Filleting / Steaking Salmon or Steelhead

Here is a somewhat different method of filleting Salmon/Steelhead using step by step instructions on the eyeFISH method of filleting these fish. Try it, you may just like this method.


Make a long deep cut down the lateral line right down to the spine, then several cross cuts, depending on the size of the fish.



Start on the tail end, and begin removing fillets by sweeping your knife from the spine toward either the belly or the back depending on the side you are working on.




Keep your knife on the bones and turn the piece if needed, as you go.


Keep going in similar fashion, removing each piece while working your way toward the head end of the fish.


Taking off the 3rd section


Now the 4th


And the final 5th & 6th


Flip it over and do it all over again.

Some may not like the fact that you don’t end up with one intact fillet per side, but honestly, who can eat an entire fillet all by himself… especially when you are cutting something as big as up to a 30# king?  Or you can steak the front section if you prefer and fillet the rear as seen farther down below.

Here’s the finished product. As you can see, there is VERY little waste with this method. This method gives you nice generous dinner-sized portions to satisfy the largest of appetites.


You should end up with a featherweight carcass that is nearly transparent, except for the meat between the first 10-12 ribs which are sort of rectangular. It is impossible to salvage this meat with a fillet knife alone

The above photos, the method & photos were supplied by




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Now for a modification of this method.  If you get salmon larger that 12-15# it may be beneficial to do a combo of filleting and steaking the meat.  With the larger fish if you fillet all of the fish, you will get meat from thick to thin on the same piece, making cooking difficult in that the thinner sections will be overcooked when the thicker is just done.

 Using the combo method, (shown in the photos below) you can steak the front section and fillet or make a roast from the rear thinner sections.  The point to make this change seems to usually be the anus/rear of the dorsal fin.


Here we are getting ready to process a 22# Chinook by making steaks & a roast

You will note in the photo below that the fatty belly meat and lower fins are trimmed off.  These will be used for smoking or sturgeon / halibut bait. 

The roast is cut at the anis & the steaks progressing forward.

You will note in the photo below that the cheeks are cut out, they and the wedge of the top forward backbone will be smoked with smaller fish.


Here the fish is cut up, ready for wrapping.


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