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How to Descale Trout

Trout are generally found in clear lakes and streams. After you catch a trout, it needs to be cleaned properly before you can consume it. Part of the cleaning process involves removing the scales from the fish. Scales do not need removed from a trout, but many people prefer to remove them due to the texture. Removing the scales from the trout may seem complicated, but the scales slide off the fish easily. Once you remove the scales, you can continue to clean and gut the fish so you can cook it.

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  1. Rinse the trout under cool running water.

  2. Place the trout on a cutting board. Hold the head or tail end with one hand to keep the fish in place.

  3. Drag the dull side of a knife from the tail to the gills. Notice the clear scales brush off onto the knife.

  4. Return the dull knife back to the tail. Continue to run the knife down the length of the trout until you remove all the scales from all sides of the trout.

  5. Rinse the fish under cold water to remove any excess scales.

  6. Tip

    Purchase a fish scaler tool if you plan to clean many fish. The tool makes the process easier and it protects your fingers from sharp fins.


    Avoid using a sharp knife because you may remove part of the fish flesh with the scales. Place a sink trap into the drain to catch the scales because the scales may clog the drain.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Knife

About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.

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