This is about as "Bio" a "Hack" as they come... ask any 10 year old with a knife! Besides, its been a while since we've skinned anything here on NWPodcast.
I forget where I first learned to skin trout like this, but it is always a favorite time when we share it with someone at the lake. Its fast, easy, and the results are a great way to cook up the pile of trout from a day at the lake.
First step - insert the knife into the 'rear-end' orifice of the trout, and cut along the belly up into the area between the gill plates, as shown.
Next, put a finger in between the gills and the outer gill plate on one side of the fish, all the way through to the gills and gill plate on the other side - as shown. We are now going to tear away the gills and lower connection completely away from the gill plates and lower jaw of the trout.
As you see here, the gills are separated from the gill plate and head of the trout. Now is the fun, gross part - put your finger down the center of the gills, into the stomach and guts of the trout, and pull downward in the body - this will tear the gills, fins, and all the guts out of the trout down along the cut we first made in the fish's belly.
Here is where we are starting to tear the gills and guts out through the cut in the belly that we made. All of the guts and gills come off and out - leaving just the head and body of the trout. Good job - the gross part is over!
Just Kidding! Now, we take a thumb nail and push it up through the fish's liver - the dark, thick stuff along the backbone of the trout. You can also use a spoon or knife, but thumbs are easy to find. Get all the dark stuff out.
Now is the really cool trick - we're going to take all the skin, fins, and head off the meat in one easy step and without the need of a knife. To do this, hold the body of the trout up in one hand, and with the other bend the head all the way back, breaking it off the spine, as shown.
Now, holding the body tightly, pull the head STRAIGHT DOWNWARD, along the back of the trout's body - this will begin to peel all of the skin and fins off from the meat.
This will take a little practice, and if the fish is mushy, it will not work so well - sometimes if you let the fish sit out of the water for riger-mortice to set in it will help.
When the skin has peeled off about half way down the body, it will be easier to grab the meat with one hand (after you wash the slime off!) to continue to pull the skin off down towards the tail. See how all the fins, including the dorsal fin came off in the skin?
Here's the final result - nice, clean, and easy! After a few tries, you'll find you can easily clean a fish in less than 20 seconds. Even better - if you teach your kids to do this, you may NEVER have to clean another one yourself! Yeah, thats more like it! The kids actually have fun with it, too.
Hope this bio hack was useful - it should take the work out of that great day on the lake or stream.