How to Fillet Trout

by Contributor

Items you will need

  • Trout
  • Fillet knife (or very sharp cutting knife)
  • Cutting board or fillet board

How to Fillet Trout. Trout is a freshwater fish that is as much a favorite of fishermen as it is of patrons at a fine restaurant. There are two ways to fillet a trout: "gutting the fish" or by the very popular "butterfly style." Fresh trout that is cleaned and filleted properly makes a wonderfully delicious meal. Fried, grilled, poached, baked or steamed trout all start with a good cleaning and fillet process.

Filleting by Gutting

Step 1

Place the clean trout on a clean cutting board. Use your fillet knife and start at the anus, gently cutting upward along the belly of the fish up to the throat.

Step 2

Find the tissue between the gills and the collarbone and insert your knife there. Cutting should be perpendicular to the belly or up toward the head. Continue cutting in this manner until you are able to remove the head of the trout.

Step 3

Take hold of the entrails (guts of the fish) and pull them out. Rinse the fish in cold water.

Step 4

Scrape away the blood line while you have the fish in the water. Use a spoon or even your fingers to do the scraping.

Step 5

Wash the fish inside and out with lightly salted water to wash away any residue left from the cleaning.

Filleting by Butterfly

Step 1

Place the clean trout on a clean cutting board. Use your fillet knife and start at the anus gently cutting upward along the belly of the fish up to the throat.

Step 2

Find the tissue between the gills and the collarbone and insert your knife there. Cutting should be perpendicular to the belly or up toward the head. Continue cutting in this manner until you are able to remove the head of the trout.

Step 3

Take hold of the entrails (guts of the fish) and pull them out. Rinse the fish in cold water. Wash the fish inside and out with lightly salted water to wash away any residue left from the cleaning.

Step 4

Lay the gutted trout on its back and insert the knife carefully behind the ribs (along the base of the backbone). Cutting as close to the ribs as possible, work the knife toward the other end of the ribs or the outside. Keep going all the way down to the end of the ribs. The blade of the fillet knife should be visible at all times in this step. Finish cutting all the way back to the tail from the anal fin and be sure to keep the fillet knife as close as possible to it. Repeat the same cutting method on the other side of the trout.

Step 5

Cut down and in toward the backbone for the entire length of the fish on both sides. Listen for the sound of small pin bones being cut. Remove that whole center frame piece of the trout and you'll have two fillets lying out. Use a cutter to remove the center piece or just break it off with your hands. Run the tip of your knife down the fillets to locate and remove any further pin bones that connected the muscle and the frame of the trout.

Tips

  • Use a fillet knife that is appropriate for the size of the trout you are filleting.

Warnings

  • Take great care cutting and slicing with a fillet knife, as they are extremely sharp.