Directions to Gut and Clean a Fish

If you are an avid angler, then you probably know that there are few things better in this world than the taste of a freshly caught fish that you have properly cleaned and prepared. If you have never cleaned a fish before, then there are a few things that you need to keep in mind while doing so.

Here are a few easy steps to gutting and cleaning a fish!

In this article, we will take the approach of cleaning something like a trout or other similarly sized fish. Although, these simple steps can be used to gut and clean just about any species of fish!


You need to take a sharp knife and slip the tip of it into the vent at the bottom of the fish in order to start gutting the fish. Slide the knife upward towards the head, carefully keeping the knife just under the skin. Avoid cutting too deep as you do not want to accidentally cut into organs and cause a bigger mess. 

Keep cutting upwards with your knife until you reach the hard, boney structure near the head and gills. Once you get there, use your knife to cut small slits right behind the lower jaw of the fish. You will notice how this makes a small “V” shape cut that you can put your finger into and pull. When you pull it with enough force, you will then pull the gills and guts all out at one time. 

You need to make sure that everything comes out all at once or you will need to take your hand and pull out any remaining entrails that are left behind. There will be a red line of blood at the top of the empty body cavity where you will need to take your finger and squeeze any blood that might be trapped. 

Once you have the body cavity completely cleaned and empty, you can then remove the head from the body if you want to. You need to bend it back until you break the neck bones and cut what meat is left with your knife to remove it easily.

After successfully gutting your fish, you will now need to thoroughly clean it inside and out. Take some cold water and rinse your fish as this will keep it extra clean and take care of anything that you might have missed while gutting it. 

Final Thoughts

And there you have it! Just a few simple steps to gut and clean your fish after catching it. Remember to clean a fish as soon as possible to keep it as fresh as you can, as this will make it taste even better when you do cook it. Check out our latest pro Bradley fishing guides for the latest tips & tricks on your next catch!