Good advise for sport-fishermen - how to handle the catch
As soon as you have caught your fish, then the spoilage mechanism in the fish begins. It is therefore very important that you handle the fish with care to ensure the best quality for your end product.
All trout/char must be gutted immediately after catch (the sooner, the better).
It is not necessary to gut the salmon, as it is normally not eating when caught in rivers.
Salmon however needs to be bled.
After the gutting/bleeding you need to wash the fish thoroughly with cold water and make sure that there is no sand or dirt attached to it. After washing you should place the fish in sealed plastic bag to prevent it from being contaminated. An open ended plastic bag is recommended, where each end can be tied.
The catch need to be cooled as soon as possible (and keep away from the sunlight).
It is OK to freeze the fish prior to smoking. But before the fish is frozen, make sure that the packaging is not too big (do not freeze many fish together in one bag), as it will affect the freezing time and the defrosting time.
Slow freezing/defrosting time will affect the end result of the product.
In the freezer, your fresh fish can keep for up to 1 year prior to smoking.
We however recommend that you bring your catch within 6 months from the day it was caught.
Of course you can also bring your catch fresh - but please carefully observe articles 1-3 above.
Kári P. Ólafsson
BSc. Food Scientist