How to Fillet Crappie Fish

How to Fillet Crappie FishCrappie are related to the sunfish family and come in two species--black and white. The black crappie are darker in color and the white are lighter with vertical stripes running down their sides. These fish are not only great fun to catch, they are also great tasting and any freshwater angler is happy to bring a bunch home. Crappie range in size from 1 to 6 lbs. and average 6 to 11 inches, with some growing as big as 17 inches, with the right feeding conditions. Their diet is diverse, consisting of worms, minnows, insects and crayfish, so finding the right bait to catch one won't be hard. If you are bringing home crappie, you might want to fillet them and below are some helpful tips.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sharp knife Water Bowl Cutting board Newspaper
  • Sharp knife
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Newspaper
Step 1
Wash your fish before you start the filleting process. This will make handling your fish a bit easier, when you go to fillet them. Fish naturally have a slime to them and washing some of this off before you start, will help you keep the fish under control as you begin cutting.
Step 2
Gather your supplies and setup your cleaning area. It best to work on a table that is waist high so you won't be doing a lot of bending. If you have a cutting board, use it to fillet the fish. If not, put some old newspaper down on the table to work on. You'll then be able to contain all the fish debris into the paper after your done. Place some fresh water in a bowl, to put your cleaned fillets into. Always use a sharp knife when filleting fish. It not only make the job easier, but the fish won't tear up in the cutting process.
Step 3
Lay one of your crappie fish on its side and make a slit from the top of the fish to the bottom, right behind the gill section. You only want to cut halfway through the fish, so don't cut the fish head off, or it will make the filleting process a little more difficult. On the top portion of the fish where you made your first cut, make a 1-inch slit across the center of the back. This will make starting your cut into the fish to retrieve the fillet, a bit easier.
Step 4
Hold the tail portion of the fish with your free hand that won't be doing the cutting, down upon the paper or cutting board. Use your knife to start slicing through the upper portion of the meat of the crappie, using the center bone as your guide. Stop your cut when your knife reached the tail section, as you don't want to cut the piece of meat completely off the fish.
Step 5
Flip the side of the fish that you have just cut through, over to the where the meat portion is now facing you, but is still attached to the fish. You may have to turn the fish in the other direction, to be able to make this last cut with ease. Start at the tail section of meat, and slip your knife between the meat and the outer skin. Carefully slide the knife through the meat until you have reached the end where the meat was attached to the head. The fillet of meat should now be free from the fish. Turn the fish over on the other side and repeat this process. If there is some outer skin left on your meat, carefully slip your knife under it and cut it off. Repeat the above steps for our other crappie.
Step 6
Wash your fillets off and place them in your bowl that is filled with fresh water. Store them in a cool place in the water, until you are ready to cook the crappie. Take all your fish guts and remaining fish parts and roll them up in the newspaper and discard. Your crappie is now filleted and ready to freeze or eat.

Tips & Warnings

If filleting a bunch of fish, make sure to resharpen your knife.
Try not to cut into the stomach area when filleting any fish.

Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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