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Queenswake

Putting the fish in the livewell or on ice

28 posts in this topic

It seems like more people are putting fish in coolers rather than using livewells these days. It makes sense to me, as I don't particuarliy enjoy cleaning fish while they are still alive. We went from using stringers, to using fish baskets, to using live wells -- all in the attempt to keep the fish alive. But why are we just now figuring out that it's better to ice the fish instead of keeping them alive?

Is there any reason why people still prefer using a livewell? It seems to me like they should be reserved just for tournament fishing. The one advantage I can see is that during the colder months when fish have a good chance of staying alive in the livewell, you can throw the fish back if you don't catch enough to make it worth cleaning.

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I think you answered your own question.

In the heat of summer if I know there is a good chance I will keep some fish I bring a cooler with ice. I think they taste better that way than when left to sit in the livewell dead all day. But when it's cool out the livewell will keep them lively all day.

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I've never not used a live well (if one was in the boat); thus I can't conjure much of a response.

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how much fresher can fish be if filleted right out of the livewell, (while alive) put it food saver bags and frozen?

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They can't, but if the water is warm many times they don't stay alive that long.

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I have not used a livwell since we got our "Sporty" and dont ever think I'll use one ever again. Ice is the only way to go. The only advantage to a livewell used to be for live release, but since culling is illegal in the state whats the sense?

OK maybe for a tournament where you need to keep the fish alive for entry. That can even be tough on really hot days with the best livewell.

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someone should just solve the problem, by creating, a cooled-temperature controlled live well, with bubbler, and pictures of hog female walleyes painted on the sides so that they have some honeys to look at.

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I'm so used to putting trout and salmon on ice that when I finally got a boat with a livewell, my first thought was "cool, more storage space!" Ice works well for me.

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How about a block of ice in the livewell?!! smile

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I use my livewell a lot but then again I fish Lake Superior a quite a bit so the water never gets really warm and its nice to run the livewell after I clip the gills to bleed out the fish I keep ,,,sure makes for some nice clean fillets when they are bled out ,,,I do keep a cooler with ice for the cleaned fish

LAS

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I use my live well mainly to store the fish as I don't want to waste the space taken up by an extra cooler.

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I rarely if ever lose fish in my livewell, but I recirculate the water A LOT, and I almost never pump in additional surface water, unless the surface temps are cool. Recirculating is much better than pumping in hot surface water.

A big change in using livewells came about when it became illegal to transport lake water in your boat.

If I plan on keeping fish and don't need to have water in the livewell for minnows, then I usually toss a couple bags of ice in my livewell before I go out, and just toss the fish in there with the ice, no water.

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I use the good old stringer because my boat doesnt have a livewell and i would trip over a cooler all day. But when i have a livewell i always use it, just remember to recirculate or run the pump a lot in heat. I fillet and eat or refrigerate, never freeze.

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I throw a bag or two of ice in the livewell on the way to lake and it keeps for a while. I run the livewell alot also.

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I rarely have a fish die in my livewell even mid summer unless they have terminal hooking injuries. In fact it's often tough getting the lively buggers out of the livewell.

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I use the livewell 100% of the time. I've never had a problem with fish dying on me unless, like others have stated, they've been hooked badly.

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Whenever possible, if I am out to keep fish, I prefer to put them on Ice. I feel it is my best chance of keeping them at their "peek of freashness" and the best tasting. But if I dont have the cooler along, an something comes up, toss em in the livewell and we are good to go. Just becomes a pain in the rear when you get to the landing and have to pull the plug......... Then you end up with dead, stinky fish.

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If I'm keeping for the day the livewell is run many times over the outting.

Sometimes if it's hot I'll toss a block of ice in the well.

I dumped the entire well twice today to get rid of the slime.

The crappies held up well today,but you can't forget to keep adding fresh water on a regular basis.

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I guess if I had a bunch of ice, I might try that also. Would be fine by me to have the fish kept cold and already be dead by the time I get to fillet time. But alas, no icemaker at our camper.

The livewell works really well for me. The Lund auto timer gives them fresh water and I don't have to think about it. The only issue I have is the Rebel XL livewell is really long. So long that the fish are often hiding out of reach over in the baitwell section. Guess I need to either order or fabricate a livewell divider. There are some slots already there for this.

When I pull into the boat lift, I grab 'em and carry them onto land in some newspaper.

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Quote:
how much fresher can fish be if filleted right out of the livewell, (while alive) put it food saver bags and frozen?

To answer your question with a question, How long is your drive home?

It is illegal to transport live fish in Mn.

I find fish stay fresher if you keep them in the lake. crazy

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Use the livewell all the time, I guess it depends on how good your circulator is on your boat, if you have one. I've never lost fish in the well, I don't like keeping them on ice too long especially if I'm out for a full day. The meat seems to get opaque and soft if it's on ice for more than 4-6 hours.

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I always use my livewell and have never had a problem keeping fish alive. The exception to this is Lac Seul were it is illegal to posses live fish in the boat so we dispatch them and put them on ice if the water is not very cold. Question for the cooler guys/gals. Do you dispatch the fish before putting on ice or do you just let them flop around until they die? The reason I ask is that when I have put fish on ice and they have flopped around there seems to be allot more blood in the meat. My guess is this is caused by hemorrhaging from flopping around but this is only a guess.

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I use a cooler dedicated to fish and make my ice at home in milk jugs. I put a few of the jugs in my cooler along with a little water. I cut the gills when I put a fish in the cooler. The water in the cooler seems to help them bleed out better. It seems to work real well. Nice white meat and I don't need to be in a huge rush to clean them when I get home.

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pretty much the same here....gill 'em so they die quick and bleed out. I like cubes so theres usually kind of a slurry of ice and cold water, or frozen jugs and water works fine too.

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fishorgolf: What part of Lac Seul do you fish? And what camp/lodge do you use? We've been going up there since 1985 - Stay at the Red Pine Lodge but fish mainly Grassy Bay/Picnic Bay area. Great fishing!

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