Cleaning and Fileting Northern Pike
Northern pike are often avoided by many
fisherman because when they are cleaned there is a pesky Y-bone left
in the filet. This sharp Y-bone then gets caught in the throat
of the person consuming the fish. The solution to this problem
is to remove the y-bone. The procedure below, and accompanying
graphic, will make this task fairly easy for anyone that already knows
how to filet a walleye or bass.
Step 1 - Lay the pike on its
side. Then cut behind the gills down to the backbone. Turn
the knife and then cut along the backbone, as close as possible, all
the way to the tail. Remove the filet with the skin intact. This
is exactly the same way you would start fileting a bass or walleye.
Step 2 - Remove the ribs.
This is done by running the filet knife under the ribs from the middle
of the fish, cutting out the ribs with the knife as close to the ribs
as possible. This is also the way you would remove the rib
section from a bass or walleye filet.
Step 3 - If you look closely,
you will see 2 faint lines of bones. (See red dashed lines in
graphic below). These lines are where the y-bones where
connected to the spine. Locate the line of bones at the top and
cut away a strip of meat as shown in Step 3 of the graphic below.
You are removing this strip in a manner similar to removing the rib
section. Try to get as close to the y-bone as possible since you
will be saving this strip and want to get as much meat as possible on
Step 4 - You now need to make a
cut on the other side of the y-bone and cut the y-bone section away.
This is also similar to removing the rib section. Get as close
to the y-bone as possible so as to minimize wasted meat. You
will discard this y-bone section. You would get quite a mouth-full of
bones if you ate this section!
Step 5 - Remove the skin from
the larger piece of filet. You do this by running the knife in
between the skin and the meat, sliding the knife as you cut. I find it
easiest to start at the tail end. This again is the same way you would
remove the skin from a bass or walleye filet. I like to leave
the skin on until this last step since it helps hold the fillet
together as you remove the y-bone section.
Watch a 2 Minute Video Showing How To Clean a Northern Pike? Click Here
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