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Looking at a northern pike - head on!
The Life and Times of Mr. Pike

Having fished and cleaned his catch from the waters of the upper-Midwest for over forty years, R. Karl shares his knowledge, providing everything you need to know: proper equipment, step-by-step instructions – including exactly how to remove those pesky “y-bones” from northern pike – and includes a special chapter on how to remove the skin and wrap/prepare your catch prior to freezing.

Whether you favor the soft-water fishing season, the hard-water season, or both, Filleting Freshwater Game Fish: Northern, Walleye, Bass and Bluegill is the perfect “how to” for every angler who desires to prepare their catch – for an immediate trip to the sauté pan or for a stay in your freezer.

Complete with easy-to-follow instructions and Illustrated with actual full-color photographs of the process, this book is a must-have addition to any serious angler’s collection. 

View R. Karl's recommended equipment for fish filleting.

Excerpt from the Filleting Northern Pike chapter:

"'I really love northern pike... I just hate all the bones I always have to pick out of the meat.'  I never knew how simple it is to remove those nasty y-bones.  On my very first trip to Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota it took four days to catch our first fish: a small northern pike.  With a bit of coaching from the resort owner, I cleaned it for dinner… But since I didn’t yet know how to remove the y-bones, dinner was not fun; trying to pick the y-bones out of a cooked northern pike is simply a royal pain.  Every bite seems to have a bone in it, just waiting to choke you. 

Years later, a dock boy showed me how easily the task could be accomplished.  Once learned, the extra bit of filleting time will make eating this fish even more fun than catching it! 

Making the First Incision (Figure 1 of 12)Any size northern will do.   The first step is to make an incision – starting just behind the head – along the belly of the fish...

Some guys like to go around these fins or cut a V-shaped notch to remove them first...  I believe that it is just personal preference and I prefer to remove them later.  The first cut is illustrated in Figure 1."

Comments from readers who have used R. Karl's Northern Pike instructions:

"That is the best step by step 'How to' for a Pike I have seen..."(P.B.)

"After watching my buddy show me how to remove y-bones from a northern and ending up with 'sushi' I figured there's got to be a better method.  Thank you.  The fish actually look like fillets now..." (P.H.)

"The only better instruction you could get is if you had another person next to you showing you step by step..." (T.B.)

"I've always loved Northern Pike meat.  Now I can enjoy it with no bones.  Thank You!" (T.P.)

"I had read several articles on the subject and was some what disappointed until I read yours.  I found it to be informative and the pictures were very helpful..." (M.B.)

Obtain the Proper Tools for Filleting Fish:

  • "As always, a sharp knife is extremely important; a Zwilling J.A. Henckels 7-in. Twin Pro S Fillet Knife is at the top of the list when it comes to filleting fish.  There are less expensive knives to be had; they just don’t hold an edge the way a Henckels blade does."  View R. Karl's recommended equipment for fish filleting.

Try my Northern Pike Recipes:





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