Skip to main content

How to Filet a Crappie

How to Filet a Crappie

Crappie are fun to catch and delicious to eat. Before the eating begins, however, anglers must know how to properly prepare their catch for the table. One commonly used method is filleting.

Nowadays it seems most crappie anglers prefer to fillet their catch to produce boneless, skinless pieces of meat ready to cook.

Here's how to do it, quick as a snap, with an electric or fixed-blade fillet knife.

Tools of the trade

Tools you need include a sharp knife (fillet knife, electric fillet knife and/or plain blade) A cutting board, fillet board or other hard, flat surface (use plastic or glass to reduce bacteria) A spoon or scaling tool, if you're pan-dressing the fish a container in which to place the prepared fish Some newspaper, a trash bag or a bucket for disposal of waste parts. Also recommended is household bleach for clean-up.

Step One

Lay the fish on a cutting board, fillet board or other flat, hard surface. Grasping the fish's mouth, take the fillet knife and position it just behind the side (pectoral) fin. Slice downward to the backbone, keeping the rear of the knife blade up. Be careful not to cut into the fish's backbone.

Step Two

Turn the knife blade toward the tail and continue cutting, staying on top of the back and belly fins. You'll feel resistance as you cut through the rib cage, but be careful not to cut into the backbone. It's better to cut too shallow than too deep. Continue your cut toward the tail, until you have almost, but not quite, cut the scaly fillet off

Step Three

With the fillet barely attached to the tail, flip it away from the fish. Position your knife on the narrow portion of the fillet, and while holding the fish, slice between the meat and the skin to remove the fillet. To obtain the maximum meat, cut very close to the skin. When the fillet is removed, place it, with rib cage still attached, on a sheet of wax paper. Then flip the fish over and fillet the other side.

Step Four

To finish, take each fillet, and with the tip of your fillet knife, carefully cut out the rib cage. To retrieve the most meat, angle your knife and slice close to the ribs.

Finished Product

After you rinse the fillets, they're ready to cook or store.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

New from LaRue Tactical: Siete Chassis Rifle

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

Model 21 Hunting Rifle from Nosler

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

New Firearm Cases from Plano: All-Weather and Stealth Series

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

Stevens 560 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

Browning's Max Point, Silver Series Rifle Ammunition

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

Pro-Tracker Game Recovery System

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

New Rifles for 2023: Bergara Crest and Ridge Carbon

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

First Look: Ontario Knife Company Red RAT 1 and Bushcraft Seax

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

Silencer Central Banish Backcountry Hunting Suppressor

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

SHOT Show 2023: Mossberg Patriot Predator in 7mm PRC

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

New for 2023: Streamlight ProTac 2.0 Rail Mount (RM)

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Fishing

Go-To Worm Rigs

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now