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Getting Your Fish Home While Flying

We know that many of our customers fly in from around the country to visit the Pacific Northwest. There’s nothing better than taking your fresh catch home with you, and we thought you might like some information on how to get your fish home. The easiest, and most affordable option is to take your fish home with you on your flight. We’ll always fillet and bag your catch at the boat and some locations we fish have vacuum packing options locally. Let us know if that’s something that interests you an we’ll let you know who can help you with that step. We’ve included some info below for Astoria, Tillamook, and Newport.

Your Fish: Checked Baggage

Just like your luggage, there are two options for getting your fish home with you when you’re flying – carry-on or checked baggage. If your fish is frozen, the easiest way is usually to check a cooler that contains your fish. Normally you can’t have dry ice or ice in the cooler, but if all of the fish is frozen it should keep pretty well. Throw in some crumpled newspaper to act as insulation, tape the cooler shut and off you go. Your cooler will be waiting for you in the baggage claim area when you land. We always recommend checking with your airline to see what they allow/require for a checked cooler.

Your Fish: Carry-On

The second option bring your fish onboard in a smaller cooler as a carry-on, either frozen or with dry ice. Last we checked, the  FAA limited the amount of dry ice to 5.5 pounds. Your cooler or box can’t be air tight and must be marked with “dry ice” or “carbon dioxide, solid” ahead of time. You also need to mark on the box how pounds of dry ice are in the box, so it’s helpful to pay attention to the weight when purchasing your dry ice. If your fish isn’t completely frozen, be sure to put less fish in each box so they dry ice will keep it cold. This is just general info that I could find. Each airline probably has its own rules, so please check directly with the airline you’re flying with to see how they handle dry ice on flights.

Getting your fish frozen prior to getting on your flight is not always possible, but if you can freeze your fish, that gives you the most flexibility. If you’re staying at a hotel ask if you can put your fish in their freezer or if you’re somewhere where a local shop can vacuum pack your fish, ask them if they have storage. If you’re staying at an Airbnb or VRBO, you should be able to freeze your catch easily before you head home.

Packing Your Fish

Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger) is a good place to shop for what you need to fly home with your fish. Some locations sell dry ice boxes or simply purchase a cooler to check as baggage. Remember that filleted fish takes up less space than a whole fish. I would never fill a box to capacity as you are only allowed 5.5 pounds of dry ice in a carry-on. A combination of newspaper (for insulation), fish, and dry ice would be best. You can always start with more than 5.5 lbs of dry ice to quickly freeze your fish. You’ll most likely have to remove the dry ice prior to checking your bag so it doesn’t matter that you have more than what’s allowed. If you’re carrying on your fish, just be sure you’re under 5.5 lbs before you head for the airport. Whatever method works best for you. Dry ice is usually located by the self checkout aisle, but you can always call the store closest to where you’re staying to make sure they have everything you need.

Freeze your fish the night before you take off, add some dry ice and your fish will be solid as a rock flying into any location on the continent. If you’re staying on the West Coast, you can simply freeze your fish the night before and it should still be frozen when you land at home, even without being packed on dry ice.

Astoria: Getting Your Fish Home

If you need any help, Big Game Fishing does a great job for our clients. The shop is owned by an amazing local couple who can vacuum pack your catch before you head home. You can reach the shop at (503) 861-8305. Jim loves helping customers and his cell number is on their website as well.

Newport: Getting Your Fish Home

The South Beach Fish Market can take care of everything from vacuum packing to shipping it home for you, including boxes and frozen gel packs. Give them a call at (541) 867-6800 or check out their pricing on their website.

Tillamook: Getting Your Fish Home

Debbie D’s in Tillamook can help you with everything you need to get your fish packed up and ready. She can vacuum seal your fish and has cold packs, and boxes. You can reach her at (503) 842-2622.  Debbie is a great lady to chat with and is more than happy to help get your fish home with you.

I hope this information helps you get your fish home in the best condition possible when you’re flying home after a day on the water with us.