How to Clean, Gut, and Fillet a Fish

Cleaning fish

Fishing has several health benefits that include improved social bonding, helps one to lose weight, helps one to exercise, allows one to relax, improves dexterity and helps to improve one’s self esteem. With all this benefits, the end goal of fishing is to catch a fish. This means that you will spend the better part of the day wading in rivers, setting lures, casting the line and finally reeling in the catch.

Once you have caught some fish, the hard part comes. This means that you will need to clean, gut and fillet the fish before cooking.

Below are steps of how to clean, gut and fillet a fish.

What you will need

  1. Protective clothing
  2. A bucket
  3. A scaling tool
  4. A fillet knife
  5. A cooler of ice
  6. A clean platter
  7. Newspaper



The most important after fishing is cleaning the fish. You need to do this right after you have caught the fish. If you would like to continue fishing for a while, you need to have a bucket of water or ice and you can place your fish inside.

It is important to know that the process of cleaning a fish is usually messy and you need to do it outdoors. Before starting ensure that you have worn the protective clothing. Start by rinsing the slime of the fish as best as you can. You need to hold the fish firmly since it’s slippery.

Once you have finished rinsing off the slime off the fish, you can dry the fish using paper towels. Scale the fish on both sides before proceeding to gut it.

Gutting the fish


In order to start, you need to set the fish on its side and place your non dominant hand flat on the top. Slowly drive thefillet tool into the fish anus and slowly move the slicing tool upto the end of the lower jaw.

Remember, you don’t have to plunge the knife too deep into the fish as it could tear the intestines.

Proceed to extend the carcass apart and then remove the fish entrails out. Detach the gill filaments from the head. Scoop the liver, kidney, the black lining and other organs using a spoon. Rinse the fish well.

Fillet the fish


Place the fish with the dorsal fin facing you. Use thefillet tool to cut behind the gills and pectoral fins. Cut through upto the spine but do not sever it. Now cut along the back bone of the fish with your knife. This will create a flap that extends from the fish’s head to the tail.

Lift the flap and slice the fish until the flap is completely removed. Remember to stay close to the backbone as this will help to maximize the amount of meat. Its okay to cut through the ribcage as you can remove the bones later.

Place the fillets on the table with the skin facing the table. Cut between the flesh and the skin in order to remove the skin, Finally rinse the fillet with cold water and dry it with a paper towel.

In conclusion, fishing is a good form of exercise that is known to have many health benefits to the human body. After you have caught the fish, you need to clean it, gut it and finally fillet it. Depending on the fish, you will be able

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