Keep your fish fresh for good eating

By Bill Bartusek, Jr., Outdoors Columnist

Wow! Some very warm weather greeted anglers this past weekend. This was the warmest we've seen this year. Despite the heat, fish were still active. I found two schools of bass at the cabin at about 10:30 a.m. We caught the heck out of them for about 20 minutes. Before that we had very few bites as we fished spot after spot around the lake.

I hope you had some success in moving and hitting likely places. People this weekend asked me how the meat from the fish was because of the warm weather. I said they are fine. That got me thinking about fish care after you catch them and decide to keep some to eat. This is what I do... I keep them alive in my live wells by putting the aerator on auto. It cycles water through the live well off and on until I'm ready to clean my fish.

If you don't have a place on the lake, obviously that won't work. You can't transport them home in the live well anymore. In that case I would put them on ice in a cooler as soon as they are caught. When I remove them from the boat I put them in a bucket full of cold water. After cleaning them I rinse them several times with very cold water. I then bag them and make sure I remove all the water in the bag. Of course you then cool them in the refrigerator until you eat or freeze them. All my friends that eat my fish say they are fresh and firm when they eat them.

Congratulations to my son Joe Bartusek. He was fishing Lake Minnetonka Saturday. While practicing for a bass event Joe hooked into a large fish.

After quite a battle the fish was brought to the boat. It turned out to be a muskie over 50 inches long weighing around 40 pounds. Billy and Adam Bartusek were also fishing the lake and went to see the big muskie. Adam had a great day catching some nice bass while fishing with Billy.

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