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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Dorsal view of a Neoleptophlebia (Leptophlebiidae) Mayfly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Some characteristics from the microscope images for the tentative species id: The postero-lateral projections are found only on segment 9, not segment 8. Based on the key in Jacobus et al. (2014), it appears to key to Neoleptophlebia adoptiva or Neoleptophlebia heteronea, same as this specimen with pretty different abdominal markings. However, distinguishing between those calls for comparing the lengths of the second and third segment of the labial palp, and this one (like the other one) only seems to have two segments. So I'm stuck on them both. It's likely that the fact that they're immature nymphs stymies identification in some important way.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Posts: 1
Mr1911 on Apr 8, 2013April 8th, 2013, 9:12 am EDT
My son started trout fishing a couple years ago, but he doesn't have a dedicated fishing knife. When I search the web for trout knives, I find the small rigid trout & bird knives. What about the long, flexible blade fillet knives? Would a trout fisherman use both? Would a fillet knife be a good overall choice for trout?
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Apr 8, 2013April 8th, 2013, 1:24 pm EDT
Many of us here release our trout, so we may not be up on the most useful knives. A fillet knife is typically the knife of choice for those cleaning fish, though.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Apr 8, 2013April 8th, 2013, 1:24 pm EDT
Well, I dont keep my fish anymore so I only carry a knife primarily for cutting line and such. However,way back when I did, I found that a small jacknife did the job nicely for most small to medium sized trout. For the bigger ones, probably would wait till I got back home and break out the fillet knife!
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Apr 8, 2013April 8th, 2013, 2:18 pm EDT
Never found it a necessity to carry a knife while trout fishing, although a handgun could have come in handy a couple of times. I would think just about any sharp knife of adequate length would do for evisceration, but if you want a boneless, skinless fillet, a flexible fillet knife and a flat smooth surface work best for me. Never really liked the taste of trout, but I do recall a breakfast of trout, scrambled eggs, a variety of sliced fresh fruit and a glass of fine wine that I would do again.
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Apr 9, 2013April 9th, 2013, 8:39 am EDT
There have been times when a trout does not appear it will live if released. In these instances I keep the fish (if legal). I like a buck knife for trout. Cut their throat, cut down the belly, peel out guts, rinse and cook.
The3Ps's profile picture
Norway, Maine

Posts: 3
The3Ps on Apr 12, 2013April 12th, 2013, 2:03 pm EDT
Small old timer or buck folding pocket knife would be best for trout. Always good to have a good fillet knife in the bottom of tackle box, but not so much for fly vest's!
Patience, persistence, presentation!
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Apr 12, 2013April 12th, 2013, 3:11 pm EDT
I like the Leatherman, and tools included in a belt sheath. Don't much like to eat trout so it is all release on them, and whenever I did keep trout it was just gutting them, not filleting them like I would do a perch. That knife is sharp. I feel like a Boy Scout with that knife, needle nose pliers, screwdriver, bottle opener etc. Never use it hardly, but like to have it with me, and play around with it during lunch,and down time.
Posts: 5
Martin595 on Jul 5, 2013July 5th, 2013, 11:17 pm EDT
A good quality and sharp filleting knife makes the job of filleting fish quicker, easier and safer. So it is recommended to all trout fisherman that they should have proper filleting knife
Gus's profile picture

Posts: 59
Gus on Jan 7, 2014January 7th, 2014, 2:23 pm EST
I agree with Martin595, a good filleting knife will do the trick. I fishing for steelhead in the Pacific North West and every so often I'll land a hatcher fish. Those get taken home and put of the grill.
"How do you help that son of a bitch?"

"By taking him fishing"

-A River Runs Through It

PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jan 7, 2014January 7th, 2014, 5:10 pm EST
I use a fillet knife for warmwater fishes that have scales that are easiest handled by skinning. Filleting works great there.

Trout don't tend to need to be skinned though, esp smaller ones. A "trout knife" to me is any blade small enough to insert in the vent and slit the belly. Best is a long slim blade.

