Cleaning and Prepping Fish
Cleaning fish is easy with the right tools and a little practice. You can clean fish on a dock, paddle, cooler lid or flat rock. Many fishing accesses and parks provide fish cleaning stations with water for rinsing fish.
Handy fish-cleaning tools include a sharp knife (preferably a filet knife), a scaler and a glove to protect your hand and help grip the fish. Cleaning fish on old newspaper will make clean-up easy.
Most anglers choose to fillet and skin crappie. Remove the scales by scraping the skin with a dull knife, a spoon or an inexpensive scaling tool.
Pan-dress fish by cutting along the sides of the fins on the back and behind the stomach and pulling them out. Cut off the head, then slit the belly and scrape out the entrails.
Fillet larger fish by cutting down to the backbone behind the head and sliding the knife blade with a sawing motion toward the tail. Slice out the rib bones from top to bottom.
Skin fillets by cutting down to the skin near the tail, turning the knife blade and, pulling firmly on the tail section, sliding and sawing the knife between the skin and the flesh.