How to Clean Carp for Eating

How to Clean Carp for Eating
Carp is one of the more popular types of fish, but this wasn't always the case. The fish was once known as garbage fish because it was small and many fishermen threw it away or used it as bait. Modern day carp has a light and delicious flavor, and the larger sizes found in lakes and rivers feed small groups and families. To clean carp for eating, all you need is a little time and a sharp knife.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Place the carp on a flat surface with the head facing you, and locate the gills. Slide a sharp knife into the pocket found behind the gills, and move the knife away from your body, right across the backbone. Insert the knife only as far as the ribs, and stop when you hear the knife touch the rib bones. Run your knife down the entire length of the carp, until you reach the tail.
Step 2
Pull up on the flap of skin you just cut, and insert your knife into the carp. Slice the knife through the fish's body, stopping when you get to the belly. This gives you a loose piece of fillet. Run your knife along the bottom of the fillet until it comes loose, and set it aside.
Step 3
Set the fillet you just removed down on the table, meat side facing you. Press down on the tail with your hand, being careful to place your hand on the area where it's only skin and not meat. Run your knife under the meat, sliding it in between the meat and skin. Move the knife slowly towards the top of the carp to remove the fillet.
Step 4
Identify the dark red area in the middle of the fish fillet, which signifies the muscle that has a flavor most people find unappealing. Insert your knife into one side of the muscle, and run it down the length of the carp, making sure to get underneath the muscle. Repeat on the other side of the muscle, and remove the muscle.
Step 5
Score the carp fillet by slicing through the fish in 1/4-inch increments, running your knife down to the other side of the fillet, but without cutting all the way through. The bones of the fish are fairly small, and it's difficult to remove all the bones completely. Scoring the fish lets the oil from cooking break down the bones, which lets you digest them easily. Repeat on the other side of the fish to remove the second fillet, and score that piece as well.

Tips & Warnings

Always use a flat surface and a sharp knife when cutting the carp and preparing it for eating. Using a dull knife or uneven surface increases the chances that you might harm yourself.

Article Written By Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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