How to clean a trout

How to clean a trout

  • News & Tips
  • Fishing
  • Trout

Today many anglers choose to release trout they catch, carefully twisting their fishing hooks free and watching as the quarry swims back into the stream with a flick of its tail-fin. That’s a marvelous experience and leaves more trout available for all of us the next time we venture out. That’s the approach I take almost all the time. But every now and then it’s nice to eat a few of these delicious fish.

Clean Trout Quick

When you do decide to keep a few trout for the pan, it’s important that they don’t go to waste and are cared for in a manner that provides the best table fare possible. To ensure the freshest, sweetest meals, they should be dressed out on the stream or lake, immediately after they are caught or a short while afterwards. Fortunately, they are actually among the simplest fish to clean.

Trout deteriorate quickly in the warm weather typical of most fishing seasons if they are not cleaned quickly. One source of deterioration is bacterial growth which attacks the fish’s internal organs, then spreads to the flesh. The second source of decay is the digestive enzymes in the fish which continue to act after the trout dies.

How to clean a trout Rapala Soft Grip 7.5″ Fillet Knife

Removing the entrails immediately after the fish is caught eliminates both of these sources of unappetizing trout.

Steps for Cleaning Trout

Step 1: Using a sharp fillet knife, insert the point into the *** opening.

Step 2: Slit up the center of the trout’s belly in a straight line. Do not cut deeply — just through the skin is sufficient. Avoid cutting the internal organs any more than necessary.

Step 3: Cut up to the gills. Stop before you get to the v-shaped point below the fish’s jaws.

Step 4: Insert a finger inside the fish’s mouth and press down on the tongue to extend the v-shaped tab on the bottom side of the fish’s lower jaw. This tab is thick in the middle and thin on each side. Stick the knife through the thin part, from one side through the other, freeing the v-shaped tab.

How to clean a trout White River Fly Shop Creel

Step 5: Hold the lower jaw of the trout in one hand with your thumb and forefinger and grasp the v-shaped tab you just freed with the other hand. Pull down on this piece.

Step 6: As you pull steadily downward the entire gill structure and entrails will come out with one pull.

Step 7: To remove the remaining dark-colored blood sac along the backbone, hold trout in one hand and run the thumb nail of the other hand up the length of the backbone.

Step 8: Wipe the fish with paper towels or clean ferns or rinse in water. If you use water, be sure to pat the fish dry with paper towels. Clean

Step 9: Place in a creel or cooler.

How to clean a trout White River Fly Shop Creel Bag

Step 10: Or better yet, slip immediately into a frying pan with sizzling butter and lemon juice!

Tips on Fishing Creels

Canvas creels like the popular White River Fly Shop Creel Bag or wicker creels will keep trout fresh for several hours if temperatures do not go above 70 degrees. Canvas creels should be periodically dipped in water to facilitate the evaporation process which keeps the fish cool inside. Wicker creels are best lined with wet leaves or ferns. If you have a cooler handy, place the fish on ice after dressing them.

How to clean a trout

  • News & Tips
  • Fishing
  • Trout

Today many anglers choose to release trout they catch, carefully twisting their fishing hooks free and watching as the quarry swims back into the stream with a flick of its tail-fin. That’s a marvelous experience and leaves more trout available for all of us the next time we venture out. That’s the approach I take almost all the time. But every now and then it’s nice to eat a few of these delicious fish.

Clean Trout Quick

When you do decide to keep a few trout for the pan, it’s important that they don’t go to waste and are cared for in a manner that provides the best table fare possible. To ensure the freshest, sweetest meals, they should be dressed out on the stream or lake, immediately after they are caught or a short while afterwards. Fortunately, they are actually among the simplest fish to clean.

Trout deteriorate quickly in the warm weather typical of most fishing seasons if they are not cleaned quickly. One source of deterioration is bacterial growth which attacks the fish’s internal organs, then spreads to the flesh. The second source of decay is the digestive enzymes in the fish which continue to act after the trout dies.

How to clean a trout Rapala Soft Grip 7.5″ Fillet Knife

Removing the entrails immediately after the fish is caught eliminates both of these sources of unappetizing trout.

Steps for Cleaning Trout

Step 1: Using a sharp fillet knife, insert the point into the *** opening.

Step 2: Slit up the center of the trout’s belly in a straight line. Do not cut deeply — just through the skin is sufficient. Avoid cutting the internal organs any more than necessary.

Step 3: Cut up to the gills. Stop before you get to the v-shaped point below the fish’s jaws.

