How to Clean a catfish




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Cleaning a catfish can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for any angler. First, start by securing a clean and flat surface to work on, like a large plastic cutting board. Make sure you have a sharp fillet knife handy, as well as a pair of pliers and a bucket for waste disposal.

To clean the catfish, begin by making a lateral cut behind the gill plate, ensuring you do not reach the spine. Then, slice down the fish’s belly towards the tail to create an opening. Next, use your finger or a spoon to carefully remove the organs, starting from the tail end and working your way towards the head. Be gentle to avoid puncturing the intestines.

Once the organs are removed, rinse the fish under cold water to clean its cavity thoroughly. Then, turn your attention to the catfish’s skin. Using your fillet knife, carefully scrape off the scales, moving from the tail to the head in smooth strokes. Alternatively, you can fillet the fish by cutting along the backbone on one side, then repeat on the other side. Remove the fillets by sliding the knife under the ribs and separating them from the body.

Lastly, remember to wash the fillets to remove any remaining scales or debris. You can now cook the fresh catfish or store it in a cool place for future use, knowing that you accomplished the satisfying task of cleaning it yourself.


  • Use a clean cutting board for the task.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from the fish’s slime and bacteria.
  • Rinse the catfish thoroughly under cold running water.
  • Remove the scales by scraping them off with a knife or a fish scaler.
  • After cleaning and scaling, refrigerate the catfish immediately.


  • Don’t use a dull knife for cleaning the catfish.
  • Don’t touch your face or other surfaces while cleaning the fish.
  • Don’t leave the catfish at room temperature for too long before cleaning.
  • Don’t forget to remove the catfish’s entrails.
  • Don’t let the catfish come into contact with other foods to prevent cross-contamination.

Step 1

Clean the catfish thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.

Step 2

Remove the scales by scraping them off with a knife or fish scaler.

Step 3

Cut off the head of the catfish and discard it.

Step 4

Gut the catfish by making a shallow incision along the belly and removing the internal organs.

Step 5

Rinse the catfish under cold water to remove any remaining blood or residue.

Final thoughts 💭

Cleaning a catfish can seem intimidating at first, but with the right technique, it can be a relatively straightforward process. Remember to have the necessary tools, such as a sharp knife and pliers, and take your time to ensure a well-cleaned fish. Start by removing the slime and scales, then proceed to gutting the catfish and removing the fins. Finally, rinse the fish thoroughly and store it appropriately. Practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if it’s a bit challenging at first. With experience, you’ll become a master at cleaning catfish!

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