How to Fillet a Round Fish

Round fish, such as salmon, cod, and mackerel, have 2 fillets that can be cut from either side of the backbone. A well-sharpened filleting knife works best for cutting smooth, even fillets.

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How to Fillet a Round Fish-step by step with photo

STEP 1: Starting just behind the head, cut across the fish down to the backbone using a filleting knife.


STEP 2: Set the fish on the work surface so that the tail is towards you. Slit the skin along the back from head to tail, holding the knife horizontally.


STEP 3: Slide the knife along the upper side of the backbone, carefully detaching the flesh to the mid-point of the fillet. “A constant cutting motion helps the fillet remain intact.”

Continue cutting over the rib cage of the fish

STEP 4: Continue cutting over the rib cage of the fish to free the flesh from the bones and remove the fillet completely.

“Slide knife as close as possible to back one to remove flesh neatly.”


STEP 5: To remove the second fillet, run the knife under the backbone, from head to tail. Sever the fillet from the bone at the tail. Lift off the bone and sever the fillet at the head.


STEP 6: Rinse the fillets in cold water and dry on paper towels. If the fish bones are to be used to make stock, rinse them well and reserve them.