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How to Clean & Gut a Trout

Updated April 17, 2017

Trout is a freshwater fish with a taste best described as mild, and a texture similar to that of salmon. Trout do not have scales and their skeletons are very compact which makes them fast to gut and clean. Smoking or baking trout are both popular cooking methods. As a result of its natural habitat in colder water temperatures, its health benefits are greater, featuring higher quantities of Omega-3 fatty acids which are proven to reduce the chances of heart attacks and strokes by up to 40% in middle-aged men, according to a study by the American Heart Association.

Lay the trout on a flat surface.

Cut the length of the trout starting from its anus, along its belly, until you reach its throat, using your knife. Cutting too deeply will result in a lot of excess bleeding.

Slice through the soft tissue between the gills and collarbone to remove its head. You can flip the trout over and cut from the other side to complete the head removal if necessary. Drop the trout head in your bucket.

Grasp the entrails once you have removed the head and pull them out, disposing of them in your bucket.

Clean the bloodline that runs straight down the backbone of the fish using your finger. The blood will greatly affect the taste of the fish if it's not removed before cooking.

Wash the fillet thoroughly in clean tap water or a saltwater mixture to remove any excess guts or blood.

Warning

If catching fresh trout yourself, there are strict quotas on the amount you are allowed to catch at any time. Be sure to consult your state or provincial fishing guidelines often, especially at the beginning of each fishing season, to ensure you're in compliance with the law.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Bucket
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About the Author

Michael Faye garnered his first writing credit in the upcoming television documentary series, "Greatest Tank Battles." He is entering his fourth year of full-time television research, having worked on several documentary series for History Television, Discovery International, and a full-length feature examining independent music in the current digital music landscape. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto's professional writing and communications program.