Bone-free smoked trout/kokanee/cohojack fillets

I hate picking bones out of smoked trout/kokanne/cohojack fillets and have been working on my process. My approach to getting essentially bone-free fillets is to use a 2 stage smoking process, with a bone removal step in the middle:

Step 1: catch a bunch of fish you want to smoke (in this example, a mess of searun cutthroats between 12" and 19").
Step 2: clean, remove head and tail, and in this example, freeze as you catch them.
Step 3: thaw and *key item*: use sharp scissors to cut the skin along the entire top and the bottom in front of the tail. Then brine as usual. (mine got 5 hours in basic brine: 1/2c salt + 1/4c brown sugar per quart of water plus some seasonings).
Step 4: dry and place on smoker racks, I like to use toothpicks to hole the cavity open.


Step 5: 1st smoking- 3 hours at 140F, two loads of apple/alder chips.


Step 6: remove each fish and peel away the backbone along with all the bones, including those annoying pin bones Cutting the skin previously is a key item to this step:


Step 7: 2nd smoking: 150F and 2 more loads of apple/alder over the next 2 hours. I then paint each fillet with Thai Sweet Chili sauce and give them 1 more hour at 150F before starting to pull the fillets (smallest first...). enjoy or vacuum seal and freeze.


cheers, roger


Well-known member
Right on, good info there buddy. I tried this method after your advice and it worked great. I dig the toothpicks, i'll try that next time.


Active member
Great method. Will try it if I can get a 30 fish day at Odell. LOL
When I lived in Gold beach I would keep the backbone minus the head and any other ones that people would be cleaning, chop them into 4'' pieces and smoke them up. Amazing how much meat people leave on a carcass including the belly.


Active member
Gonna have to give this a try.
One of the reasons I seldom fish trout other than to C&R is because the only way I think trout is edible is when it's smoked.
I seldom do it because the bony buggers are more trouble to pick the pin bones out of than they are worth.


New member
I was trying to decide where to go fishing today, and this recipe helped me decide to go chase some trout.
I smoke 90% of the trout I catch, and I'm always looking to try something new.

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