Step 4: Insert a finger inside the fish’s mouth and press down on the tongue to extend the v-shaped tab on the bottom side of the fish’s lower jaw. This tab is thick in the middle and thin on each side. Stick the knife through the thin part, from one side through the other, freeing the v-shaped tab.

How to clean a trout White River Fly Shop Creel

Step 5: Hold the lower jaw of the trout in one hand with your thumb and forefinger and grasp the v-shaped tab you just freed with the other hand. Pull down on this piece.

Step 6: As you pull steadily downward the entire gill structure and entrails will come out with one pull.

Step 7: To remove the remaining dark-colored blood sac along the backbone, hold trout in one hand and run the thumb nail of the other hand up the length of the backbone.

Step 8: Wipe the fish with paper towels or clean ferns or rinse in water. If you use water, be sure to pat the fish dry with paper towels. Clean

Step 9: Place in a creel or cooler.

How to clean a trout White River Fly Shop Creel Bag

Step 10: Or better yet, slip immediately into a frying pan with sizzling butter and lemon juice!

Tips on Fishing Creels

Canvas creels like the popular White River Fly Shop Creel Bag or wicker creels will keep trout fresh for several hours if temperatures do not go above 70 degrees. Canvas creels should be periodically dipped in water to facilitate the evaporation process which keeps the fish cool inside. Wicker creels are best lined with wet leaves or ferns. If you have a cooler handy, place the fish on ice after dressing them.

Clean Trout in 15 Seconds or Less

Uncle Harold came knocking with four brook trout, commonly called brookies, for me Monday morning. He left with a dozen duck eggs and we’re both happy with our exchange. You can clean trout in 15 seconds or less once you get the hang of it. I think brookies are the easiest fish there are to clean.

How to Clean a Brook Trout

You might or might not need a cutting board. I use one to make clean up easier but I don’t actually make any cuts on the board. It’s easier to put the board through the dishwasher than clean the fishy smell out of the counter.

Start with a small sharp knife. I used a four inch paring knife. Hold the trout in one hand. Please excuse my fingernails, this wasn’t the first trout I cleaned this morning, and we’ll leave it at that. I don’t rinse the fish before I clean them because it will make them slippery.

How to clean a trout

Start cutting at the anus (yes, I know…but it’s fine, you can do it). This will take a little pressure even with a sharp knife. Expect to use very little pressure. The tip of the knife indicates the starting point. Make the cut all the way to the top of the body cavity.

How to clean a troutSlice up the belly with only the tip of the knife, all the way up to the gills. The knife will slide through like it’s cutting almost room temperature butter. This isn’t messy.
How to clean a trout
How to clean a troutYou’re going to make two cuts, one at the top and one at the bottom. You can slide your fingers under the guts to pick them up.

How to clean a trout
How to clean a trout
Make the second cut at the end of the digestive tract, slide your fingers under everything inside, and pull out. There will be little resistance. Wash the body cavity under cold running water. You’re done. How to clean a trout

That’s it. That’s how to clean trout in 15 seconds or less.

Last Updated on June 23, 2020 by simplyhealthy

Simply Healthy Family may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

How to clean a trout

Trout is a fish that can be cooked in several ways. You can grill or bake it. I love to roast it. Others take pride in their fried trout recipes.

Whatever trout recipe you may have in mind, you’ll have to debone trout eventually. Removing the bones would make it easier for you to enjoy the fish.

The good news is the deboning a trout is relatively easy. You don’t need to be an expert chef to be able to pull it off.

Using a knife

How to clean a trout

trouts and slices of lemon on the chopping board and a knife

You can fillet a trout using a butcher knife. I suggest you use a filleting knife so that you will end up with nice and more economical cuts.

Start by removing the head of the fish. The blade should be angled towards the head instead of the body, so that you will be able to retain the meat.

Slice off the first fillet located at the upper part of the backbone. Position the fish on the side so that its belly will be opposite you. Then make a tiny cut on the upper side of its backbone near the opening where you had removed its head.

Insert the knife into this crease and then run it down the length of the fish. End it by slicing all the way through the section located at the base of the tail. You now have a clean and meaty trout fillet.

You can then slice the second fillet by turning the fish over on the opposite side and repeating the filleting procedure.

Once you are done with cutting the fillet, you should remove the pin bones and skin.

Using scissors and knife

How to clean a trout

A trout, Onions, garlic and scissors

It is also possible to debone a trout using scissors. This is ideal if you would want to serve up the trout whole. Deboning with scissors can keep the trout intact.

However, you would still need a sharp knife to cut off the head of the trout.

Start by cutting the tail, fins and wobbly flaps of skin. Using a razor-sharp knife, you have to slice through the higher part of the gills or just below the head of the trout. You can then use this opening in cutting through the length of the belly.

