Where is it legal to clean your fish?

Where is it legal to clean your fish?

Answer: 

This is not as easy of question as you might think and there are no specific rules on when or where you must clean your fish.

You can actually remove the internal organs and gills anytime after reducing your fish to possession.  If you are in a boat, it's ok to throw the fish parts back into the water.  Birds, fish, or crayfish will consume the organic matter in short-order.  Once you are on shore, we recommend putting intrals into a trash container.  Many people don't appreciate fish guts scattered on docks or boat loading areas - so this is a bad place to dispose of your internal fish parts.  In high use areas, some Marine Deputies interpret throwing intrals into the water as "littering" and you run the risk of being cited.  This is also a place where dogs are found and you don't want them eating or rolling in this smelly material, as well.  I actually take ziplock bags and take the fish guts home and bury them in my garden for fertilizer.

When you clean game fish, the heads and tails must remain attached to the fish until they reach the location where they will be consumed.  There is an exception in the rules for salmon and steelhead that allows heads and tails to be removed if other conditions are met.

Answered on: 
June 13, 2014 - 8:00am