Tips on Filleting Your Fish

Filleting means getting the meat of the fish without the bones. Larger fish, like largemouth bass, northern pike, salmon and walleye are usually filleted. A filleted fish has its skin and all of its bones removed before cooking. Scaling isn’t necessary.

Fillet knives have a long, thin blade that’s very sharp and specifically designed for filleting fish. To work properly, they must be really, really sharp. If you have any slime on your hands or the fillet knife handle, wash it off to prevent slipping.

You can also wear metal-mesh fish-cleaning gloves to protect your hands.

1. Lay the fish on its side on a flat surface.

2. Cut the fish behind its gills and pectoral fin down to, but not through, the backbone.

3. Without removing the knife, turn the blade and cut through the ribs toward the tail using the fish’s backbone to guide you.

4. Turn the fish over and repeat the steps.

5. Insert the knife blade close to the rib bones and slice away the entire rib section of each fillet.

6. With the skin side down, insert the knife blade about a 1/2-inch from the tail, gripping firmly and put the blade between the skin and the meat at an angle.

7. Using a little pressure and a sawing motion, cut against, but not through, the skin.

8. Remove the fillets from the skin.

9. Wash each fillet in cold water.

10. Pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. The fillets are ready to cook or freeze.