood & other body fluids into the meat.

I shake my head every time I see perch bricks laying outside on the ice.  Just toss em in a bucket right beside you.
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:36 AM | Reply #6 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/01/2008
Location: ND
Trying to filet a frozen fish is like trying pee into a 40mph wind.  It doesn't work to well.

"Diligence is the mother of good luck."

"The constitution only gives people the right to pursue hapiness.  You have to catch it yourself."

"Well done is better than well said."

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

All by:  Benjamin Franklin

"The solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go fishing, and the bigger the problem, the longer the trip should be."

Author: John Gierach

Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:37 AM | Reply #7 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 02/03/2004
Location: ND
Frozen solid sucks, but with pike I will often let them lay on the ice until the outside layer (slime) freezes and them take the fillets off. I usually wait to skin the fillets and debone until I get home though.
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:38 AM | Reply #8 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 10/31/2003
Location: ND
I like to fillet them when they're 1/2 frozen, but I don't run an electric knife.


Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 10:54 AM | Reply #9 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 09/28/2005
Location: ND
My wife gets a little disturbed when I put them in the sink. Make sure you run some bleach down the drain afterwards!
Bowhuntin Said:
I try not to let them freeze in the first place. Keep them in a pail in the fish house and transport them in a warm vehicle in the same pail with some snow on top to keep them fresh.

If you have a frozen northern pike the best thing to do with them is take them in the house and put them in a sink full of warm water and let them thaw that way.

(Ok, so I had a smile on my face when I typed that last part!)


Education will tell you a tomato is a fruit, while wisdom will tell you not to put it in a fruit salad.
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 11:09 AM | Reply #10 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/07/2005
Location: ND
Why freeze them in the first place? I do as MSA does. Just throw them in a bucket. or even on the floor of the house.

usually in a perfect row like this. haha

Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 12:14 PM | Reply #11 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 10/21/2007
Location: ND
Another great thing to do when this ice is a little thicker is to drill through the ice until the auger tip just puts a small hole through the bottom of the ice.  It will fill with water and the fish cant get out.
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 12:39 PM | Reply #12 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 07/14/2009
Location: ND
A sharp knife and not froze solid but just enough to make them firm.   
Life is good.


 2+2=4 

Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/03/2012 1:34 PM | Reply #13 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 04/24/2002
Location: ND
I personally don't like putting them in a bucket of water as I have a hard time holding onto slimey/slippery fish while I'm cleaning them.  Throw them on the ice or in an empty bucket and don't let them get frozen solid. 
More outdoor talk, less political talk!
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/04/2012 05:17 AM | Reply #14 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 10/16/2009
Location: SD
I agree with half frozen; unless I intend to keep the rib meat, which isn't all that often.

One step at a time...Be careful.

Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/04/2012 06:38 AM | Reply #15 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 05/04/2007
Location: ND
Yep, I saw through the spine when frozem too. Ugh.
As close to frozen as possible, even in summer I sometimes ice them overnight, clean em next morning - with hot coffee and a surgeon's refreshed mind (aka not buzzed) ha ha!
YETI. Wildly Stronger, Keeps Ice Longer
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/04/2012 07:50 AM | Reply #16 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 09/05/2008
Location: ND

Given my druthers, I prefer not to freeze them in the first place.  However, that's not possible all the time, so in those instances, I thaw them out before putting the knife to'em.

Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/04/2012 08:00 AM | Reply #17 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 05/04/2007
Location: ND
I take a cooler with, summer and winter. By the way, we get coolers in at work every week and have, at times, thrown dozens at a time into the dumpster. Let me know if you want coolers for fish or bait, I can hook you locals up with any size between 48 qt and tiny lunch coolers. Never mind the fact they were used to ship hazardous waste soil samples. Ha!
YETI. Wildly Stronger, Keeps Ice Longer
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/04/2012 09:34 AM | Reply #18 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/26/2010
Location: nd
 I also try not to let mine freeze.  I like cleaning them when their not quite done kicking yet.  Now that I have a cleaning station in my garage, I enjoy the heck out of cleaning fish.  Make a mess and wash it down when your down.  
Live hard! Die happy!
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/04/2012 09:52 AM | Reply #19 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/06/2002
Location: ND
Horsager Said:
 I've always just waited for them to thaw.  An evening in an above freezing garage usually does it and then I whip through them in the am.  I've tried cleaning them frozen but with an electric I always end up cutting through the backbone as the frozen flesh doesn't provide the necessary "feel" to do things right.  How about you guys that use a standard knife?  Can you fillet fish frozen or do you need to let them thaw?

Clay since most are not answering your question, the only one I can give you is it really depends on the fish size and type. With a quality steel knife I can fillet out 20" walleye and under, 4-5 lb pike as well in regards to getting the fillet seperated from the body. Perch,crappie and bluegill I do not fillet frozen.

The key as you would understand is in the quality of the tool. I have three fillet knives that I use and only one of them is suited for frozen fish.
In my lifetime I have seen fence row to fence row farming and the return of CRP and game to the landscape.Now we face again the prosepect of fence row to fence row again! Sportsman are our own worst enemy in that we fail to look forward and focus to much on the now!
Re: Cleaning fish, frozen or thawed?
by on 02/04/2012 10:01 AM | Reply #20 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/18/2006
Location: ND
I have butchered them frozen and tried to thaw them. The best method I found is to fill a pail 1/2 fill of water and set it out on the ice. When really cold I have to break the ice. There are many times that the fish will still be alive when I clean them at the end of the night.

Posted By:
Posted On: 02/03/2012 10:25 AM
1689 Views, 28 Comments

Tags: frozen, cleaning, fish, thawed, thaw, evening, waited, freezing, garage, usually
More Tags:
Region: North Dakota

Categories: Fishing > Fishing Equipment and Gear
Rate This ForumTopic
  • Currently 1/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

1/5 (1 votes cast)

You must be signed in to comment on this topic