How to Debone Walleye


Walleye are found throughout the United States and Canada. They're moderately sized fish, usually measuring a little over a foot in length and weighing an average of two to five pounds, though they can get much larger. Like many other freshwater fish, walleye can be filleted and cooked. But before you throw the fillet on a grill, you're going to need to remove the bones so as not to choke on them while eating. Fortunately, this is a simple process that can be done quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Fillet knife
  • Cutting board
  • Lay the walleye on its side and grab it by its head with your non-dominant hand (for instance, if you're right-handed, hold the head with your left hand).

  • Make an incision with your fillet knife just below the pectoral fin (the fin on the side). Cut all the way down until you hit the back bone. Make sure, however, not to cut through the backbone.

  • Turn the knife toward the tail of the fish and begin cutting the meat, using the backbone as a guide. Keep the flat end of your blade pressed gently along the fish's backbone and cut toward the tail--making sure to stop once you get to the tail (don't cut all the way through).

  • Flip the fillet outward from the fish. The skin should be facing the cutting board, while the meat is facing up towards you. Begin filleting the meat by inserting your boning knife under the tail end of the cut (still attached to the fish) and slicing away from the fish, separating the meat from the skin.

  • Remove the filleted meat from the rest of the fish and set it on the cutting board so that the ribs are facing away from you. Cut the rib bones off of the fish by inserting your knife beneath them and slicing away from yourself at a 45 degree angle. Discard the bones once they've been removed.

  • Make a one-inch incision at the tail end of the fillet, just to the left side of the middle bone. Make another one-inch incision at the tail end of the fillet, just to the right side of the middle bone.

  • Hold the fillet by the middle bone. Use your other hand to pull the meat off, beginning at the incision and moving outward from the bone. Repeat this process with the other side of the fillet, beginning at the other incision.

  • Repeat the entire process with the reverse side of the fish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use clean cooking practices. Make sure to wash your hands and the fish meat before cooking it to avoid foodborne illness.
  • Always make your cutting direction away from yourself to avoid accidental injury.

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