Trout is a delicious fish and a favorite among many anglers but, gutting a trout can be a bit intimidating, especially if you're new to the process. With a little know-how and practice, cleaning trout can become second nature. In this blog post, we'll go over the steps for cleaning a trout, so you can enjoy this tasty fish in no time.

how to clean a trout


  1. Do the butchering on a cutting board or other flat surface. Begin by using a sharp fillet knife or a sharp small-blade pocket knife. Insert the point of the knife into the anus of the trout.
  2. Cut a shallow, straight line slit up the center of the trout's belly, just through the skin is deep enough. Cleaning the trout will be much easier if you can avoid cutting into the internal organs.
  3. Continue your cut up to the gill line. You’ll see a V shape formed by the fish’s jaws. Stop cutting before the V.
  4. Insert a finger into the fish's mouth. Careful, some species have sharp little teeth and others have teeth on their tongue called hyoid teeth! You won’t get any serious injury from these, but they can be annoying. Press down on the tongue to extend the V-shaped area on the bottom side of the fish's lower jaw. Use your knife to cut through the thin skin on each side of the jaw. Now insert your knife through the openings perpendicular to the fish’s body and move the knife forward cutting the tongue free.
  5. Hold the lower jaw of the trout in one hand, and with the other hand, grasp the freed tongue tab, pulling it down to remove the entire gill structure and entrails in one pull.
  6. As you pull down, the entire gill structure and entrails will come out with one pull. This method retains the trout's head.
  7. Use your thumbnail to run up the length of the backbone to remove the remaining dark-colored blood sac.
  8. Wipe the trout with paper towels or rinse it in water, making sure to pat it dry with paper towels.
  9. Place the cleaned trout in a creel or cooler. Gallon zip lock bags are also very useful.

Enjoy your catch back at camp using your favorite recipe!

how to clean a trout

When To Clean Your Catch

In order to fully appreciate the delicious taste of freshly caught trout, it is crucial to ensure that they are handled and prepared with care so as to prevent any spoilage or waste. To achieve this, it is advisable to dress the fish right at the location where they are caught, whether it be a stream, lake, or river. By acting promptly, you will be rewarded with the freshest and most satisfying meal possible.

As luck would have it, trout are among the easiest fish to clean, making this process all the more convenient. It is worth noting that trout are particularly susceptible to deterioration during the warmer months typically associated with fishing season, with bacterial growth and the fish's own digestive enzymes being the primary cause of decay. Thus, to enjoy the true essence of this exceptional fish, cleaning fish with the care and attention it deserves is essential.

how to clean a trout

Ready For The Frying Pan!

Cleaning trout may seem like a daunting task, but with a little practice and patience, anyone can do it. By following these steps, you'll be able to clean a trout like a pro and enjoy delicious, fresh trout that is ready for cooking. Remember to always handle your fish carefully and dispose of any scraps properly. Trout makes a meal taste as good as they are beautiful to look at. Happy fishing and cooking!

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Q: What's the best way to ensure I don't puncture the internal organs while gutting a trout? A: Use a sharp knife and make a shallow initial cut. Gently insert the knife tip into the belly and slice with a controlled motion. Keep the blade pointed upwards and avoid applying too much pressure.

Q: Can I eat the skin of the trout? A: Yes, trout skin is edible and can be quite tasty when cooked until crispy. However, it's a matter of personal preference, and some may choose to remove the skin before cooking.

Q: How long can I store a cleaned trout in the refrigerator? A: A clean trout can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Ensure it's wrapped tightly or kept in a sealed container to maintain freshness. If you need to store it longer, consider freezing the trout.

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