You finally pick up the phone and call a guide to book a river fishing trip, and it’s sealed. You couldn’t be more excited to get in that boat and drop a line in the water with the best fishing guide you found on the internet. Plans are executed, the days are zooming by to that guided river trip and then finally! It’s here!

Loading up in the boat at dark you couldn’t be more nervous, excited and hopeful; along with everything else going through your mind or maybe nothing at all. Out of nowhere your guide is back there saying “Jerk” “Jerk” “Jerk”!!! You follow instructions then you hear, “zzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzz” as the line from your reel is being peeled off like it was never there. A jump out of the water from your fish and you are blinded by the chrome. It seems like a lifetime when you get that fish in the net and high five everyone in the boat! Then your guide tells you it’s a “keeper”. Great!

But what’s next? What can you do with this awesome creature you just played tug of war with?

First, at the end of you guided fishing trip your guide will ask you how you want your fish cut or if you want it whole. This is all preference for each angler out there. Our personal favorite, is to get the two delicious fillets off of each side of your fish. This will provide you with multiple steak cuts and two tail pieces. The tail piece is completely boneless which makes it a much more wanted cut.

This is a picture of two salmon fillets. The salmon are usually a bit bigger than your average steelhead catch. These are the best color you will see out of a salmon. A steelhead will be a little bit lighter
This is one of the many steak cuts you will get from your fish, especially one of this size. The white you see on the piece our guide is currently cutting is the belly fat. Some people love it and keep it for added flavor of your fish. Others will ask for it to be cut off.

After getting the fillets off the other meat you have left are know as the collars. This is always taken off of halibut but some like to get them from the salmon and steelhead. They compare this cut to the “fillet mignon” of a beef.

So now what is left are a bunch of bones, fish eyes, tail fins and the fat if you didn’t leave that on your steak cuts. Some people like to throw these leftovers back into the river. This ensures habitat restoration for all the creatures throughout rivers. Others will take this stuff home, grind it up and use it as a fertilizer. It provides great nutrients to the soil that feed the plants and soil for longer periods of time.

Next time you go out with a guide on a fishing trip or hit the banks for some me time to fish or get in your own boat to float down the rivers, remember that all the fish parts are useful! Every piece can feed someone or something or give back to the habitat it came from!

Want to go in even greater details, check out this cookbook! Might be some crazy recipes for you to try!

It’s called the Whole Fish Cookbook. You can find it at-

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