How To Fillet A Northern Pike "BONELESS"
And Salvage The Meat!
Use a "very sharp fillet knife. I find that the flexible types are best.
may help you to understand the bone structure of a Northern Pike
The first cuts remove the fillets, as in normal filleting (such as Perch
or Walleye). This cut severs the "y-bones" at the back. When you reach
the vent, ribs and "y-bones" are gone. You can "feel" the ribs with the
knifepoint when making this first cut, severing the "y-bones" is almost
After these fillets are removed, place them skin down on the table. "Right-handers,
orient the head-end to your left for the left-side fillet; right-side fillet
- head-end to your right". (placing a piece of newsprint under it will
prevent a lot of slipping and sliding!) You can see "white dots" (and feel
with your fingertips) the ends of the "y-bones". Make the first cut here,
slightly above those ends. Cut vertically down into the flesh until you
"feel" the bones with the knife-edge. Continue filleting, following the
bones (they curve up and out, towards the back. Make the second cut on
the fish's centerline. Cut vertically down about 1/4" then cut toward the
"y-bones", staying close to them; continue cutting until the bones are
completely removed. These bones run nearly to the skin.
It takes some practice and larger fish are easier. You'll be a pro after
a couple of fish!
Enjoy some of the best eating fish around, "No Bones".
©Phil Trivilino/Fran "Bim" McDougal