For several years now I have wanted to learn how to fillet a Rainbow trout. Three or four years ago my wife and I decided to bring back the majority of the trout that we caught on our annual eastern Sierra camping and fishing trip.
So we took our Food Saver and vacuum packed many of our ‘keepers’. By the time we got home our freezer was just jammed full of trout and I remember frequently thinking that there had to be a better way.
Nothing Like Good Neighbors…
Even then I had a ‘How to Fillet Fish’ video on my laptop but when trying to follow it I continually annihilated every single trout I attempted to fillet. However, this year things turned for the better.
While camping in Paha campground on Robinson Creek we met our neighbors Rod and Marianne Bunn. One afternoon, Patty had caught a nice 4 lb rainbow and Rod was gracious enough to weigh it for us. When I mentioned wondering about how to fillet a trout, Rod volunteered to show us. The following video captured that experience.
Nothing Like a Simple Video…
As you can see in the video, the first thing that you really need to do is make sure that your knife is extremely sharp. Rod starts out by making a big cut right behind the gill and then turns in around 90 degrees. The key thing that you’re hoping here is that you’ll feel the spine or the backbones under your blade and you’ll continue to cut along those bones until you’re an inch or so from the tail.
At this point you will pick up the filleted meat and pull it up and over laying the skin side down flat on your surface. And now you’ll see that Rod makes a little cut down by the tail and then slides the knife along the skin towards the end of the fillet nicely separating the skin from the meat. This leaves you a very nice boneless, skinless piece of trout. Now you simply want to flip the trout over and repeat the process. Personally, I had to watch this video 5 or 6 times to really get it all ingrained in my brain.
Nothing Like a Boneless, Skinless Trout Fillet…
By the time we came home we had some very nice fillets in the freezer taking up a fraction of the space we once needed after cleaning the trout and vacuum packing our ‘keepers’!
One of the things that I really appreciated about Rod’s method of filleting a trout was the fact that no matter how bad my mistakes were along the path of learning, I was always left with a pretty decent piece of meat. Now, my first fillets weren’t always pretty but they definitely were edible.
Another thing that I do want to mention is that with Rod’s method of filleting rainbow trout, I got the hang of separating the meat from the skin almost immediately and that was a great feeling to know!
Hopefully this post and video with some ‘How to Fillet Fish’ instructions were simple enough to get ya’ filleting your next trout and enjoying some nice boneless, skinless fillets. If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please leave me a comment or contact me!
By R.C. Stude