How to Fillet a Trout


Trout is a freshwater fish that is very tasty because of its light flavor despite how bony it is. It is an oily fish that is usually smoked to be eaten. If you get to actually fish for some trout and cook them directly in the near future, we are giving you tips as early as now on how to fillet a trout.

Before we proceed to the first step, you ought to know that the ways on how to fillet a trout are kind of different to the techniques for pikes and walleyes. Do not fret though; filleting a trout is actually straightforward. Just remember to avoid ruining the trout’s meat.

Step 1: Prepare the trout.

Place the trout horizontally on a cutting board. If you are experienced in filleting other fishes, you can just hold the trout one-handedly while its head is facing upward.

Step 2: Cut the trout.

With a very sharp knife, cut the fish starting from its anus. Carefully cut it all the way to its belly until you reach its throat.

Step 3: Penetrate the center of the gills.

Using the same knife, insert it into the soft section or tissue located right between the gills. It is near the trout’s “collarbone.”

Step 4: Cut to the head’s direction.

Specifically, you will make an outward motion as you cut. The direction is opposite the belly.  This process aims to easily remove the head.

Step 5: Remove the trout’s guts.

Also known as entrails, the guts must be removed completely. Simply grab them and directly pull them out.

Step 6: Rinse the trout’s meat.

Using cold water, wash the meat. Just focus on the part that is exposed.

Step 7: Remove the trout’s blood.

Scrape the blood line found along the trout’s spine. Simply use your finger or a spoon.

Step 8: Rinse the trout again.

Wash the trout again but this time, use water that has a small amount of salt in it. Also, you have to rinse the whole meat of the trout since it is already opened. Make sure that there is no residue left.

Step 9: Penetrate the trout’s ribs on one side.

Use your knife again. Insert it underneath the ribs. Go all the way to the backbone’s base. Slowly move the knife outward. Remember, focus on one side first. Be careful in this step because you might affect the soft fragile meat. To avoid this, keep your knife close to the bones as much as possible. As long as you can still see the knife, everything is fine. It is actually normal to scrape a little bit of meat. Just control your knife well to avoid ruining it completely.

Step 10: Move the knife to the tail.

Never forget to also remove the bones on the tail. Keep your knife moving until it reaches the anal fin. Again, the knife must stick to the bones, not the meat. Move the knife backward to completely cut the tail.

Step 11: Move the knife to the other side.

Repeat steps nine to 10 on the opposite side. We cannot stress this enough – keep the knife close to the ribs.

Step 12: Cut all the way down.

This time, take your knife out underneath the ribs. Position your knife that it will cover both sides of the trout. Cut the whole backbone. Pay attention to the sound of bones. If you manage to hear this, you are doing it right.

Step 13: Remove the trout’s frame.

Finally, it is time for you to completely remove the trout’s skeleton by hand. You now have a trout fillet. If you are apprehensive about using your hand, you can use a small sharp cutter to remove the bones along the center.

Step 14: Final check for unnoticed bones.

Just to make sure that no bone is left above the meat, check the whole fillet. Do it by softly running the knife’s tip over the meat. If you find a whole clump of tiny bones, you can thinly cut the whole portion of the meat that contains them. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep 100% of the meat, you can use pliers to pull out each bone. In fact, you may leave the tiny bones on the fillet. Cooking softens these bones.

Step 15: Fooled you! Cook the trout now!

Before you go practicing the 14 steps on how to fillet a trout, we want to share a very simple recipe that can be cooked outdoors. Barbecued Steelhead Trout sounds unique but still delicious. You can use this recipe for other types of trout. Steelhead trout is one colorful, tasty fish.

All you need are 2 pounds of trout fillet, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce. Preparation just takes a maximum of five minutes while cooking is approximately 15 minutes.

First, preheat the grill on medium heat. Put a small amount of oil on the grate. Then, put the fillet on a big piece of aluminum foil to keep the fish juicy, evenly cook it and have an easier cleanup later. For flavor, mix butter, lemon juice, paprika and cayenne pepper. Put the mixture all over the fillet with a brush. Cook the fillet on the grill until the meat flakes instantly when you touch it with a fork. Brush barbecue sauce all over the fillet. Lastly, cook the fish for two minutes more.


Learning how to fillet a trout seems to be complicated to hear, but it is really simple even for novice cooks. You just need to follow the steps, have a really sharp knife and avoid ruining the meat. Trout fillet is easier to eat, letting you enjoy the whole experience. Added with a delicious recipe, the fillet becomes even more irresistible.

Since the knife needs to be sharp at all times, especially when you fillet a trout, take a look at the best sharpeners for fillet knives. When it comes to cooking trout fillet, you can also check out the best outdoor grills and BBQ rubs for fish.