Set Your Hook

Cleaning Catfish

Unlike trout and most pan fish, you can’t really use the super easy 4 Step Fish Cleaning Process.

Because catfish have no scales, you usually remove the skin when you’re cleaning them. As I discovered with The Queen Mother’s Cataract Lake catfish, removing the skin is easier said than done.

(Take my word for it on THAT one!)

After trying to ‘intelligently’ write up the process, I found a great 5-step process from Iowa Department of Natural Resources that I’ll share with you. (The pictures are theirs as well!)

Materials needed: a sharp knife, pliers, fillet glove, and firm surface.

Step 1. Grip the head tightly with the pectoral fins tucked between the fingers. Slit the skin along the backbone from just behind the head to the dorsal fin. Cut the skin on either side of the dorsal fin.

Catfish cleaning Step 1

Step 2. With a firm hold on the head, grasp the skin with the pliers and pull toward the tail fin to remove.

Catfish cleaning Step 2

Step 3. Grasp the head with one hand and the body with the other. Bend the head downward to break the backbone. Remove the head.

Catfish cleaning Step 3

Step 4. Slit the belly and remove the internal organs.

Catfish cleaning Step 4

Step 5. (Optional) Cut along both sides of the dorsal and anal fins and use the pliers to remove.

Catfish Cleaning step 5

Readers Weigh In:

  • Is this how YOU clean catfish?
  • Do you have a better/easier way to get catfish ready to cook?
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