How to Fillet a Fish in the BWCA

     You fillet a fish in the Boundary Waters just like you would fillet one anywhere else.  Mike’s been working on our Voyageur website and has a great description on one of the pages and a pdf you can download.  If that isn’t enough help then you can check out this video from youtube!


Fish Cleaning and Care Tips

  • Just keep what you are going to eat. There is no way of keeping fillets in the wilderness.
  • Trying to keep fish alive overnight on a stringer or in a homemade "live well" is risky business. Snapping turtles, otters, and eagles very seldom leave an easy meal untouched.
  • Fish remains are to be buried away from camp in the BWCA and returned to "deep" water in the Quetico.
How to Fillet a Fish, Step 1 1. The first cut should be behind the gill and front fins. Angle the knife towards the fish’s head so you don’t waste part of the fillet. Cut down to the backbone without cutting through.
How to Fillet a Fish, Step 2 2. Feel for the hard backbone and cut along the backbone toward the tail. Be sure to cut through all the rib bones, but don’t cut through the backbone.
  3. Turn the fish over and follow steps 1 and 2. (Fillet the other side using the same method.)


How to Fillet a Fish, Step 4 4. Place the fillets skin side down. Starting at the tail, cut the meat off the skin.
How to Fillet a Fish, Step 5 5. Next you will need to cut the rib cage off of each fillet. Take your fillet knife and go under the rib bones from the top to the bottom, cutting rib bones free. You will want to keep the knife RIGHT UNDER the bones, so you can conserve most of the fillet.