Bringing Back Fresh Fish

Discussion in 'Alaska Flyway Forum' started by Bluebill Buster, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Bluebill Buster

    Bluebill Buster Senior Refuge Member

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    I will be coming up there in two weeks for a few days of fishing, I am going with a guy I work with who is local to the area.

    We are going to be fishing south of Anchorage, he isn't sure yet where as he is waiting for the fishing reports.

    I don't want to smoke the salmon and would like to bring it back fresh, but I'm not sure its feasible so I have some questions.

    1. Can I bring a cooler of fish back on the plane with me, likely would be checked? Is dry ice allowed on a plane in checked luggage?

    2. Anyone try to ship it back? I know transportation costs are outrageous but I'm happy to do my legwork of creating my own cold storage box. Foam cut to fit box, filets wrapped in garbage bags, dry ice placed around frozen filets.

    Any input or comments would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. waldo2382

    waldo2382 Refuge Member

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    First off, dry ice or wet ice is NOT allowed on airplanes.
    You are allowed to bring coolers if you'd like to take the fish with you, however, a much better option would be to get the insulated fish boxes that are sold at every fish processor, outdoor store or super market up here this time of year. Leave the coolers to save space on your way up.
    You will see lots of fish processors up here during summer and they will vaccuum pack your fish and flash freeze it. They can also overnight ship the fish on a predetermined date if you'd like. For me to ship a 50 pound box of fish from Homer to Los Angeles costs about $225. My friends that come up have figured to save costs on airplanes from all the bags, they will come up with a checked bag and leave with only a carry on and their boxes of fish. The checked bag is mailed home and arrives about a week later to their doorstep. So far, no problems. Just keep all your bags under 50 pounds and you should be fine.
     
  3. Ray

    Ray Senior Refuge Member

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    Waldo nailed it.
    Use gel-ice packs if you will be traveling for more than a day to get home.

    I wrap all my vac-paced frozen fish pieces in newspaper and then put them in the fish box or cooler. Sometimes I use the cooler as luggage and mail back all my clothes. In state we typically are allowed three bags anyway so its not much of an issue.

    It also depends on the baggage fees. Some airlines it makes sense to check the boxes as excess baggage as long as they are less than 50lbs. On some airlines it would be best to have the stuff FedExed home. You have some things to look up on their websites to figure out the best option.
     
  4. Bluebill Buster

    Bluebill Buster Senior Refuge Member

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    Gents, thank you for the great info!

    I fly 75K miles a year with Delta so up to 3 bags are free for me, so it sounds like that will be the way I will go.

    I only have 1.5 days to fish, but we are planning on fishing straight through so I would hope I can put some good size fish into a cooler.

    Ray, can you give me a good recommendaiton for a place or two in Anchorage? That's where I am flying in and out of.

    Thanks again and I hope to have some good picks to post up. By far the most exciting work trip for me yet.
     
  5. Erich_870

    Erich_870 Senior Refuge Member

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    Just to be clear, you can use dry ice to keep your fish cold on Delta or Alaska Airlines.

    Here's a quote from Delta?s website:

    http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/baggage/dangerous_goods/index.jsp#ice

    That being said, freezing your fish solid in vacuum bags and sticking them in a cooler is how I do it. I may throw a small amount of dry ice in if I'm expecting a long layover some where.

    Erich
     
  6. bigreid

    bigreid Moderator Moderator

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    I am a guide and we send back hundreds of fish boxes every year to all parts of the country and world. The easiest thing you can do is get a quality foam lined box, I like the pre-made ones, not the fold out ones, and pack it with fish that is frozen solid, if you don't have enough fish to fill it then add some newspaper to the top to fill in the space. Then put it on the airplane as baggage. I would not use ice and we have never used dry ice, if anything I would use gel packs but we usually don't, remember every peice of frozen fish is a little ice pack.
     
  7. bigreid

    bigreid Moderator Moderator

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    BTW, if it is a small amount of fish I would just pack it between my clothes in my checked baggage. Also, as Eric said, make sure it is vacume sealed by a quality sealer, not just one of the little cheapies.
     
  8. bigreid

    bigreid Moderator Moderator

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    Fishing is tough this year, many rivers are under restrictions and there are probably more restrictions to come. Your best bet for salmon will be the russian river (you and hundreds of other pleople), with that short amount of time I would do my best to get out on the ocean for some halibut, that way you are pretty much going to go home with a good amount of fish. It is worth your time and money to get out on a charter, if you buddy doesn't have access to a boat, then hit the russian if you have time.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray Senior Refuge Member

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    Not sure what recommendation is being requested, so I will take a stab in the dark.

    Fish packing can be done by 10th and M Seafoods, or New Sagaya Market.

    10th and M has two stores, one down town near 10th and M south of the Park Strip. The other is on Muldoon. The Muldoon store is closed on mondays from what I remember. The New Sagaya Market in mid town on the Old Seward Hwy will cut up your whole fish and pack them. Both stores should be able to freeze them for you. Not sure of either places rates, but they pack fish professionally so it turns out nice.

    You can get fish boxes from Carrs, or Fred's markets as well as the two packers.

    The first run of reds are showing up in the Kenai. Unless your buddy gives you his limit that won't amount to a lot of fish. I say go with BigReid's recommendation to hit a saltwater trip for some bottom fish. Depending on where you go you might be able to troll for kings in the salt as well as part of a full day trip. Depending on your buddies skills on the Russian/Kenai you should be able to get two limits in a half day or less. However, the fish have a lot to do with that.

    For your first trip up here I recommend walking up the canyon on the Russian - fewer people, calmer bears, and fish that are not freaked out. However, in two weeks the fish may still be hanging out along the Kenai and there could be nothing up there. Not likely but you never know about the fish.
     
  10. Bluebill Buster

    Bluebill Buster Senior Refuge Member

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    Thanks for all the great info guys. Got back Saturday and what a beautiful state. I crammed as much as possible into a short window of time. Got great pics of McKinley while flying to Fairbanks.

    Weather was perfect the entire trip, actually may have been a bit too warm that helped to though snow thus increasing the water levels on the Kenai.

    We didn't have much luck on day one, my buddy caught a small rainbow and a 20-21" Dolly Varden and I caught a 23" Rainbow, all very late in the evening. We watched a crazy amount of Reds stack up in slack water near where we were fishing but no way to catch them.

    We hit the Russian on day two at 6am and had a big crowd already. We walked up quite aways but couldn't find a good spot were we could see the fish. We did end up moving down and got into them. We both caught our limits and told a young father son team to move into our spot.

    Its been a long time since I fly fished, but that's all I did for those two days. The Reds and Trout put up such a great fight on that setup and in fast moving water it makes even more enjoyable. Frustrating on how many I lost but I guess that gave me the chance to keep up the fight.

    Never saw a bear, not complaining a bit, but the fishing was so much fun. I brought home my 3 and his 3, and ate some almost 24 hours from being fileted. Best Salmon ever tasted and not even close. I brought the fish back on the plane in the seafood box with no problems, I didn't leave enough time to get the gel packs frozen so I used a couple cornish game hens as my ice and that worked perfect.

    Can't wait to make the trip again, but next time a little less work and more fishing!
     

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