It’s hard to deny that spending the day fishing is a great way to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.  Once you make your big catch though, you’ve got to be able to clean it and take it home or no one will believe your fish story.  Follow these steps to clean your fish so you can enjoy your catch for dinner.

  1. Sharp knives are the most effective method for cleaning a fish.  As you work, take care to keep your hands and fingers clear of the knife.
  2. Lay the fish on its side and slice from the gills through the backbone with a sharp knife.
  3. Carefully snap the head back.  The entrails should come out with the movement of the head.
  4. Next, slice along the stomach from the gills to the vent.
  5. With the fish sliced open, scrape inside the fish along the backbone, removing the blood vein.
  6. Rinse the fish with cold water.
  7. Remove the dorsal fin by cutting along each side of the fish and pulling with pliers.
  8. Rise one more time.
  9. Try to avoid storing your fish for a long period of time.  For short term storage, make sure to drain melted ice water away from the fish, preventing it from accumulating inside the fish.
  10. After you cook the fish, you can easily remove the skin by peeling the skin away from the flesh.  The bones also come out the most easily after cooking.

Whether you’re a skilled fisherman or a weekend warrior, catching and cleaning your own dinner is a great way to spend an afternoon.  As you sit around the campfire, you’ll feel that deep sense of satisfaction knowing you made dinner from scratch.

Photo: USACE-Sacramento District

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