How Long Can Fish Stay in a Bag: Ultimate Fish Transport Guide

How Long Can Fish Stay in a Bag: Ultimate Fish Transport Guide

After a long day out on the water, some anglers are tempted to catch fish and take them home with a bag. Either to cook or to keep around for a little while, if you’ve ever wondered how to take care of a fish after buying or catching it, you’ve come to the right place. 

This guide will discuss how long fish can stay in bag, how to transport fish, and how to take proper care of them before they arrive at their destination: so stick around and learn more!

How Long Can Fish Stay in Bag? 

how long can fish stay in bag

When you catch or buy a fish, it will inevitably be put in some kind of bag for transport.

One of the first things you need to know about taking care of fish is that they can only stay in a bag for a while. It would be best if you kept the fish in the bag for only seven to nine hours

For a fish to stay in a bag for up to nine hours, you’ll need to make sure the bag is of high quality. The water should be at the perfect temperature, and the oxygen should be plentiful. 

Pet stores tend to add a bit of oxygen and water to the bag. More often than not, they use water only and send you on your way with your new fish.

What Type of Bag Do You Use for Fish Transport?

There’s more than one type of fish bag out there. You can find bags made from various materials. How do you choose the right kind of bag for fish transport?

One of the things you should know is the type of bag you should not use. For example, using zip-lock bags is not recommended. Canvas or webbed bags will most likely leak, unless they’re lined with plastic, and so may not be acceptable for fish bags. Plastic bags are also not the best choice out there.

So, what type of bag is best for transportation of fish?

Transporting fish in polybags is the smartest choice. Polyethylene and polystyrene bags are incredibly durable and protective, so they’re great for fish transport. Even if you have an open-top bag, it will still be a good enough option.

You’ll need to keep a few more things about the bag in mind, but we’ll discuss them in the following sections. So, make sure to stick around!

Best Conditions for Fish Transport

how long can fish stay in bag

If you want to transport your fish in a bag, you must do much more than use the right bag. You need to give the fish the best conditions so it can stay in top shape. Here are some things you need to keep in mind:

Bag Size

The bag should be the right size. It should never be too small, because that might not give the fish enough water or oxygen. It’s better to go with a slightly larger bag to provide the fish with more space to swim around. Online, you can purchase polyethylene bags that might fit your fish.

Bag Material

As mentioned before, it’s best to use a brand-new, clean poly bag. It would be best if you used a waterproof bag with a light white color all over it. 

It’s not the best practice to use transparent bags, as transparent bags let in too much light, which may cause the fish to feel uncomfortable. So, a white, waterproof, new polybag is the way to go when transporting fish. 

Water Temperature

The temperature of the water is also critical. You should remember that water that is too cold or too hot can harm the fish. You can keep the water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to safely take your fish home. 

If you’re transporting your fish in a car, turn on the air conditioning or the heating. This is very important to keep the water the correct temperature for your fish.

Enough Oxygen

Allowing the fish to have a high enough oxygen level in the bag is crucial. Having more oxygen in the bag means the fish can stay in the bag longer. Less oxygen means less time for the fish to breathe in the bag. 

When preparing a fish you have caught for transport, you also need to allow sufficient oxygen in the bag before you close the bag tightly.

Fish breathe through gills, and need a constant supply of oxygen: the longer your fish will stay in the bag, the more oxygen it will need. If you end up keeping the fish in a bag for more than five hours, it would be smart to top off its oxygen by opening the bag, allowing a bit of extra oxygen to enter, and then closing it again. 

Limited Number of Passengers

This refers to passengers in the actual fish bag – which means only one to two passengers are allowed! Even if you have several fish to transport, don’t put them all in the same bag. This will cause them to spend each other’s oxygen faster, leading to breathing problems for all of them. 

What you should do instead is set a two-fish limit per bag. It’s even better to keep one fish per bag. Guarantee you use a larger bag with more water and oxygen if you go with two fish per bag. 

No Food Allowed

If the fish eats before being transported, it will use up its oxygen quicker because it will need it to process the food. So, try not to let the fish eat before transport: if you’re catching fish, do it with plastic bait instead of a real worm bait.

Don’t worry – this does not mean your fish will starve! 

Convenient Transport

Allow your fish to have convenient transport, which means bump-free transport. Achieving that will be easy if you’re transporting it on foot. For those traveling by car, this means having another person in the car to keep the fish stable. 

Leaving a fish on the car seat will cause it to feel the bumps and become anxious, which might elevate its stress levels. That will also decrease the water quality, causing them to use their oxygen more quickly, which is never good. 

Alternative to Bag Transport

If you don’t have the proper bag to transport a fish in, you can always go with a container. There are better choices than plastic containers, but they will suffice. Just remember to get the fish out of the container as quickly as possible.

So, what type of container can you use for fish transportation?

A plastic container can be a good choice. You’ll need an insulated container with a good lid that you can use to shut the container after putting the fish and oxygen in. The container needs to be made from durable plastic without toxins that can quickly contaminate the fish’s water.

Next, use a brand-new, clean container. The walls of old containers get infused with the things you put in them, which in some cases might harm fish. So, using a new container is a safe bet.

You also need to know that the container should be filled ⅓ with water. The rest of the space should be filled with oxygen, just like we mentioned for fish bags. The space for oxygen in closed containers is limited, so they’re not as suitable as fish bags.

The best-sized container allows the fish to have enough water to swim with about five or more inches of space for oxygen. Smaller containers lead to a lack of oxygen, which causes the fish to be unable to breathe. That is never a good thing, so you must use a large container. 

The larger the fish, the larger your container needs to be!

Wrap Up

Thank you for reading this guide on fish transport. We hope you learned valuable information, but if you’re still wondering how long a fish can stay in a bag, it should not be any longer than nine hours. 

For more helpful guides, make sure you check out our website. If you want us to write a guide on any topic, or you have thoughts about this guide, please share them in the comment section below. We can’t wait to read everything you put down there!

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