How to Clean a Trout in 3 Easy Steps

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How to Clean a Trout, Cleaning a trout is something you can master easily, and it’s a key step before you can savor this tasty fish. Trout can be made into many delightful dishes, but first, it needs a good clean to make sure it’s safe to eat.

Here’s what you’ll need for this task:

  • A sharp knife
  • A cutting board
  • A bowl
  • A paper towel

Let’s get started with the cleaning process. First things first, wash the trout well under cold running water. Then, place the trout on its side on your cutting board. With your knife, make a cut down the backbone from the head to the tail. After slicing through, take off the head and tail. Next, turn the trout over and slice open the belly from the gills down to where the tail used to be. Open up the trout and take out all the insides.

Give the trout another good rinse under cold water and then dry it off with a paper towel. Now, your trout is ready to be cooked in whatever way you like!

Equipment Needed

For cleaning a trout, you’ll need:

  • A sharp knife
  • A cutting board
  • Kitchen shears
  • A bowl or sink to catch the insides

How to Fillet a Trout

Filletting a trout is handy, especially if you prefer your fish without bones. You’ll need a sharp knife, a cutting board, and a bowl.

  1. Start by washing the trout with cold water.
  2. Place it on the cutting board on its side.
  3. Cut along the backbone from the head to the tail.
  4. Flip the trout and repeat the cut on the other side.
  5. Now, carefully cut around the ribs without slicing into the meat.
  6. Peel the fillet away from the ribs and remove it.
  7. Do the same on the other side to get the second fillet.
  8. Rinse the fillets and pat them dry with paper towels.

You can keep the fillets in the fridge for up to three days or freeze them for three months.

How to Smoke a Trout

Smoking trout adds a wonderful flavor. You’ll need:

  • A fresh trout
  • Smoking brine
  • A smoker
  • Wood chips

First, clean the trout and remove the scales. Mix up a brine with a gallon of water, a cup of salt, a cup of brown sugar, and a tablespoon of liquid smoke. Soak the trout in this brine for 6-8 hours. Heat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and place the trout inside. Smoke for 2-3 hours until the trout is cooked through. You can enjoy it right away or keep it in the fridge for later.

If you don’t have a smoker, you can use an oven or grill to smoke the trout, just keep the temperature and cooking time the same. Serve your smoked trout with your favorite sides for a delicious meal.

How to Cook a Trout

Trout is versatile and can be cooked in many ways. Here are some tips:

  • Select a fresh trout. Look for clear eyes and springy flesh.
  • Prepare the trout. Rinse it and pat it dry. If filleting, remove the head and tail.
  • Season the trout. Use salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Marinating in oil and herbs is also a great option.
  • Cooking methods. You can fry, bake, grill, or smoke trout.

Pan-fried Trout

Heat oil in a pan, season the trout, and cook each side for 5-7 minutes until done.

Baked Trout

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, season the trout, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Grilled Trout

Heat your grill, season the trout, brush with oil, and grill each side for 5-7 minutes.

Smoked Trout

Brine the trout, then smoke it at a low temperature for 2-3 hours.

Serve your cooked trout with vegetables, rice, or potatoes and add a sauce like tartar or lemon butter for extra flavor.

How to Store a Trout

Keep trout in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. In the fridge, place it on a plate covered with plastic wrap. For freezing, wrap tightly in plastic and put it in a freezer bag. Make sure to thaw it thoroughly before cooking, either in the fridge overnight or under cold running water.


Q: What’s the best way to clean a trout?
A: Scale, gut, and fillet. Use a knife to remove scales, then cut open the belly to take out the insides. Fillet by cutting along the backbone.

Q: What tools are needed?
A: A sharp knife, cutting board, and kitchen shears.

Q: How long does cleaning take?
A: About 10-15 minutes.

Q: Can I eat the skin?
A: Yes, but it’s often removed because it can be tough.

Q: How do I store a cleaned trout?
A: In the fridge for up to 3 days or freezer for 3 months.

Q: How do I cook a trout?
A: Bake, grill, fry, or poach. Choose your favorite method!


Cleaning a trout is straightforward and quick. This guide helps you prepare a trout from scaling to filleting, ensuring you have a clean, delicious fillet ready for cooking. Whether you prefer your trout smoked, fried, baked, or grilled, these tips will help you make a tasty dish to enjoy.

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