It’s best to start with very fresh fish. If you catch your own, gut and ice them as soon as possible. Better, gut them and put them into a slush of ice and brine; this will start the salting process right away. Before gutting and cleaning the fish, however, consider how they will be handled for salting, drying, and smoking.
Fish to be smoked can be suspended vertically in several ways. They can also be placed horizontally on a rack. How they are to be hung depends partly on practical considerations, such as your facilities as well as the size of the fish. Here are some basic techniques to consider: