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    1. Back To Top    #1
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      Boneless Northern Help

      I'm looking for how you guys fillet northerns to come out with boneless fillets. I've watched a bunch of videos and tried a few different methods. Latest was the "5 fillet" way - didn't come out boneless. Had bones in both the top and tail sections, so 3 of the 5 pieces.

      I'm an experienced fish cleaner but these guys have me stumped.

      And I already know the "throw them in the garbage" method some of you will suggest so we can skip that one .

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      I filet like I would a wally and then cut into 5 or 6" long pieces, put in fridge over night so they firm up, then take bones out. You can"feel" the bones better that way. LB

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      Do a regular fillet job and you end up with a fillet with rib bones that are very visible and "y" bones that are hard to see. Just know that the rib and "y" bones only occur in the belly area of the northern. From the end of the belly cavity to the tail is all boneless. So remove the rib bones. Now the y bones were attached to the backbone that has been removed. The y bones are in the upper half of the fillet. You can see a line of white dots about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch above the lateral line. This is one end of a y bone. The other end is in the lateral line. The y bone ends meet up and then the single bone that is formed runs down into the fillet and then up toward the fish's back/dorsal area. I cut down just above the line of white bone ends until I get to the single part of the y bone, then I turn the knife flat and cut up to the top of the fishes back and remove this sliver of meat. Then I cut just below the lateral line and then turn the knife up and cut just under the y bone until I remove all the y bones. There are many YouTube videos on removing y bones. Just search YouTube and they will show up. Once you see it done you will not have a problem.

      Northerns are slimy and slippery so I always skin them before working on the bones to make it easier to work with. I would also recommend to remove the boneless tail section before removing the ribs and y bones to preserve as much of the tail section as possible.

      The other thing shown in these videos is cutting an 1/8" above and below the y bones. That is crazy. Cut right next to the y bones to keep as much of the fish meat on the fillet.

      The other thing that I do is "brine" all my fish after I clean it and before wifey cooks it. I have fed long time fisher people a combination of walleye and northern and most cannot tell the difference. I read the recipe on a post here several years ago. It firms the fish up and removes all grassy/gamey taste. In 2 quarts of water dissolve 1/2 tble spoon of salt and 1/2 tble spoon of white vinegar and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Soak the fillets for an hour to overnight and tell me if you think it improves the flavor.




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      Last edited by sl1000794; 02-27-2021 at 10:36 PM.

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      ^^^^This.

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      Fillet them like a walleye. Bake them until perfectly done in the oven. Take two forks and pull the two fillets into four lengthwise exposing those damn y bones. Pull out the exposed y bones and feast. Man oh man is that a hassle saver.

      I've tried it every which way to fillet a pike until it is boneless and it befudles me to no end (Don't do it enough to get good at it).
      By the way, it is easier to fillet a bigger fish, say from 5 pounds and up because the bones are a little thicker and harder to cut through. But baking them with the Y bones in is by far and away the easiest method I've ever found. Just remove them when the fillet is done cooking. Takes less time that way than to try to fillet them out and of course less waste of meat.

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      Last edited by Ristorapper; 02-28-2021 at 03:40 AM.

    6. Back To Top    #6
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      Pickle it like God intended

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      When we were kids Mom would fry the fish fillets and you picked the y bones out or you didn't eat, it wasn't that hard, the fish will get flaky
      after it is fried, bones separate from meat easily

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      Father-in law watched me de-bone a few northern and proceeded to tell me to leave the bones in on anything I gave them. Old school and thought I was wasting to much fish. LB

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    9. Back To Top    #9
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      I've seen guys pretty fast at it but not me. After watching a few videos I printed a copy of this guide and looked at it while learning.

      I do like LB mentioned, cut fillets about 3 '' or so and use the knife flat (horizontal) wear reading glasses if you have them and take your time.

      Name:  y bones.gif
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      That's a good illustration Davey with one exception. Your illustration depicts y bones going all the way to the tail. Even before I knew how to remove y bones, I always cut the tail piece off and it was boneless. I'm pretty sure the y bones end when the rib bones end.

      If you do not want to bother removing the y bones here is a suggestion. Remove the tail fillet from the end of the body cavity, it is boneless. After removing the rib bones cut the remaining fillet in half the long way on the lateral line. The belly meat is boneless and the loin meat has the y bones. Fry the loin fillets in a separate pan and serve on a second serving plate because these have y bones. If you know which fillets have y bones removing them while eating is not a problem except for little ones. Give them boneless pieces.

      Me - I'll remove y bones. Northerns on Metigoshe are plentiful.

      At the 4 minute mark on the top video above he is pointing to the last y bone. It is just above the vent/anus at the lower end of the body cavity. Everything below that point to the end of the tail is boneless.

      Name:  Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 11.24.39 AM.jpg
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      Last edited by sl1000794; 02-28-2021 at 11:49 AM.

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      Your right SL , I hadn't notice that . There's a sweet spot that starts about half way between the end of the rib cage and tip of the tail.

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      this is a learned skill... i have cleaned thousands of boneless walleyes, and cannot get a boneless pike fillet - no matter what technique i've tried... the guys that can are magic...

      it's kinda like a redneck trying to do math with letters in it - it just doesn't work...

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      please do not judge me... i'm a minority... a "taxpaying american"...

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      Wallys only have rib bones and pin bones and like y bones the pin bones are only in the lateral line above the body/belly cavity.

      Both the Wally pin bones and the northern y bones are to give the fish structural stability/strength from the lateral line to the dorsal fins/bones.

      The tail needs to be flexible to give the fish propulsion therefore no pin or y bones are needed or helpful.

      Raider, I'm a degreed civil engineer so I guess I conquered the math with letters and numbers.

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      Last edited by sl1000794; 02-28-2021 at 08:52 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by sl1000794 View Post
      Wallys only have rib bones and pin bones and like y bones the pin bones are only in the lateral line above the body/belly cavity.

      Both the Wally pin bones and the northern y bones are to give the fish structural stability/strength from the lateral line to the dorsal fins/bones.

      The tail needs to be flexible to give the fish propulsion therefore no pin or y bones are needed or helpful.

      Raider, I'm a degreed civil engineer so I guess I conquered the math with letters and numbers.
      you sir, may be too edjumicated to be comfortable here - but thank you...

      usually the knowledge cut off is 3 kinds of booze and 2 kinds of mix, max... you apparently slipped through the screening process...

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      please do not judge me... i'm a minority... a "taxpaying american"...

    15. Back To Top    #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by raider View Post
      you sir, may be too edjumicated to be comfortable here - but thank you...

      usually the knowledge cut off is 3 kinds of booze and 2 kinds of mix, max... you apparently slipped through the screening process...
      I might fit in. I was a beer drinker for 50+ years, but I made wine with 2 friends for 30+ years in CA and developed a taste for good wine. Five years or so ago I quit beer and drink wine, mostly chardonnay but red wine with red meat usually. My 3 boozes of choice are Crown Royal Apple, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Tanqueray Gin & tonic, so it appears I belong here after all other than one kind of mix!!! Crown and Fireball do not need mix.

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    16. Back To Top    #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by sl1000794 View Post
      I might fit in. I was a beer drinker for 50+ years, but I made wine with 2 friends for 30+ years in CA and developed a taste for good wine. Five years or so ago I quit beer and drink wine, mostly chardonnay but red wine with red meat usually. My 3 boozes of choice are Crown Royal Apple, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Tanqueray Gin & tonic, so it appears I belong here after all other than one kind of mix!!! Crown and Fireball do not need mix.
      you belong... very good taste btw... try the revel stoke pecan whisky - (mothers milk)...

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      please do not judge me... i'm a minority... a "taxpaying american"...

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      quit drinking years ago,but agree ^^^ beer of choice was grainbelt nordeast a lite dark beer to chase down a bump of fireball,slowly regrest to whine,the fancy stuff that comes in a box called "sangria",when I wanted a buzz a splash of cheap vodka in my wine did the job,must say I don't miss the hang over's and can fart w/o shitting my pants.

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      save the tail and rib meat for frying and the rest goes into the pickle jar or canner. y bones taken care of.

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      I like this method personally.


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      Last edited by Rut2much; 03-01-2021 at 01:34 PM.

    20. Back To Top    #20
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      I have only cleaned them a few times. Never to any success. I quit keeping them years ago, and for the most part am a better American for it.

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      Neat

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