How long does fish last in the fridge after you catch it?

In this article, we will explore the shelf life, preservation techniques. storage methods of fish along with the factors to consider when fishing.

How long does fish last in the fridge after you catch it?

The fish, being a perishable commodity, can last 2-3 days in the fridge at prime quality. But the shelf life can be longer or even shorter than this If you did not practice good storage and handling methods.

Following are the ways you can keep the fish stored in your fridge and freezer for longer. 

Factors to consider when fishing

When going fishing, Keep these with you:

  • Fishing tackle
  • Clean bucket
  • Disposable gloves
  • A sharp blade/knife
  • Loads of ice in a container
  • Clean cloths
  • Resealable plastic bags/zip lock bags

Before catching the fish

Know the difference between a healthy and a diseased fish. A healthy fish is characterized by having clear eyes, red gills, and shiny scales. Pay attention to the gills. They should not be bloody, white, or slimy. Scales should not be lost and skin should not be discolored.

After catching the fish

  • After you have caught the fish, Slit the throat using a clean and sharp knife. Remove the gills, scales, and viscera.
  • Keep your knife clean using alcohol to avoid contamination.
  • Wipe the fish using a clean cloth and put it in the plastic bag immediately. Put the bag on ice.
  • When cutting fillets, wash the fish thoroughly to get rid of blood and make sure to remove the fish skin properly.
  • The temperature should be around 2 to 4 degrees celsius.

Best ways to store Fish

In the Refrigerator

Wash and clean your fish with cold water and pat dry it using a clean cloth or a paper towel.

Wrap the fish in cling film or aluminum foil and It will be good in the fridge for two days.

Large pieces of fish can last a day more but small pieces spoil rapidly due to an increased surface area. Fish with a greater fat content like trout, salmon, tuna spoil rapidly as compared to walleye and panfish.

In the Freezer

Frozen fish can stay fresh from 3-12 months in the freezer. However, fish might suffer freeze Brun or lose flavor If not stored properly or kept for too long.

Wash, clean, and dry your fish and cover it with cling film/plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. Using airtight containers, freezer wraps, or heavily waxed paper to keep the portion size fish fillets is preferred instead of using a simple cling film wrap.

You could also marinate the fish fillets with your favorite spices before freezing.

This reduces the chances of freeze burn or chilling injury.

Other FAQs about Fish which you may be interested in.

What’s the best fish to bake?

How to cook fish so it doesn’t taste fishy?

How long does uncooked fish last in the fridge?

How to tell If the fish has gone bad?

A spoiled fish should smell bad(fishy) and appears much slimy than it initially was. Fresh fish fillets appear shiny. If the fish bloodline appears brown instead of bright red, the quality has clearly deteriorated. It may not be unsafe at this point but If you are quality conscious you might want to discard it.

Preserving techniques for fish

How to pickle fish?

  • Pickling is a simple method to preserve fish for 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator
  • Keep the fish in the brine twice, once in weak brine for an hour and use a strong brine for the second time
  • In a pot, boil water with white vinegar and your favorite whole spices like mustard seeds, whole clove, pepper, and onions.
  • Simmer the fish fillets in the boiling water just until it starts to become not overcook.
  • Take out this mixture in a broad-faced pan and let it cool in the refrigerator.
  • Now add the fish to sterilized glass jars. Strain the vinegar water into the jar seal the lid and keep it in the fridge.

How to smoke fish?

  • Smoking is a famous preservation method and It not only preserves but also adds an alluring smokey flavor and aroma to the fish.
  • Use clean and properly washed whole or cut fish.
  • For smoking, fish is allowed to sit in the weak brine for 12 hours in the fridge and then in the strong brine for 15-20 minutes.
  • Fish is rinsed after brining.
  • Stick a stem length thermometer in the thickest meat portion of fish and place the fish in the smoking place when the temperature is about 37-38
  • During smoking temperature of the smoking chamber should rise to 107 degrees Celcius and the fish should be at 82-83 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.
  • Consumed the smoked fish within 1 month of storage.


In this article, we explored the shelf life, preservation techniques. storage methods of fish along with the factors to consider when fishing.