I suggest you use long and smooth motions so that you can avoid crushing the fish. Continue cutting until you reach the tail of the fish.

Once you have reached that part of the fish, it is time to loosen its backbone. Divide the fish at the cut where you opened up its body. Then place its flesh down against the cutting board.

Using the tip of your finger, cut through the backside of the trout wherein the backbone is located. You will need to apply a reasonable amount of pressure to release the backbone and extract it with minimal difficulty.

Grab the backbone close to the tail section and pull it apart. Do this gradually so as to prevent tearing away the flesh. The ribcage will also come away with the backbone.

Once you have removed the backbone as well as the ribcage, you are left with a piece that has been opened up. You can then get a knife and run it along the length of the fish to remove the pin bones or those fragile rib bones remaining in the flesh.

How to clean a trout

The quickest way to clean specks — or most any fish

Admit it: The worst part of a fishing trip is not finding trout, but cleaning the day’s catch.

Yeah, we all say it’s part of the experience, but few people really like getting their hands full of slime and fish guts.

So it’s important to get the job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

That’s where these seven steps come in. I first learned it by watching guides in Venice, La., and soon discovered that it’s a way to work around the rough bellies of reds and specks.

Now it’s the only way I clean pretty much any fish but panfish (which, honestly, is not that difficult).

And once you get the steps down pat, they all seem to flow together almost as a single, continuous movement.

You’ll burn through the day’s catch, get the fish in the freezer and clean up in time for dinner.

1.) With the cutting edge of the knife turned towards the tail, insert the knife through the fish just below and slightly behind the pectoral fin.

How to clean a trout2.) Smoothly extend through the length of gut cavity to near the anal vent.

How to clean a trout3.) Lay the fish on its side and make a vertical cut to the backbone behind the head of the fish.

How to clean a trout4.) Turn the knife blade to face toward the tail and hugging the backbone cut down the length of the fish to separate the fillet from the carcass.

How to clean a trout5.) Remove the fillet and set it aside. Its edges should be smooth and straight. If it is raggedly, the knife needs honing.

How to clean a trout6.) Turn the fish over and repeat the filleting procedure for the remaining side. Then cut out and discard the rib cage from the fillet.

How to clean a trout7.) With a fingertip, pinch the fillet, skin-side down to the cleaning surface, and with the other hand use the Flex blade to gently cut-scrape the flesh from the skin.

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It’s no secret that fishing has a special place in my heart and (likely) always will! I’ve fished mountain creeks and rivers of the Oregon coast, experienced both open lake and ice fishing in northern Canada. I can even brag on ocean fishing in Mexico! But my favorite? Fishing for middle-size beauties on moving water! After a day’s good catch, here’s how to clean a trout.

Why This Method?

When it comes to large trout (2 lb+), flaying can be a good option. However, when cleaning smaller trout, no one wants to waste even the tiniest bit of meat! This method allows you to leave the bone in and after frying, barbecuing or baking your fish, the skeleton is easy to peel out.

How to clean a trout

How to Clean a Trout

Once you are ready to clean your fish, hold it belly-side up. Beginning at the vent, slice the belly open, until you’ve reached the head.

How to clean a trout

How to clean a trout

Flip the fish over and, just behind the gills, begin slicing through the fish’s head. Once you’ve cut through the backbone, stop, and put your knife away.

How to clean a trout

Hook your finger in the trout’s mouth and pull downward. Head and guts will come out as one piece.

How to clean a trout

How to clean a trout

Once the innards have been removed, you’ll notice a dark blood vein running the length of your fish’s backbone.

How to clean a trout

Use your thumb to scrape the blood out, until all is clean.

How to clean a trout

Rinse the fish clean under cold water and then prepare it in the desired manner!

Last Updated on June 23, 2020 by simplyhealthy

Simply Healthy Family may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

How to clean a trout

Trout is a fish that can be cooked in several ways. You can grill or bake it. I love to roast it. Others take pride in their fried trout recipes.

Whatever trout recipe you may have in mind, you’ll have to debone trout eventually. Removing the bones would make it easier for you to enjoy the fish.

The good news is the deboning a trout is relatively easy. You don’t need to be an expert chef to be able to pull it off.

Using a knife

How to clean a trout

trouts and slices of lemon on the chopping board and a knife

You can fillet a trout using a butcher knife. I suggest you use a filleting knife so that you will end up with nice and more economical cuts.

Start by removing the head of the fish. The blade should be angled towards the head instead of the body, so that you will be able to retain the meat.

