How To Clean And Gut A Trout


While many anglers release trout back into the water after it is hooked, some choose to enjoy a delicious feast after reeling in a catch. If you prefer to do the latter, you must learn how to gut a trout and prepare it for any cooking method you prefer.

To prepare a delicious meal out of trout, you need to clean and gut it properly, which will help in getting rid of foul smell and taste. Otherwise, it will not only be disgusting, but there is also a risk of suffering from health problems.

If you want to learn how to clean a trout, we got you covered in the rest of this post. Read on and we’ll let you know how to do it like a pro.

Catching a Trout

Before we go to the specifics of how to clean a trout, let us start this article by giving you some tips on how to catch trout.

The first thing that you need to do is to figure out where you have to go fishing for trout. Look for rivers that are easily accessible from where you live. Take note of the local laws and regulations. Find a specific portion of the river with a converging current or patches of slow-moving deep water. You might also want to try trout fishing in streams.

Now that you know where to go, prepare the things that you need. Your fishing trip checklist should include rods, baits, lures, fishing line, and fishing rods and reels, among others that you will need.  Prepare the best trout lures and baits. We recommend live baits, including grasshoppers, crickets, and worms. Also, make sure that the fishing rod and reel is ideal for trout. The best trout spinning reel is also a must-have.

Prepare for Cleaning

After catching the trout, keep it in a fishing cooler during the rest of the fishing trip. This way, you can keep it fresh before cleaning and gutting.

Especially for novice anglers with a soft heart for fish, one of the most important is to kill the fish in the most humane way possible. Put the fish in a bowl filled with fresh water from the river. The goal is to keep it alive until you are ready to gut it.

Gather the tools that you will need to complete the task. At the most basic, you will need a chopping board, fishing knives, and water.

You need to have a clean space to work to avoid contaminating the fish. You also need access to clean water. Plus, you need to plan what to do when it is time to throw the waste after gutting the trout.

Clean the trout as soon as possible after catching it. Otherwise, there is a risk of bacterial growth, which attacks the internal organs. This can cause the fish to have an unpleasant taste.

How to Clean a Trout

As noted above, you need to start by killing the fish in the most humane way possible. To do this, lay the trout flat on the chopping board while holding the fish in its tail. Using a sharp knife, slice right behind the gills and cut the head abruptly. Be as gentle as possible to avoid torturing the trout.

After killing the trout, the next thing you need to do is to descale it. The best way to do this is to use a butter knife. Hold the fish firmly in its tail. Use the blunt end of the butter knife. Scrape in a back and forth motion. Do this slowly so that the scales won’t end up flying everywhere. Keep on doing the same motion until the scales are all removed. Wash the fish after.

How to Gut a Trout

Now that you know how to clean a trout, the next thing to learn is gutting it the right way. After cleaning the outer surface of the trout, you are now all set for gutting. Learning how to gut a fish, including trout, is crucial so that you can enjoy the best flavor. The internal organs can impart an undesirable taste and odor on the fish, so you have to get rid of it.

Open the fish with a sharp knife. You can use a fillet knife. While the fish is laid flat on the chopping board, hold it with your non-dominant hand. Use your dominant hand to open the fish starting on the bottom part just a bit above the tail. Cut towards the upper part until you reach the gills.

At this point, the fish is already open, so you can remove the guts using your hand. Take out the internal organs of the fish, including the heart and the intestines. You can pull it out manually using only your hand or you can also use a spoon to scoop it out. Do this gently to avoid damaging the flesh. Also, make sure that the organs will not break as you remove them to prevent the disease from spreading.

Aside from the organs, you also have to get rid of the gills. Otherwise, the fish will easily spoil and will also have a bitter flavor. Open the flap to remove the gills. You can use a knife or scissors.

The next part that you have to remove is the spine, especially if you plan to fillet the trout. It is the blood-red line that you can trace from the head of the trout all the way to its tail. Using your thumb or your spoon, you can easily scrape off the spine. This is also the chance to get rid of any remaining gut on the fish.

Now that you have removed the internal organs of the trout, the next thing to do is to wash it using clean water and cook immediately. Otherwise, make sure that it is iced and handled properly so that it won’t spoil.

Tips and Tricks


Before we end this post about how to gut a trout, allow us to leave you with practical tips that will make the task a lot easier.

If you find it gross to handle the internal organs of the fish, it is best to wear rubber gloves. They are different from traditional fishing gloves. These gloves are designed to easily hold the fish and remove the gut.

Cook the fish right away once you are done gutting or cleaning. Fish, including trout, is best enjoyed when it is still fresh. Especially when you are out in the wild and you have no freezer, cooking it immediately prevents the fish from spoiling.

Make sure to also properly throw everything you have earlier removed. They are not only stinky, but they can also attract animals, which is one thing that you would not want, especially when you are camping. Put the organs in a Ziploc and bring it out of the campsite. You also have the option to bury it deep into the ground.

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Learning how to clean a trout is important for novice anglers. By following the steps above, you will find it easy to get rid of the internal organs and make the fish ready for a feast. Regardless of the way you intend to cook the fish, proper cleaning and gutting are necessary to enjoy its best flavor!

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!