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How to Clean Your Catch – Gutting a Fish

Have a successful day in your skid house? If you decide that you want to keep your fish, you are going to need to know how to clean them. Making moments that matter includes gathering around the hot oil with friends at a fish fry.  However, you need to get the fish ready to eat.  In order to do this, you need to learn how to clean your catch. Below are the steps to follow when cleaning a fish.

Proper Preparation

For the most part, cleaning a fish is about the same when it comes to midwestern fish like walleye, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, and perch.  The technique used on northern pike is a bit different due to all the “Y” bones present.  For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the most common way to clean a fish.

Processing a fish can be a messy process, so make sure you are in an area you are okay with getting messy. You may choose to lay down newspaper to help with cleanup. You will need a fillet knife, (it can be electric or a standard knife) a cutting board, or a surface you can cut on. Also, it is very helpful to have access to running water.

Step 1

With the fish on it’s side, insert your fillet knife right behind the gill cover and make a cut straight down toward the spine without cutting all the way through.

Step 2

Run your knife along the backbone and rib cage of the fish.  You will be able to feel your knife running on the bones.  This will release the fillet from the ribs.

Step 3

Now you can completely remove the fillets from both sides of the fish by cutting straight down the length of the fish along the rib cage.  In the case of a Walleye, make sure you remove the cheek meat.  This is a very good piece of meat and you definitely want to save this.

Step 4

The last step is to remove the skin from the fillet.

Here’s a great video showing how to fillet a walleye.  Again, the process is very similar for most freshwater species in the Midwest.

Now that you know how to clean your fish, cut your fillets, invite some friends over and enjoy your delicious and hard-earned meal!

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