Caught a walleye? You must be very proud of your catch. Walleye are well sought-after fish because of their elusiveness and beauty. They are also known for their great taste. To clean walleye, there is really no unique steps to follow. In fact, even beginner anglers can follow these simple steps:
Use the right knife. Basically, this means using a knife that you are comfortable with but sharp enough to pierce and cut the skin and flesh of the walleye without damaging the body too much and comfortable enough to hold in your hand.
Your purpose is to fillet the fish, so when cutting, try not to cut the bone. Begin slicing the fish with the knife starting at the area behind its gills. Slide the knife carefully until you reach the backbone. Continue slicing the fish along its backbone until you reach the tail. Don’t slice the fish’s skin to separate the fish.
Open the flap of skin and flesh and lay the fish on the table. You should be able to see the rib cage. Using a fillet knife, begin running it between the flesh and the skin, keeping the knife as close as possible to the skin so as not to waste any flesh.
You can start at the area near the tail and run the knife up to the neck or start the other way. Just make sure the knife is close to the skin. Once the flesh of the walleye is separate from the skin, set it aside. This is your fillet.
Next, turn your attention to the other half of the fish. Using your fillet knife again, slip the sharpest point under walleye’s rib cage, keeping the blade close to the bone. Run the knife along the rib cage to separate the flesh.
After the flesh is separated from the rib cage, you can either use a heavy knife to cut the rib cage at the tail or you can hold to it firmly and rip the bone away from the flesh.
Now for the little bones. If you’ve caught a younger fish, you can leave the bones on since they will dissolve during cooking. With an older fish, cut out the area where the bones are buried in the flesh.
If you’re bringing your walleye fillet over the US-Canada border, you’ll need to clean the fish in such a way as to show enough skin to allow for identification of the species. Leave an inch or so to allow authorities to see what type of fish you’re bringing.