How to Fillet a Trout

how to fillet a trout

Trout is a small but one of the fish with the tastiest meats. Nevertheless, of how you cook, smoke, fry, or bake it, the light pink meat is highly proteinous and has luscious fillets. What if you catch a trout and don’t know how to fillet a trout? How will you enjoy fillets of your fresh catch when you have no idea how to fillet a brook trout? 

a trout in fishing net

It would be best if you don’t worry about filleting because we are here with the best way to fillet trout and an amazing recipe to cook and enjoy trout fillets. Before we start the method for filleting trout, we wanted to know how do you clean a trout? Follow this guide step by step which explains an easy method for cleaning trout or any fish: how to clean a fish

How to Fillet a Lake Trout? (Method # 1)

When you fillet trout, no matter the method of filleting, always make sure to descale fish first. And in this method, you will need a cleaned fish with all its guts removed. Anyways, let’s get started, 

1. Cut Behind the Rib Bones

After you gut, scale, and remove the head of the trout, open it from the ribs with one hand. Using a sharp best fish fillet knife, make an incision exactly behind the rib bones with the knife’s tip. And cut trout meat up to its tail following the rib bones. 

2. Make the Cut Deeper

Start cutting the small incision deeper by moving the knife blade towards the dorsal fin. Also, ensure to stay as close to the rib bones as possible because you definitely don’t want to waste the savory meat. 

3. Detach the Fillet and Remove Dorsal Fin 

Once you reach the dorsal fin, detach the fillet from the rib bones. And remove the dorsal fin bones and belly fat by cutting out the side meat. 

4. Skin the Fillet (Optional) 

However, we prefer trout fillets with skin as they taste better, but you can remove the skin if you want. 

5. Remove Pin Bones

The thickest part of the fish fillet has very small pin bones (cartilages). Feel the bones on the meat with your fingers and make two cuts on both sides to remove them. Make sure the two cuts make a V and meet at the bottom of the fillet. Remove this meat by using your thumb and feel if there are any pin bones left in the fillet and remove them with the same technique. In trouts, the pin bones are actually very small cartilages, so you can also cut in between them to cut them in half. You will not even feel these cartilages when you eat trout fillets. 

6. Cut the Second Fillet

Flip the trout, and cut the second fillet by following the same steps. 

You can also click here to watch a video of filleting trout. 

YouTube video

Now that you know how to fillet a trout boneless, it seems that you and your family are going to enjoy trout fillet every weekend. This method is not specific for any species, and you can make brown trout fillets and all other trout fillets using this process. 

How to Fillet a Rainbow Trout? (Method #2)

Rainbow trout fillet is a delicious meal one can enjoy, and if you are worried about not knowing how to fillet a fish trout rainbow, why are we even here? We are here to vanish your problem and give you an easy peasy method for rainbow trout filleting in a few minutes. And the best thing about this procedure is that you don’t have to waste time gutting before you fillet rainbow trout. 

1. Cut Trout Fillet

After you descale fish, place it on a cutting board with its belly towards you. Now, cut right behind the trout’s gills and slide the whole knife blade along the ribs all the way to the tail. Stop before you separate the fillet from the tail. 

2. Remove the Skin 

Flip the fillet open through its tail in a manner that it sits exactly like a mirror image of the fish while still attached to the tail. Now, hold the skin near the tail, and run the knife along the skin to remove it from the fillet. 

3. Repeat the Steps 

Replicate all the steps on the other side of the fish as well to get two skinless trout fillets.

The above way is the easiest method for rainbow trout filleting we have ever found. You can also watch this video if you find any steps difficult to understand. 

YouTube video

How to Butterfly a Trout? 

For butterflying a trout:

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 of our method 1, and then use both steps on the other side of the fish as well.
  2. Slowly cut the meat attaching the ribs on both sides to remove the ribs from both fillets. While removing the ribs, ensure small and light knife strokes to avoid damaging the butterfly.
  3. Remove pin bones with the same technique as mentioned in method 1. 

Following this method will give you a beautiful butterfly trout fillet, and you can simply remove the dorsal fin to cut it into two fillets if you like. 

Recipe for Cooking Trout Filet 

Here are the ingredients you will need to pull out an excellent pan-fried trout fillet,

Trout Recipe: Ingredients 

Trout filletone
Saltto taste or 1 pinch 
Black Pepper1 pinch
Butter2 tsp
ThymeFew leaves
Cooking oil1 tbsp

How to Do It? 

  • Place the fillet on a plate with its inner side on top. Add oil, black pepper, and salt to season it, and make sure to flip it 2-3 times in the seasonings. 
  • Now, place it on a heated nonstick grill pan or frying pan with the inner side on the pan. And add butter and thyme, which will give a nice aroma to the trout fillet. 
  • Leave it there for 3-4 minutes on medium to low flame. 
  • Flip it once the inner side becomes golden brown and let it cook for a while. And you have a yummy trout fillet.

You can also stuff the same seasonings or any other spices of your choice in a butterfly fillet trout and put one side of the fillet on the other side. Wrap it in a tin foil and put it in the oven or grill for some 10-15 minutes, and you’ll be more pleased than ever with the results. 

Final Words

We think now you know it all, including how to fillet a trout (rainbow, brook, lake, brown trout fillets), boneless fillet, and butterfly it. And also that great pan-fried or baked trout fillet recipe. So, nothing can stop you from catching a trout; cut and enjoy it.

Happy filleting trout!

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