How To Perfectly Filet A Salmon In 5 Steps

Fileting a salmon is essentially cutting it into filets, that are perfect portion sizes and ready to be baked, pan-seared, or broiled. This fish is a great source of protein and healthy fats, and instead of buying store-bought salmon, it is recommended that you buy fresh wild salmon from your nearest farmer’s market. Buying a whole salmon, fileting it, and storing it in your refrigerator for future use is much cheaper than buying individual filets whenever you decide to cook salmon.

However, many people don’t go down this route because they have never filleted salmon in their lives, and fear that trying to do so would ruin their fish and end up costing them more. However, fear not, as detailed below is how you can perfectly filet a salmon in five steps.

Before you begin fileting, however, make sure that you have everything you need handy. To filet a salmon, you would need a whole freshly caught salmon, a sharp filet knife, a cutting board, fish bone tweezers, rubber gloves, and cleaning wipes. You possibly already have most of these items at home except for the tweezers, and you can easily buy fish bone tweezers online. Now that you have all you need, let’s begin:

Step 1: Preparation
The very first thing you need to do is prepare the salmon, and make sure that it is clean before you start fileting. Rinse the salmon thoroughly and dry it using paper towels. Put on your rubber gloves, and place the fish on a cutting board.

Step 2: Remove the anal fins
Place a filet knife on the underside of the fishtail. Slide the knife smoothly along the belly and stop right between its gills. This will take apart the anal fins which you can now dispose of. Next, scale the fish from both sides.

Step 3: Remove the roe, milt, and guts
Place the fish on its back and place your knife inside its rear hole to cut all the way down to its mouth. Once the fish is open, reach inside and remove the roe and the milt with a gentle tug. Next, insert your hand a bit further and completely extract the guts and dispose of all of this properly.

Step 4: Filet the fish
Once your fish is all clean and gutted, place your filet knife behind the front fin and go deep until you find the backbone. Once your knife can touch the backbone, cut the way down to the tail while cutting through the ribs. Repeat this on the other side to get both the fillets off.

Step 5: Completely remove the ribs
Place the filet knife next to the ribs on your filet and edge down slowly. Be careful to not lose a lot of your filet while doing so. Run the knife parallel to the fillet, in one smooth motion. Once the ribs are removed, you will still find pin bones remaining inside of the filets. Use a fish bone tweezer to remove them one by one. Your fillets are now ready to be cut into smaller servings.

There you have it – the above-mentioned steps describe in detail how to filet a salmon, and you can now enjoy freshly caught salmon at home.


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