Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Disposal of Entrails
Display Avatars Sort By:
Ed Poyer
(EdPoyer) - F
Disposal of Entrails on 08/24/2007 07:30:07 MDT Print View

Reading this forum has inspired me to get back into fishing during my (all too infrequent) backpacks in the Sierra or the Winds. Given that I'd be near or above treeline in popular areas (e.g. JMT) how would I dispose of the entrails? I'd fish in late afternoon, early evening, and supplement dinner with trout. Thinking of the JMT, I'd have a bear canister, of course, but would not want to place them in the canister over night. I'm conscientious about leaving no trace (well, minimal trace).

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Disposal of Entrails on 08/24/2007 08:12:19 MDT Print View

I don't know the rules for the JMT but disposing of them in a cat hole or carrying them out in a baggie seems reasonable.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Disposal of entrails on 08/31/2007 17:13:19 MDT Print View

If I were you, I'd take them downwind from your campsite, maybe a half mile and bury them a ways off trail, especially if you are in a section known to have a high concentration of bears(Rae Lakes, McClure Meadows, etc). Also, it would be a good idea to cook the trout well away from where you are setting up camp(again, downwind) and clean up well afterward, with special attention to cleaning your hands and around your mouth so as not to bring odors into your shelter/sleeping gear. Lots of controversy about changing out of the clothes you cook in, but at least be careful not to get bits and pieces on your clothes and maybe consider just poaching the fish instead of frying, which tends to splatter tiny droplets of smelly grease all over the place and put the scent in the wind(if there is wind) for bears to pick up. Best of luck-there's nothing quite like fresh trout at the end of a long day on the trail, or short day for that matter!

Al Clemens
(al) - F
return them to the water on 09/14/2008 15:55:26 MDT Print View

I fish streams in Yellowstone NP and lakes above treeline in the nearby Beartooth mtns in Montana. I return the entrails to the water.

Yellowstone regulations are very specific and say you MUST return the entrails to the water that you caught the fish in (return the nutrients to the watershed). Montana state regs say returning the entrails is accepatble practice.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: return them to the water on 09/14/2008 16:27:18 MDT Print View

I've always put entrails back in the water. As Al said, I figure it returns nutrients- if you didn't catch it and throw the entrails back, it would've died in there eventually anyway...
After spawning, salmon play a HUGE role in providing nutrients for trees and other flora/fauna around their water systems.
Trout die-offs obviously aren't as large as running salmon, but I've always figured the same holds true for their waters, just on a smaller level.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: return them to the water on 09/15/2008 18:09:32 MDT Print View

WOW that is what my dad taught me to do with them too even at the lake when the trash can was 50 feet away. I am just surprised that is what you guys recommend. Hell I thought most of the people here packed out their pee.

Kai Larson
(KaiPL) - F

Locale: Colorado
Back in the water on 09/15/2008 23:20:50 MDT Print View

I too put the entrails in the water. I typically just clean the fish next to the water, so it's pretty convenient.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Back in the water on 09/20/2008 12:56:50 MDT Print View

We have a couple trout parks near where I live and there's probably hundreds of fish taken and cleaned in the stream per day in the summer. At the accesses, it's almost unsightly to the point where you have nearly as many fish carcasses floating downstream as there are live fish in the stream. However, as much as I'd expect the stream to become saturated with these "nutrients" and start to gather all sorts of rotten smells, what I see happening most often are the live fish feeding on the entrails floating downstream. Even where there are so many entrails, the remaining fish make pretty short work of them. So when you're in the backcountry, and you're only returning fish entrails to a stream one or two at a time, I've got to think that the ecosystem can handle it. At least with coldwater (trout) streams, and maybe even lakes, it seems like the potential for live fish to eat the carcass is much higher than the potential for rot to take it over.

