How To Fillet Trout Like A Professional Cook

December 4, 2016

There are a few fillet methods you can choose from, but the simplest way on how to fillet trout is straightforward. As trout belongs to the light-flavored fish type, the way to clean, gut, and fillet it is not similar to a pike or a walleye. By learning the correct technique, you’ll be able to cut and divide different parts for future use. Hope the following instructions will encourage you to purchase a whole trout and fillet it by yourself at home.


What Should You Prepare Before Filleting Trout?

  • Here are some kitchen tools you may need to do this job in the most convenient way:
  • A sharp scaler to move from the tail to the head of a trout.
  • A sharp knife or a super sharp knife, designed for a chef, for your filleting job. The honing steel can help you sharpen the knife if the need arise.
  • ​A small yet sharp pointy knife for gutting.
  • ​Hearty scissors to handle all the pressure along with the detritus of a salmon
  • ​Bone Tweezers for fishes (not the regular tweezers which usually pick the trout flesh away). Otherwise, you can cook the salmon bone-in before picking its bone out when eating.
  • ​A pair of fillet gloves is optional yet recommended as it provides the adequate protection against any accidental cut as well as lets you grip the trout easier. Modern gloves used for filleting are comfortable and lightweight to use.

Simple Way To Clean The Trout’s Outside

The first step is to clean the exterior of the fish by putting it in running water. This will remove the protective slime that covers its skin. Doing this will make handling the fish easier. If you need to remove its scales from its body, now can be the right time to let it done either with the fish scaler or the blunt edge of your knife.

How to gut trout

The second thing you should do before filleting trout is to gut it. In general, the supermarket or fish shop guts salmon for you. But it is not too hard to do it yourself although a fresh trout is very slimy. Mucus coating assists the fish to protect its scales and skin and move smoothly in the water. We will suggest you the simplest way to do this task.

Step 1: Wash trout in the cold water

You may find that the easiest way is to wash it in the cold water before wiping trout’s mucus away by using a kitchen towel. Or you may want to use a knife to enhance your skills and safety.

Step 2: Make a stab incision behind its’ head

Next, use a small pointy knife to make a stab incision behind the trout’s head and between its pectoral fins. You do not have to thrust deeply inside its abdomen. Extend the incision lengthways until you get directly to its vent, in front of its anal fin. Please reach into its abdomen as well as pull out its contents gently.

Step 3: Move the knife from the vent to the back

The gut job will end by moving the knife gently from its vent to the back. Normally, the behind part of its head is much stronger. So, pull this part out if possible, and use a knife to cut it. There will be blood spilled after cutting, and you can quickly clean it by washing the trout cavity with cold water.

How to fillet trout in 7 amazing steps

In case you plan to cook your trout whole, it is now well-prepared for processing. If not, then it is time to start filleting it.

Step 1: Position your first filleting slice

Hold the salmon with one of your hands pointing the head to the ceiling, or simply lay the fish on one side of the cutting board. Now, position your trout on this board with its dorsal fin right towards you and its belly in the opposite direction. Take and insert the knife behind its ribs along its backbone base.

Make a slice behind the pectoral fins and gills, into the salmon’s flesh. Please keep the cut perpendicular to its backbone. Gently work your knife toward another end of its ribs with the direction to the outside. Please ensure you cut as closely as possible to its ribs. It will allow you to salvage as much trout meat as desired.

You can see the knife blade for most of the times when you do this process. But stop whenever you feel its backbone. Do not cut through.

Next, take your sharp knife starting right at its anus and gently cut your fish along its belly. Continue to slice until you reach its throat. Work your own way down to remove the ribs.

Step 2: Slice down to its spine along its back side

Cut along the side of the trout’s spine. Continue to cut down toward its bone. As previously mentioned, avoid the bone and cut until reaching the opposite vent in the fish’s belly. The idea here is to slice as far as possible to free its flesh without carving through its rib cage. Next, insert your knife into a tissue between its gills.

Step 3: Let your knife through but keep cutting

You should continue cutting until your knife emerges right at its tail. Then push it through the trout and keep going until it comes totally free by its tail. Remember to cut outward and perpendicular to its belly. As the slice is toward its head, you can remove the head when stop cutting.

Now, grab the trout entrails and pull them out. Rinse the exposed meat of the salmon in cold running water. You can use your finger or a spoon to scratch the blood away. Please check along its spine carefully before washing the trout with salted water. This willa allow you to detect and remove any remaining residue.

Step 4: Cut the trout fillet completely free from its rib cage

By using several carving movements, cut its fillet and remove the flesh from its rib cage. Upon coming to its anal fin, keep the knife as near to the trout as possible. Then, maintain this manner when cutting down to the tail. Repeat to remove its ribs on one side of your trout. Again, keep the knife tightly when getting to its tail from the bottom.

The next thing is to take the knife and cut in and down toward its backbone. You should do this step for the whole length of two fish sides. You know that you are doing the right thing if you can hear the cracking sound of its pin bones as it is cut.

Finally, wash your fillet in running water.

Step 5: Have your finished fillet and repeat for another side.

You can repeat the process for its other side. With two fresh fillets currently lying on your table, you can remove its center from other parts of the trout using a cutter. Be careful as not to break the center part off with your hands.

If you notice some pin bones still connected to its muscle and its frame, gently try to locate those bones. You can get rid of these bones by cutting out the part of the fillet where they are located. Another way is to utilize several pliers to pull and grab them out. You can enjoy and cook even with the presence of tiny pin bones. In fact, these small bones are edible as they become barely noticeable and soft.

Top Tips on filleting trout

  • Whichever method the you use, you’ll find these tips nifty:
  • Use some newspaper to soak up its blood. Once you have cleaned the trout, simply wrap up before throwing it into the general bin.
  • Always cut with the direction of going away from your body to avoid the case of the slipped knife.
  • ​You should prepare one sharp knife to avoid forcing, struggling or using too much pressure.
  • ​Handle your trout with one pair of filleting gloves for safety.


There are some ways to fillet a trout. You can select a method that you are most comfortable with and is suited to your skill level. We hope the above method will give you the comprehensive and straightforward way to fillet your trout quickly.

Then, you will be able to cook your salmon fillets in an easy and quick way. One of my favorite recipes is pan-fried trout fillets. Although it seems daunting to you, the crisp skin on trout looks nice and tastes delicious as well. It can best be achieved by turning this type of fish over during cooking.

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About the Author


Hello, fishing world! My name is Bella. Yes, you got me right, I am a woman! But, I am a woman not only fond of cooking and shopping. I am a woman who shows interest in everything that covers topics regarding fishing. Don’t get me wrong! I believe that the world of fishing is not exclusively for men! In fact, I, myself enjoy fishing. That’s why I created this website.

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