This is an easy way to clean a fish without dulling your knife because you never cut through a bone. I have a spoon black-taped to the handle for easy cleaning of the blood line and I've cleaned up to a 100 in a day, so one has to be fast. You don't need a fillet knife, just one that is strong and sharp!
Most times I clean the fish down at the river but if Hubby is checking the net he'll bring them home for me to do.
My 9 year old daughter, Sydney, helped take these pictures.
So let's get started:
Start with one sockeye salmon. Most fish we get are quite silver coloured but it's getting to the end of the season so we start to see a few red ones, this has no effect on the quality of the fish until much later in the season. In this picture you can also see marks from our gill net.
Cut around the tail, ensuring all skin is cut, do not cut the bone! I like to use the tail as a "handle" after cutting, especially if I'm down at the river dipping the fish in the water.
Lift the fin and angle your knife to cut towards the head, stop cutting when you hit the bone.
Flip the fish over and angle your knife to cut towards the head on the other side. Make sure all the skin is cut (this is important), you might have to flip the fish upright and cut down, but do not cut the bone itself.
Cut from the anal opening to the head of the fish.
Firmly grasp the head, pull down towards you and along the belly. This is where you snap the neck bone.
The guts will come out attached with the head in one swift pull, leaving everything clean inside. Doing it this way you never have to touch the guts.
Cut along the inside to reveal the blood line.
This is why I have the spoon taped to the end of my knife, you simply flip the knife and scoop out the blood.
Firmly grasp the tail and it should easily snap off, as long as there is no skin attached.
Hose everything off.
Bagged and ready for the freezer :) Some people cut off all the fins but I don't, I prefer to cut them off later. If I don't plan on using the fish within a year I will wrap in freezer paper and then bag them, but I usually use most of them up before next fishing season.
Anyone interested in how to fillet a fish?