Any beginner fisherman will jump with joy when they go trout fishing. They can be one of the most abundant fish in stock to catch in many states and areas all across the globe.
You can be sat out on a lake and learning how to use fish finder, yet catch too many, and they can spoil if you keep too many.
However, as with any fish, the quicker you can remove the intestines and get the fish on ice, the better it is.
Even if you don’t have ice, you do need to know how to gut and clean a fish to stop the taste becoming too fishy.
It can be easy to learn how to fish, how to gut fish, or how to filet a trout is necessary and not much harder to do with useful instructions.
Here you can learn all you need to know about what to do with fresh caught trout, and preparing trout to cook.
Tools to Clean, Gut and Fillet Trout
One tool you may wish to get is a skinning board. The board holds a fish firmly from the tail while skinning and descaling using a clip.
Try to keep fresh caught trout alive until ready to gut and clean, or put it on ice or cook it.
A sharp knife is necessary. Any good filleting knife will be razor sharp and hold its edge nicely.
More folks are injured using dull knives as they use lots of extra force when working on the fish. A high-quality fillet knife will fillet any fish with little effort.
A pot of very cold water or ice water to put the fillets in helps to keep fish fresh. If fish warm, it changes the flesh texture and affects the taste.
If saving fillets for later, a good freezer bag is an ideal way to keep them. Place the fillets in the freezer bag and top off with water.
Make sure the water covers the fish. Doing this helps stop freezer burn and keeps fish tasting fresher.
When ready to cook the fillets, place the entire bag in cold water. Doing this will help thaw the fish slower while maintaining freshness.
How to Gut a Trout
Here are the simple steps of what to do with your caught trout. You will see how easy cleaning trout is, and how to fillet a trout when you are ready to cook it.
- Use your board, or grab the trout using its tail. Scrape firmly from the tail toward the head a few times on both sides using a spoon or the back of your knife until you remove all the scales.
- Second, you need to remove the head. Cut the head off at a slight angle behind the gill. It may take some force to slice through the backbone. You can remove the lower front fin using this one cut.
- Turn the fish onto its back, so its belly facing up. You can see its waste hole a little above its tail fin.
- Start your knife cut by inserting the tip in the hole and slice the belly toward where the head used to be.
- Spread the belly, and you will reveal the innards. Grab these and pull them with your hand, as they remove quickly.
- When removed, you can see a membrane covering the blood vein that runs up the backbone. Take your knife and cut the membrane open.
- Using your thumb, scrape out the blood until it’s clean and rinse in water.
- The first fillet cut is along the backbone. Put the trout on its side and its belly pointing away from you. Start a knife cut on the top of the backbone where you removed the head.
- Insert your blade in the groove and cut down the length of the fish, and above the backbone. You should now have a clean, meaty fillet.
- Flip over and do the same for the other side.
- Remove the bones. Place fillets with the skin facing down and pluck out every pin bone you see. Scrape the flesh with a knife to expose any bones, which are lodged deep.
- Now your trout is filleted and deboned; it takes one more cut if you want to remove the skin.
- Hold the tail end and with your filleting knife, cut into the flesh at an angle until it comes to the outer layer of skin.
- Run your knife down the bottom of the fillet as you pull gently in the other direction with the skin.
- Rinse the trout to remove any scales or small bones you may miss.
How to Prepare Trout
If you have a rainbow trout that is too small to fillet or you want to pan-fry, there is no reason to remove the skin.
Clean trout inside and out. Prepare to cook by tossing some salt and pepper inside the fish
Pat dry the fish skin (rolling in seasoned flour is optional)
Place in a frying pan with a bit of oil on medium heat, or campfire for about 4-6 minutes on each side. The fish should flake with a fork when cooked.
Remove Fish Smell
Once you have prepped your fish, you may be wondering how to get fish smell off hands. It
is easy if you have some lemon or vinegar around.
If not, you can quickly run your hands on some stainless steel surfaces for approximately one or two minutes. These metals contain molecules that help remove the smell.
You can find one other way of cooking your fish, and that is smoked trout. You follow some of the cleaning methods, yet the preparation is very different, but it is worth checking out if you can catch many fish. Either that or you can skip to primary cleaning above and stick to pan cooking.