Trout is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, yet it's also low in harmful mercury. If you've caught your own trout, the bones in the fish are one of the only obstacles between you and a healthy trout dinner. Boning a trout doesn't have to be difficult or messy. Once you learn the proper technique, knowing how to debone a trout makes it easier for you to enjoy fresh-caught fish on a regular basis.
Cut the head from the fish just below the gills. Slice the fish down the belly. Place your fingers into the cut, just under where you sliced away the head. Pinch your thumb and forefinger together and pull to remove the fish guts. Then, open the two sides of the cut fish and scrape your hand from top to tail to remove the remaining innards.
Flip the fish so its belly is facing upward. Separate the sides of the fish into a butterfly. Look for the fish bone structure running down the center of the fish.
Run your knife along each side of the spinal bone structure to loosen it. If you prefer fillets over a butterflied fish, you can simply detach each side of the fish from the bone structure by slicing alongside the bones to make two fillets. Otherwise, slide your knife between the bottom of the bone structure and the top of the flesh to separate the spine.
Pull the spine away from the trout and discard. While the main bone structure is now removed, the fish will just have remaining bones in the soft flesh on either side. Feel the bones with your fingers to find their location.
Insert the tip of your knife on one side of the bones, which run horizontally through each side of the fish. Score down the entire length of the fish, then repeat on the other side of the bones. Use a set of tweezers to pull the bones out in one continuous piece. Repeat on the other side of the butterfly or on the other fillet.
Pick any remaining bones out using the tweezers. Prepare the fish as desired.
- Eagle Eye Guiding: How to Butterfly and Prepare a Boneless Trout for Baking
- Canadian Recipes of the Great White North: Bari Demers
- American Heart Association: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images