The fish have been caught and its time to prepare the fillets. Northland Outdoors video host Chad Koel shows off his knife skills to clean a crappie, especially a technique that helps avoid the rib cage area.

The method can be used for other panfish, including sunfish.

His first cut is right behind the gill plate, in front of the dorsal fin. That is followed by a belly cut to the tail, creating a 90-degree cut. But instead of making a traditional fillet cut, Koel shows you how to bounce your blade off the rib cage and pulling the meat away with additional strokes.

"It gets the meat to just pop right off with your knife strokes," Koel says.

Northland Outdoors video host Chad Koel demonstrates the best way to fillet crappies. Contributed / Chad Koel
Northland Outdoors video host Chad Koel demonstrates the best way to fillet crappies. Contributed / Chad Koel

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The technique also helps avoid trimming into the guts of the fish.

Then it's just a traditional skinning cut to finish the fillet.

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