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Cleaning /gutting trout
so i have never cleaned, gutted, or scaled a fish before. im gonna go out a lot this year and will need some tips on doing that with trout. i have seen a few videos on youtube so i think i will learn fast. any tips you can offer?
trout are among the easiest fish to gut/clean. all you really need is a knife, or a pair of scissors if you want to be on the safe side. just cut up from the anus to the gills and rip everything out (including the gills). don't really need to scale trout, since their scales are really small anyways. as for the solidified blood along the spine, scraping it off with the thumb/thumbnail under running water seems to work just fine for me.
I use a process similar to what m_vang suggest. I start by cutting off there head. That removes all the gills. Next I run my knife forward from the anus to the front of the fish and removes whats left of the guts. Then either my thum nail or sometimes a spoon to remove the blood line from the spine. Takes less than a minut. The trick is to have fresh runnuing water to keep the slim down to a minimum. Fish cleaning station are great for this.
I had a fishing buddy show me how to skin a trout and once you do that you will never want to eat them any other way! Cleaning the fish is quite simple and so is skinning them and well worth the little time and effort it takes.
I just use some kitchen shears and a spoon instead of my thumb. I tend to wear latex or nitrile gloves while cleaning the fish.
I cut from the anus to the gills, and pull everything out. I cut off the pectoral fins on a diagonal pointed towards the gills, and then I cut off the head and gills.
Don't throw away the heads, guts and fins. Stuff them in a freezer bag and hide them at the back of your freezer. They are quite useful as crab/crayfish bait, or, if you are a chef, the heads and fins make for good stock.
On a large enough fish, I leave the head on, as there is quite a bunch of meat in the head of a fish.
Same advice as before - if you want to remove the scales, and have a hose, just point the fish away from you and hit them with a few blasts of water - the scales are so loose that they'll basically just wash off. I just grab the fish by the head, stuff my thumb in the gillplate, and scrape the side of the fish with the outside edge of my kitchen shears.
If you really want to get technical, and use a world class tool that would be overkill for trout
1. get a bottle cap.
2. get a small nail
3. get a hammer
4. get a stick or a dowel or some such.
now, take the nail and hammer and punch a hole through the approximate center of the bottle cap from the inside of the cap. Next, take the nail and hammer, and hammer the nail through the hole that you just made in the bottle cap, from the inside. Using the nail/bottlecap combo, mark the approximate center of one side of one end of the stick. using this mark as a guide, nail the bottlecap to the stick, with the edges facing outward.
All of the advice given to you in those replys are all valid. I think, however, skinning the fish in the cleaning stage is not really necessary because it comes right off after cooking. As a first time fish cleaner you might ask yourself have I cleaned it good enough? The best answer I can give you for that question is: Would you eat it?
Skinning the Trout is not necessary at the cleaning stage or at all and I don't mind the taste of the skin. You can remove the skin after cooking, but you can also remove most of the fishy taste by removing the skin before you cook it. This helps with the people who do not care for or like a real strong fish taste. Take a skinned fish and roll it in some Pride of the West and it don't get much better than that.