How to Fillet a Fish

How to Fillet a Fish

As we're all spending more time cooking at home, we're digging into an opportunity to try out new recipes and techniques in our kitchens – and hope you will join us. To us, staying healthy right now means going outdoors and maintaining our normal movement routine through walks and hikes and solo mini-adventures, finding inspiration in the cookbooks and books on our shelves, and cooking and eating nutritious food. If you're able to find fresh or frozen wild salmon in your grocery store, it's a great choice to support your immune system and keep your family nourished. If you have a fresh fish and aren't quite sure how to break it down – we made you a handy filleting guide below. We have always felt grateful that our parents taught us to fillet, process, can and freeze fish when we were kids; it has given us a sense of self-reliance that we are now grateful to share with our community. Follow the steps and enjoy mastering a new skill that you can use forever. 


  1. Rinse excess slime from the fish and lay it on its side. Find a sharp fillet knife.
  2. Cut from anal fins to gills along the belly.
  3. Make a cut right behind the gills from top to bottom, letting off before you cut through the backbone.
  4. Remove fillet by running your knife along spine, all the way to the tail.
  5. Once cut loose, lay fillet skin-side down and slip the knife under the rib bones that run along the belly side. Delicately cut them loose by following their angle.
  6. If you want to remove the skin, make a nick by the tail and then run your between the meat and skin while holding on to the skin at the tail end with your non-cutting hand.
  7. Run the back of your blade from nose to tail to reveal the pin bones. Pluck them out with pliers or tweezers.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 for fillet on the fish’s other side. 

To learn more about caring for your catch, simple and delicious recipes for salmon, cod, halibut and other wild Alaska seafood, you can pre-order our cookbook The Salmon Sisters: Fishing, Feasting and Living in Alaska, which will ship to your home April 7th. 

Nourish your family with powerful protein. We have frozen boxes of fish, caught responsibly by our fleet and family that ship directly to your door. These 10LB boxes take up about a cubic foot of space in your freezer, and are filled with perfect portions for easy meals. Shop frozen boxes here

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