To Clean a Fish

Last week, we talked about how to get started on catching fish. Let’s pick up from there and pretend that you’ve successfully acquired a fishing license, the appropriate gear, and managed to catch yourself an edible, healthy specimen of fish of sufficient size to keep and eat. Most of us buy fish in the market already skinned, deboned, and most certainly gutted. Fish in the wild need a little extra prep work, and Take Me Fishing has an extensive set of step-by-step instructions for prepping fish in multiple ways.

Cleaning the Fish
Cleaning the Fish / Jason Ippolito / CC BY 2.0

Equipment: A good, sharp fillet knife is essential. If you’re camping, be prepared to dispose of waste properly. Your campground may have guidelines and a system in place, but if not, be mindful that rotting fish guts can attract wild animals and will begin to smell fairly quickly.

Safety: Before you decide to start gutting your fish, make sure you know what the state regulations and recommendations are for eating your fish. Some fish that are perfectly safe in one state may contain high concentrations of heavy metals in another. You’ll also want to know what kind of bones the fish has so you can make sure none end up down your gullet.