How to Clean a Fish


Fish can be an enjoyable addition to your diet, but they must be thoroughly cleaned before cooking.

Begin by cutting the fish’s throat and extracting its gills and entrails. Next, rinse the cut flesh thoroughly in cold water to remove blood and bacteria.

Next, use a sharp knife or fish scaler to descale the fish. Run the blade or tool from tail to head against the scales, gently scraping each one away.


Gutting is removing fish’s internal organs and blood to preserve freshness, preventing these substances from contaminating meat when cooking or storing it, and ensuring the heart has no contaminants during this period.

Begin by placing the fish flat on a table or cutting board. Insert the tip of your knife into the anus (located near the stomach of most fish). Work your way upward along its belly, quickly cutting away any remaining flesh.

Once you reach the gill plate, slice through the fish’s underside at an angle to extract its contents. This ensures you keep the gill plate intact when separating it from the flesh.

Next, locate the anus and make a “V” or notch cut to access its interior. Doing so will enable you to pull out all of its gills and internal organs with one swift motion.


Scaling a fish is an essential skill for any seafood enthusiast. Whether you’re cooking at home or taking your catch of the day camping, it’s necessary to learn this straightforward procedure before cooking your next piece of seafood.

Before scaling, cleaning the fish by scraping away its slimy coat from its outer skin is essential. Doing this makes holding the fish easier while climbing and reduces the chance of slips.

You can safely remove slime from a fish by running it under cold water and using a dry towel to hold it still. Be sure the fish is dehydrated before scaling it.

Scaling a fish can be messy, so do it over a sink with ample clean-up space. Use a bucket to catch loose scales that might fly out.


Whether you purchase fish from the grocery store or catch it yourself, learning how to clean your catch is an invaluable skill for any angler. While the process may not always be pretty, doing so helps guarantee your yield is as fresh as possible when cooking it.

After gutting a fish, quickly rinse it in cold water to loosen its scales and wash away any blood or other sticky bits of fish. Finally, pat dry with paper towels.

Once the fish is thoroughly rinsed, it’s time to scrape away any extra skin that may be concealing some delicious white meat inside. You can do this with a descaler tool or blunt edge of a butter knife by running it from tail to head.

Once you’re finished, responsibly dispose of any remains by either throwing them into moving or deep water (not near shoreline), wrapping them up in newspaper, and throwing them in a trash can. Try using a park cleaning station or finding an outdoor table with running water and a cutting surface to minimize messiness.


Saving money or having extra time? Freezing fish is an excellent way to keep it fresh. Lean species such as salmon and trout store well for two to three months, while fatty varieties like cod keep for up to six months in the freezer.

When storing fish for extended storage, use freezer-safe Ziploc bags and remove as much air as possible. Doing this helps avoid moisture loss and freezer burn, which can ruin the flavor and texture of your frozen fish.

For professional results, consider investing in a vacuum sealer and using it to package your fish. This method works best for whole fish, but you can dip plastic zipper-style freezer bags into the water and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing them.