How to Descale Trout

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Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board

  • Knife

Keep the trout over ice until you are ready to clean it.

Trout are generally found in clear lakes and streams. After you catch a trout, it needs to be cleaned properly before you can consume it. Part of the cleaning process involves removing the scales from the fish. Scales do not need removed from a trout, but many people prefer to remove them due to the texture. Removing the scales from the trout may seem complicated, but the scales slide off the fish easily. Once you remove the scales, you can continue to clean and gut the fish so you can cook it.


Step 1

Rinse the trout under cool running water.

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Step 2

Place the trout on a cutting board. Hold the head or tail end with one hand to keep the fish in place.

Step 3

Drag the dull side of a knife from the tail to the gills. Notice the clear scales brush off onto the knife.

Step 4

Return the dull knife back to the tail. Continue to run the knife down the length of the trout until you remove all the scales from all sides of the trout.

Step 5

Rinse the fish under cold water to remove any excess scales.


Purchase a fish scaler tool if you plan to clean many fish. The tool makes the process easier and it protects your fingers from sharp fins.


Avoid using a sharp knife because you may remove part of the fish flesh with the scales.

Place a sink trap into the drain to catch the scales because the scales may clog the drain.


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