Bryant Burton
(moabrocks) - F
Re: Back in the water on 10/06/2008 18:04:15 MDT Print View

I don't like seeing guts hanging around the edge of lakes where I'm fishing so when I gut my fish I leave the entrails attached to the head. Then find a rock big enough to stay stuck in its mouth and toss it out in the lake. The weight of the rock takes it to the bottom out of sight keeping the shore clean and me from worrying about bears and wind directions. :)

Amy Reid
(marmot8) - MLife

Locale: central Sierra
Just what I needed. on 04/01/2009 18:18:26 MDT Print View

Thanks for this thread. I'm thinking of taking a handline on my JMT thru hike this summer. I haven't fished in years and had this same question. I knew there was an intelligent simple answer. Now, if I can only get advice about how to fly fish with a handline I'll be on my way!

[Guess the jury's still out on this matter . . . whew!]

Edited by marmot8 on 04/06/2009 10:19:55 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Disposal of Entrails on 04/01/2009 19:50:10 MDT Print View

Here I thought we had another April fools joke.
Something about Japanese Grandmothers and burglers.

In some parts (Sierra Nevada for one) fish carry a disease that is fatal to coyotes and other canines. It is
important not to leave them where they can get at them.

You know how easily dogs can dig up stuff.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Disposal of Entrails on 04/01/2009 23:29:46 MDT Print View

For Oregon, interesting to note this provision at pp 7-8 of that state's 2009 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations:

"The following activities are unlawful:

"15. Dispose of dead animal (fish) carcasses, or parts thereof, in Oregon waters."

Guess you save it until you come to some non-Oregon waters.


cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
it depends on where you are on 04/01/2009 23:54:38 MDT Print View

in high alpine lakes, the nutrients are usually a much welcome addition

the lower in elevation & more biomass already in the waterway, the more it's a good idea to dispose of them some other way (especially stocked fish)

ralph cutter, probably the foremost authority on sierra fly fishing & related issues, advises to return the nutrients to the waterways in the high elevation areas

when i do, i try to toss them far out into the water, so they aren't visible from shore

Taylor Ginther
(Tippet) - F

Locale: San Diego
don't do it on 04/02/2009 12:17:43 MDT Print View

Putting fishguts and or carcasses in the water is the act of an inconsiderate person. Dig a hole. There are many good reasons to bury the stuff and ZERO good reasons to just chuck it in the water.

Edited by Tippet on 04/02/2009 22:20:51 MDT.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
fishguts are nutrients on 04/02/2009 12:27:33 MDT Print View

high alpine lakes are nutrient deficient

the math works

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 04/02/2009 12:39:32 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/13/2015 17:45:51 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Disposal of Entrails on 04/02/2009 12:46:27 MDT Print View

From the CA DFG

The DFG is asking anglers for their help when cleaning fish at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The DFG has discovered the New Zealand Mud Snail in the Owens River Drainage and is trying to keep the snail from spreading into other waters.

"We want to avoid spreading New Zealand Mud Snails to other waters and anglers are advised to clean and dispose of their fish guts in trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water, and to properly clean wading gear before moving to new waters," added Milliron.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Disposal of Entrails on 04/02/2009 12:54:54 MDT Print View

I understand cleaning waders and whatnot (I'm familiar with the mudsnail issue).

Unless I'm completely missing something, how does throwing the remains/entrails of a fish with a disease back into the water spread disease that wouldn't otherwise be spread by the same fish simply dying in that water?

BTW, I've only caught and released native trout; I'm just curious.
My experience with putting entrails in the water is with salmon- which are spawning/dying anyway.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
exactly - it's case by case on 04/02/2009 13:00:01 MDT Print View

the owens river environs aren't high alpine waters, but nutrient rich (all that cattle range land they pass through) & year-round high use waters

in the owens drainage, i don't discard - only in high alpine places where it's obviously not an issue

i don't understand the connection w/ the snails & entrails, unless it's feed for them - better to not wade with anything that could have been in waters with the snails so as not to spread them. the snails were introduced by flyfisherman wearing their insufficiently cleaned waders after returning from fishing trips to NZ

Jonathan Boozer
(anywayoutside) - MLife

Locale: South East
Re: don't do it on 04/02/2009 13:32:10 MDT Print View

That Rick Astley is a real character! All that word swapping and such.

I still miss the cat.