Slice off the first fillet located at the upper part of the backbone. Position the fish on the side so that its belly will be opposite you. Then make a tiny cut on the upper side of its backbone near the opening where you had removed its head.

Insert the knife into this crease and then run it down the length of the fish. End it by slicing all the way through the section located at the base of the tail. You now have a clean and meaty trout fillet.

You can then slice the second fillet by turning the fish over on the opposite side and repeating the filleting procedure.

Once you are done with cutting the fillet, you should remove the pin bones and skin.

Using scissors and knife

How to clean a trout

A trout, Onions, garlic and scissors

It is also possible to debone a trout using scissors. This is ideal if you would want to serve up the trout whole. Deboning with scissors can keep the trout intact.

However, you would still need a sharp knife to cut off the head of the trout.

Start by cutting the tail, fins and wobbly flaps of skin. Using a razor-sharp knife, you have to slice through the higher part of the gills or just below the head of the trout. You can then use this opening in cutting through the length of the belly.

I suggest you use long and smooth motions so that you can avoid crushing the fish. Continue cutting until you reach the tail of the fish.

Once you have reached that part of the fish, it is time to loosen its backbone. Divide the fish at the cut where you opened up its body. Then place its flesh down against the cutting board.

Using the tip of your finger, cut through the backside of the trout wherein the backbone is located. You will need to apply a reasonable amount of pressure to release the backbone and extract it with minimal difficulty.

Grab the backbone close to the tail section and pull it apart. Do this gradually so as to prevent tearing away the flesh. The ribcage will also come away with the backbone.

Once you have removed the backbone as well as the ribcage, you are left with a piece that has been opened up. You can then get a knife and run it along the length of the fish to remove the pin bones or those fragile rib bones remaining in the flesh.

How to clean a trout

Just caught your first trout and excited to get back to camp and start cooking? Trout is a light flavor fish that is as easy to cook as it is to catch, as long as you follow our easy instructions and your trout will be ready for cooking in just a few minutes.

It is important to act fast as fish can quickly start to decay due to internal bacteria and digestive enzymes, especially in warm weather so make sure to clean and store your lake and rainbow trout quickly if you want to eat them! Lets get started learning how to clean lake and river trout!

Tools for Cleaning Trout

In order to clean your catch you will need the following items: a sharp filet knife, a clean cutting board and a trashcan. The most important tool is a good filet knife, we recommend the Mercer Culinary Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife for home use and the Kershaw Fillet Knife with Sheath while camping. Both knives a made of steel and come razor sharp, just be careful while packing!

Cleaning Your Trout

Step 1: Lay your trout flat on the cutting board.

Step 2: Cut the trouts stomach towards the head, continuing to the head. Make sure your cuts are slow and confident, remember you only get one chance at preparing your trout for dinner!

Step 3: Insert the tip of the knife into the gills and cut upwards, removing the head.

Step 4: Remove the inner organs and blood with your hands or a spoon. After you have removed the head and entrails make sure to properly dispose of them if you are camping. Leftover fish are tasty treat for for a number of animals, including bears!

Step 5: Clean the remaining trout with cold water, removing and blood stuck to ribs or the spine. Try using a hose, or water bottle if you are camping. Cleaning the trout does not take much water but be sure the water is clean and not dirty river water!

Step 6: Place your catch flat on the cutting board and insert your knife under the rib, carefully removing them from both sides and the spinal column.

Remember, removing bones is not necessary! Trout can be cooked with the bone in and still taste delicious!

It’s the lightest backpacking meal—and one of the easiest and tastiest

How to clean a trout

Backpacking food is often uninspiring. Because vegetables and meat are heavy and inconvenient, they often get left behind. And many easy-to-make, lightweight, dehydrated meals are bland or textureless. It’s a shame when you consider the wealth of free and delicious wild foods we’re surrounded by on so many backpacking trips. Plus, if you gather your meal at camp, it won’t weigh you down on the trail.

If you want to go this route, your options are: get a Ph.D.’s worth of knowledge and experience in order to find and eat wild mushrooms, berries, and plants with confidence, or, depending on the water near your camp and the local laws, pack a lightweight fishing rod (like the small-water ones we recommend here) and just a few other supplies, like a knife and spices. With even a little bit of practice and planning, odds are decent you’ll be able to pull a meal out of a nearby lake or stream, and often that dinner will be a delicious trout.

Trout are one of the better fish to catch and eat in the backcountry, not only because they’re plentiful in mountain waters all across the U.S., but they’re also a cinch to clean and prep no matter their size. That said, if you’re imagining a big fillet of pure meat like you pick up at the store, you’re going to be disappointed. In the backcountry, you’re almost always going to end up with a mess of meat, bones, and skin on your plate. But picking tidbits of freshly caught trout off the bones is only as hard as scavenging every delicious morsel off a chicken wing—and much more satisfying. Plus, it tastes way better than a bag of freeze-dried slop.

