Yes, you can field dress fish by removing the entrails. You just can’t cut off the any part of the head or tail of a game fish until it gets to your final place of residence.
We require the head and tail be left on fish while in transit because a number of waters around the state have minimum or maximum length limits for various fish species. If heads and/or tails are removed, we can’t verify the length; and in some cases we need to see the whole fish so we can verify it came from a fish hatchery. Another reason for the rule is because we used to have people who would camp for days at a lake or reservoir and can or pickle fish. When checked by our officers to make sure they didn’t have more than the legal bag limit, we couldn’t tell how many fish they harvested and what species of fish they had in the can or bottle. By requiring the fish to remain whole, people are less likely to can or pickle fish at their camps.