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How to Fillet a Walleye

How to Fillet a Walleye Fish Like a Professional

On your fishing trip you managed to catch a walleye, but you aren't sure about filleting it? Well, this article will give you all the information that you need about filleting the fish.
Tulika Nair
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
Young Fisherman Fishing
If you are fond of freshwater fish, then you would have definitely eaten the walleye at some point of time or the other. A freshwater fish that is native to Canada and the northern part of the United States, it is often known as the yellow walleye or the yellow pike. Most people who are fond of fish often consider the walleye one of the most delicious amongst freshwater fish. These fish are generally caught at night. In order to prepare a walleye, you need to be able to clean and fillet it well and in this article, we tell you exactly that.
Filleting a Walleye
In order to fillet a walleye you need to know what involves a filleting a fish. Fillets of fish are obtained after you slice the fish in such a manner that it is parallel to the spine. Fillets do not have any part of the fish's backbone but has less flesh than a fish steak. When you fillet a fish, the technique differs slightly according to the size of the fish. For a large fish for example, there is absolutely no need for you to cut out the head but for tinier fish you will need to remove the head of the fish.
If you need to fillet a walleye, there are several simple steps that you need to follow which are given below.
  • The task of filleting a fish is such that it requires you to gain mastery over the art. You need to learn how to handle the knife well. It is also a good idea to use a knife that cuts the flesh of the fish smoothly and therefore, a sharp knife is important. To start filleting a walleye, you need to use a sharp knife that needs to be placed in such a manner that it is behind the fin of the fish with the blade pointing downwards.
  • Once you have done this, you need to make a straight cut that reaches the backbone without making a cut through it.
  • Next you need to turn your knife so that it points sideways and the blade is pointed towards the tail.
  • Now make a cut straight down towards the tail, along the backbone. There may be thin bones along the way that you can take out later.
  • This way you would have managed to make a fillet of the fish. You will now need to take out the rib cage of the fish.
  • In order to take out the rib cage, you need to put the blade at its edge and then slice along it. Try to keep the knife as close to the rib cage as possible so that you do not end up slicing the fish meat. In order to ensure that the process is smooth, you will need to put pressure on the knife that is strong yet soft. Take your time with this process of removing the rib cage as it needs to be dealt with patiently. There is no point hurrying the process.
  • Next point the blade of the knife downwards on the other side of the rib cage and slice it around the whole length of the rib cage. Once you have done this you can just pull out the rib cage.
  • Next you need to separate the flesh of the fillet from the skin. In order to do this you need to hold the thin end of the flesh piece which is generally the tail and then make a cut along the skin.
  • Next cut it straight along the skin keeping the knife close to the skin so that you are scrapping it completely. Move the knife along the length of the flesh so that you are removing the skin. If you need to transport the fillet, it may be a good idea to keep the skin on.
  • There may still be a row of bones to cut out of the fillet. In some fish, these bones will dissolve when you cook them but in others you will need to cut through the fillet on either side and take out the bones. These bones are known as the Y-bones. You will need to make a cut on the side of these bones which you should be able to feel through the flesh. The cut that you will need to make on the fillet should be about 1/3rd the size of the fillet. You will need to make another cut along the center line. This way you should be able to remove the meat that has the Y-bones attached.
This is the simple process that you need to master. Once you have filleted the fish, you will need to clean them. If you want to ensure that the fish does not have one of those strong tastes, then it may be a good idea to cut out any kind of dark meat that is attached. Now that you know the process of filleting a walleye, you should have no problem with cooking this type of fish.