A: That isn’t a felony, but it should be. First, freezing and thawing degrades the fish’s flesh. It will be mushy and hard to fillet after thawing. Second, you risk bacterial contamination from the fish’s gut and intestine, as well as on the outside of the carcass, if you don’t clean the fish soon after catching it. Immediately afterward, you should put the whole fish (or the fillets) on ice. Fish that are iced down (but not frozen) will keep relatively fresh for about five days. If you can’t care properly for the fish you kill, don’t kill them in the first place.
Outdoor Skills – Fishing Q&A
Q: Is it okay to freeze a fish that hasn't been cleaned if you plan on thawing it out later for filleting and consumption?