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.

This Diagram 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 indiscernible.

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