What Is The Best Way To Clean Crappie?

How To Fillet A Crappie
4 Min Read
Tyger Leader is reader-supported and may earn a commission when you book or purchase using our links. Learn more about our affiliate disclaimer here.

However, if you are catching crappie to eat it, you need to know how to fillet it properly. 

Filleting crappie is a skill that takes practice to master. If you want to eat crappie, you’ll need to know how to properly remove its innards.

This article tells you a little more about the species and how you would go about filleting one.

Crappie Fish

A member of the carp family, crappies have been around for many centuries. They were first introduced into North America by European settlers who brought them with them as they migrated westward.

Today, they can be found throughout most of the United States and Canada.

The crappie’s scientific name is Pylodictis olivaris. The word “crappie” comes from an old English dialect word meaning “small fish”. It was used to describe small-bodied freshwater fish like the crappie.

The crappie’s common names include bluegill, black crappie, blackjack, black perch, black sunfish, black trout, black bullhead, black bass, black drum, black dace, black bream, black shiner, black gudgeon, black snakehead, black snapper, black pickerel, and black pike.

It’s also known to many as blackmouth, black bass, black bass, black crappie (also called black crappie), black catfish, black cat, black minnow, black rockfish, black sheepshead, black sea bass, black sunfish, and black tarpon.

Crappies grow up to five inches long and weigh anywhere between two and four pounds. Their color ranges from dark brown to olive green.

Crappies prefer to live near water that is clear or slightly cloudy. These fish will also feed on insects and other aquatic life.

While the crappie is not considered a game fish, it does provide sport anglers with some fun action when caught.

Tyger Leader is reader-supported and may earn a commission when you book or purchase using our links. Learn more about our affiliate disclaimer here.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Crappie?

The following steps in this guide will tell you what is the best way to clean crappie!

Step 1 – Remove the Head

To start filleting your crappie, you must begin at the top of the fish. First, grab hold of the back end of the fish. Then, pull down until you feel the backbone.

Next, gently twist the fish so that it falls apart. Now, you should be able to see the head. Grab hold of the head and lift it away from the body. Once you’ve removed the head, set it aside.

Step 2 – Cut Off the Fins

After removing the head, you’ll need to cut off the fins. Hold the crappie firmly against the side of a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make a straight cut along both sides of the fin.

Make sure that you don’t cut through the fin. When you’re finished making the cuts, you should now have two pieces of the fin attached to each side of the crappie. Set those fins aside.

Step 3 – Pull Out the Guts

Now, you’ll need to pull out the guts. Start by holding the crappie in front of you. Place your left hand over the belly of the fish and use your right hand to grasp the tail.

With your left hand still covering the belly, slowly slide your fingers down towards the anus. 

As you move closer to the anus, you may notice that the intestines are beginning to come loose. Keep going until you reach the anus.

At this point, you should feel something hard inside the fish. That’s the anal sac. If you want to remove it, simply squeeze it. This will help to loosen the anal sac. Carefully push the anal sac out of the fish using your index finger.

Step 4 – Clean the Meat

Now that you’ve pulled out the anal sac, you can clean the rest of the fish. Begin by rinsing the fish under cold running water. After washing the fish, pat dry.

Next, place the fish on a cutting board and slice off any remaining fins.

The next step is to remove the skin. To do this, lay the fish flat on its belly. Use a sharp knife to carefully make a small incision around the mouth.

This will allow you to peel the skin away without damaging the flesh underneath. Repeat this process for the other side of the fish.

Step 5 – Clean the Flesh

Once you’ve cleaned the fish, you’ll need to wash the meat. Rinse the fish again under cold running water. Pat dry. Now, you can either freeze the fish or cook it immediately. 

For freezing, wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container. If you’d like to cook it right away, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Add about one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. Lay the fish into the pan and sear for about three minutes per side.

You’ll know when the fish is ready because the flesh will turn opaque white. Serve with lemon wedges.

Catching Crappie Fish

Catching Crappie

There are several different ways to catch crappies. One way involves using a jigging rig. Jigs are baits designed specifically for crappie fishing.

They come in various shapes and sizes. Some jigs look like worms, while others resemble crayfish.

Jigs are usually made out of plastic, wood, lead, or rubber. When fishing with a jig, you cast your bait out into the water where it sinks to the bottom.

Once there, it begins to move through the water column. As it moves along, it attracts smaller fish, which then begin to follow it.

Another method of catching crappies is with a spinner bait. Spinnerbaits are similar to spinners, but instead of having a hook attached to the end, they weigh at the end of the line.

As the spinnerbait moves through the water, it creates ripples that attract attention from nearby fish.

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you have gained an understanding of how to fillet crappie fish, as well as learned a little more about the species of crappie fish, and taken down some ideas of how to fish for it yourself. 

Whether you buy it or fish for it, eating crappie can be a delicious dish and although filleting takes some practice, we promise once you have the knack for it, it becomes second nature!

© 2024 Tyger Leader. All Rights Reserved.

Get the Latest Fishing Tips & Guides

Popup Newsletter

No spam. Never. Not ever. Just fun and interesting blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.