But no knife at all works too:
Break the gill isthmus, insert your finger in the esophagus holding the head and supporting the "neck" in the other hand, and rip down toward the vent and what tears off is the pectoral girdle and with it, all the entrails too. A knife can be used to slit the belly at this point which allows easier access to disconnect the intestine at the vent and to remove the dorsal aorta/bloodline (by sliding my thumbnail up it). But, you don't have to use a knife at all on most stream trout.
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 8, 2014January 8th, 2014, 5:37 pm EST
Unless one's trout are as big as salmon.:) Wished more fly anglers whould take home hatchery steelhead to protect the gene pool. What's left of it anyway... :(

Good advice, Paul. I agree any pocket knife will do as long as it's sharp. Smaller ones are easier to use. Used my Swiss Army to clean a big mess of wild brookies this Summer that took very little time. Slit, cut, jerk, run the thumb, rinse and throw on the pile. I use the exact method that you describe only I cut the isthmus as well. The slit allows the thumb to come in behind and under the gills for a better grip and less stress on the head. Man, were they tasty... Careful with planters, guys - you'll jerk their heads off! :):)

P.S. those trout came from a Western Mountain lake that is lightly fished. If not occasionally harvested they quickly overpopulate, stunt and eventually leave the lake lifeless from Winterkill.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Jan 9, 2014January 9th, 2014, 12:00 pm EST
I like fillet knives as an all-round knife. Since I already own one for salmon fishing (a must have knife for Alaska) I use it for most other fish.
Cutco has some amazing knives! I don't own a fishing knife from them, but I do own a hunting knife from them. They are the best! Most of my moose hunting friends use this brand. They guarantee that you can skin three big game animals before resharpening. I even used my drop point outdoor knife from Cutco to skin a squirrel. Overkill? Yes, but I can assure you it was actually the easiest knife to do it with. My friends use their hunting knives like mine to clean salmon that they catch during dip-netting. Ok, I forgot, the post said, "trout knives"...:) I would none the less use it for trout. Since I bought it after I was done fishing for the year, I have not tried it on them yet.

Cutco also has what looks like a good fisherman's knife. I am going to check it out when I need a new fillet knife. I would recommend this brand highly! All of their knives are American made. They also have GREAT warranties, that is if you ever need them.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Strmanglr's profile picture
Posts: 156
Strmanglr on Jan 11, 2014January 11th, 2014, 8:58 am EST
Martín is right.

The right tool for the job is the safest tool. Last thing you want is to get a nasty cut when you are out away from everything. Rapala makes a folding lockblade fillet knife, that's what I carry. Along with a small first aid kit. That knife doesn't have a high quality steel blade so I carry a small sharpener that most knives like that come with.
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 15, 2014January 15th, 2014, 4:19 am EST
Wow.. I couldn't disagree more, guys. Paul gave the best advice, albeit with more diplomacy than I will employ. A long, slim, highly flexible blade pointed directly at your hand and the slippery fish it holds? To make a small slit with the tip? Gives me the heeby jeebies just thinking about it. Good thing you bring a first aid kit with you. Better make sure there's sutures in it. I'd advise keeping ice around as well. Nothing better for transporting severed digits to the hospital...:)

A shorter stiffer blade provides much more control. A filet knife is designed to slip between skin and meat with a sliding slice away from the offhand. If you insist on using one for gutting as well, a good idea is to wear a knit Kevlar glove on the off hand. The pros wear 'em for a reason (even when filleting). Besides providing a better grip for more control and accuracy, risk of cuts is almost nil.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Jawyellowba's profile picture
Posts: 6
Jawyellowba on Feb 11, 2019February 11th, 2019, 8:05 pm EST
You probably want to look for fish fillet knives. They are totally worth the price. I love the Victorinox Knife. It's cheap and comes with a full endorsement from America's Test Kitchen.
Broken Arrow, Ok

Posts: 25
Gt2003 on Feb 26, 2019February 26th, 2019, 12:21 am EST
I found an inexpensive Rapala fillet knife with a 4 inch blade and a plastic sheath with a built in sharpener. I love the smaller size. Came in at less that $10 so no harm if something happens to it.

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