How Long Can You Keep Crappie on Ice Before Cleaning?



How Long Can You Keep Crappie on Ice Before Cleaning?

You can keep your Crappie on ice for 24-36 hours before cleaning them as long as you keep them covered in ice. You should make sure to put fresh ice on them every few hours and pour off any excess water so that they do not sit in water for too long. Always check for freshness before cleaning your fish by checking the eye color, gill color and smell as those will tell you if they are still fresh.

Crappie is a great fish to catch, but without the proper care, it can become dangerous. As with any food item, there are certain guidelines that must be followed for storage and hygiene purposes.

In this blog post, I will answer more of the common questions about storing your catch in order to preserve its freshness as well as give you an idea of how long you should wait until cleaning your crappie after catching them! What’s more, we’ll take a look at what other factors influence whether or not it’s safe to clean your fish right away.

What are Crappie?

Crappie are one of the most popular freshwater fish in North America. They’re a panfish, meaning they can be caught on almost any type of gear, and they have a mild flavor that makes them easy to prepare for anyone.

Crappie are one of those fish that when you get on the bite, you can catch a lot of fish in a short amount of time. You can certainly limit out in a few hours if not less. When you catch them it is important to get your Crappie on ice or in a live well as soon as you bring them in.

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How Long Can You Keep Crappie on Ice Before Cleaning, Best Tackle Box,

What to Do With Crappie After You Catch Them?

On a hot day when I know that the Crappie are biting and I know that I can catch a good bit, I will load up my cooler full of ice so that I am ready. It is important that you have plenty of ice in your cooler to cover your fish. It is important to immediately get them on ice after catching them to preserve the quality of the meat and keep them from going bad.

One little tip that I have found is that I can keep my fish on the ice better if I use a 5-day cooler as it keeps the temperature inside a lot colder than a regular cooler.

However, if I am unsure if I will catch any while out on the water I will just use the live well on my boat to hold the Crappie until I get back to the dock. This works great especially in the spring, fall, and winter months as the temperature is a little cooler.

Using a live well is a great way to keep your fish fresh until you are ready to clean them back at the dock as your fish are still swimming around. What is better than a fish that is still swimming, I mean it doesn’t get fresher than that.

How Long Can You Keep Crappie on Ice Before Cleaning, Best Tackle Box,

How To Tell If Fish is Fresh?

Crappie with clear eyes and bright pink or red gills are typically fresh. Along with a less potent smell, you can use these two features to determine if your fish is still edible and good for cooking. It should not have an overwhelming fishy odor nor dull faded colors. Fish that have white or gray color in their gill area means it’s time to throw them out!

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Can You Keep Fish on Ice Overnight Before Cleaning?

If you bleed but don’t gut the fish and then cover them with ice or put them in the refrigerator, you can keep them in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. If they are not properly stored in the refrigerator they will only last a few hours before going bad.

Advantages of Icing Crappie

There are many advantages of keeping your Crappie on ice after catching them.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • Keeps the fish fresher longer so that you don’t have to worry about spoiled fish.
  • Keeping the Crappie on ice keeps the fish firm instead of the fish going mushy.
  • Crappie that have been kept on ice are easier to clean because they are firmer and fresher.

How Do You Store Crappie Overnight?

You should store your Crappie filets in the fridge overnight if you are not ready to cook them. You want to keep them either on ice or in a bag on ice until you are ready to cook them.

How Do You Store Crappie in The Fridge?

After rinsing and patting dry, you can keep your Crappie filets in the fridge by wrapping them with plastic wrap. Place it in a zip lock bag, squeezing any excess air out of the bag. Put this bag inside another one filled completely with crushed ice.

How Long Can You Keep Crappie in the Refrigerator?

You can keep Crappie or any other fish that is sealed up and properly stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days without worrying that it will go bad. You should freeze your fish filets if you are not planning on eating them within that window of time to prevent them from going bad.

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How to Freeze Crappie Filets

It is easy to freeze Crappie filets once you have cleaned and processed your fish into meal-ready filets.

Here is my simple 5 step process:

  1. Cut and sort into meal-sized portions
  2. Rinse with cold water to clean one last time.
  3. Place 3-4 filets into quart-sized freezer zip lock bags. Do not put water in the bags.
  4. Remove the extra air and seal the bags.
  5. Wrap the bags in butcher paper to protect the bags from ripping in the freezer.

Note: You could also use a vacuum sealer on step 3 to seal single filets for even better storage.

In Conclusion

We hope you find this article helpful and that it inspires you to keep your crappie on ice until they are cleaned properly. If you have any questions about how to clean the fish, what temperature water is best for cleaning or other tips for storing them in the fridge or freezer please let us know!

If you like this post answering the question “how long can you keep Crappie on ice before cleaning”, then check out our other freshwater fishing articles

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