Cleaning

Once you’ve caught and killed your fish, you’ll want to clean it as quickly as possible—ideally immediately. Warm temperatures can cause trout to deteriorate and spoil fast, but removing the entrails will slow that process. Waiting until you get back to camp or when it’s time for dinner can result in a wasted fish.

A dedicated filleting utensil, like Morakniv’s rubber-handled Fishing Comfort Fillet 155 ($20) or Opinel’s folding No.08 Slim Stainless Steel Folding Fillet knife ($20), will deliver clean and easy cuts and prove much more effective than knives not built for this purpose. Trust us on this one. Begin by holding the fish by its lower jaw and making a cut up the belly from the anus (the small hole toward the tail) to between the gills. Use the tip of the knife to slice just through the skin. Avoid piercing the entrails or spine and spilling blood.

Cut two slits in the thin layer of skin just behind and under the bottom jaw of the fish, creating a V that points forward. (You can see this area better by sticking a finger in the fish’s mouth and pressing down on its tongue.) Slip your thumb into the V you just cut, and pull down toward the tail—this should remove the gills and guts in one clean stroke. Inspect the cavity for any remaining entrails, and remove anything that isn’t meat or bones. Check local regulations for how to dispose of the entrails: in most places, you can drop them into deep or moving water (not at the shoreline) or bury them in a cathole far away from camp and the water. When in doubt, pack them out in a sealed container.

Once the guts are gone, you should see a line of red along the spine at the back of the cavity. Run your thumbnail along this line from head to tail, squeezing out all the blood. This is the fish’s kidney, it doesn’t come out with the rest of the guts, and leaving it in can spoil the taste. If you want to remove the head, bend it back until you break the spine, then cut it away. (This is optional: if you do, you’ll be missing out on some secret stashes of meat later on.)

Clean the fish thoroughly inside and out with fresh water to wash off any blood or other guts, then dry it well with a clean towel. At this point, the fish is ready to cook. Seal it in a disposable zip-top bag or Stasher Silicone Reusable bag ($12), and keep it as cool as possible until you’re ready to eat. You can usually keep the bag in the water on the shoreline.

Cooking

One of the easiest and most delicious ways to cook your trout is by seasoning it inside and out with olive oil, salt, and lemon pepper. I carry my oil in a reusable squeeze bottle like HumanGear’s GoToob+ ($25 for three). Pocket-size Stasher Reusable storage bags ($14 for two) or one-ounce Nalgene containers ($6) are good for packing spices. For those willing to haul in more fixings, a real lemon (save some for seasoning as you eat) intensifies the flavor, and butter (it should keep a day or two at moderate temperatures without refrigeration) is richer than oil. Dedicated backcountry chefs can pack the fish’s cavity with garlic, dried herbs like thyme and oregano, onions, and spices like cayenne. Keep in mind that adding veggies or other things to the fish will lengthen the cooking time.

Once you’ve seasoned the fish, wrap it in aluminum foil. If your fish are smaller than eight to ten inches, you might be able to combine a few into one sheet; otherwise, wrap them up individually. If you’re lucky enough to be able to cook your trout over a campfire, wait until you have a good bed of coals, then lay the foil-wrapped fish over them. If you have a grate—or an easy-packing grill and pit combo, like the UCO Flatpack ($34)—you can also raise them above the fire to better control the cooking temperature. Cook the fish for five to ten minutes (a general rule is eight minutes per inch of thickness, but exact numbers depend on the fish and your fire), flipping it halfway through.

If fires are a no-go due to local restrictions or fire danger, cut the fish into manageable lengths for your pot or pan, then fry them over your camp stove. While using foil isn’t necessary in this case, wrapping the fish can make cleanup easier.

You’ll know your fish is ready to eat when the meat is opaque and flakes easily.

Eating

If cooked properly, the meat should slide right off the bones, giving you a lot more than you’d get by filleting the fish prior to cooking (which is often tricky with smaller trout anyway). Pull the meat off carefully to limit the number of bones that end up in your mouth, but be prepared to spit a couple of small ones out.

The skin and fins are all OK to eat, as are the eyes and the cheeks—the latter are tiny scallop-like morsels that have long been prized for their rich, almost sweet flavor.

From hook to plate, you can be chowing down on a fresh, all-time backcountry meal in just 20 minutes, having carried little more than a rod, a few sheets of aluminum foil, a squeeze bottle of oil, and a few of your favorite spices.

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