Fish Cleaning Table – Build One To Prepare Your Fish For The Pan

For me, fishing is an escape. It allows me to get away from the cares of the world. There is nothing in the world like casting a tight loop at a rising trout, or stripping a streamer for opportunistic salmon. Almost on the same level of fishing is eating well cooked, self-caught fish. Getting the fish from the water to the dinner table takes some preparation, however. Lets look at a useful tool (the fish cleaning table), as well as one of my favorite salmon recipes.

Advantages Of A Solid Fish Cleaning Table

Utilizing a fish cleaning table helps whenever the fish have been netted and need to be prepared for cooking. The hard work is over, as you have caught your limit. Now you need to prepare your catch. Some anglers prefer to fillet their fish. This will require a sharp filleting knife and a flat surface. Others just clean the fish by removing its organs, head, and tail. Both methods will be much easier with the use of a fish cleaning table. Many popular fishing locations will have a designated fish cleaning station. They incorporate a table or flat surface (counter top) with a sink, waste receptacle, and water source. While handy and useful, not all fishing locations have such stations. It might be in your best interest to find a good fishing cleaning table for sale, or build your own to take along. Below is a nice portable fish cleaning station you can pick up from Amazon.

Coldcreek Processing and Filet Table

There are many fish cleaning table plans that could be followed. A portable fish cleaning table, a stainless steel fish cleaning table, or even a fish cleaning table for boat can be built. They can be built with a sink or without. It is really up to you. What you will gain with this tool, however, is the ability to clean or fillet your fish in preparation for cooking them while fishing more remote locations with more ease and efficiency.

I prefer a simple fish cleaning table design. The station that I built is a basic folding card table made of plastic and aluminum. It is portable and I can carry it in my truck to any fishing location. It has a large stainless steel bowl that can be filled with clean water. The table top is hard and flat, which allows me to cut thin fillet sections. It is a simple design, but very effective. Like most anglers, I have cleaned and filleted fish without my table, but it has made things quicker and more sanitary for food preparation.

As for cooking fish, each angler will have to experiment different recipes to find what they like. I love to grill salmon. Here is my favorite recipe for grilled salmon steaks:

Grilled Salmon with Habanero-Lime Butter
Original Recipe Yield: 4 servings

  • Ingredients
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup orange juice
    3 tablespoons lime juice
    1 tablespoon tequila
    1 tablespoon grated lime zest
    1 tablespoon minced habanero pepper
    1 clove garlic, minced
    4 (6 ounce) salmon steaks
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
    1 tablespoon lime juice
    2 teaspoons minced habanero pepper
    2 teaspoons grated lime zest


  1. In a bowl, stir together vegetable oil, orange juice, 3 tablespoons lime juice, tequila, 1 tablespoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon habanero pepper, and garlic. Reserve a small amount to use as a basting sauce, and pour the remainder into a shallow baking dish. Place the salmon in the shallow dish, and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning frequently.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together softened butter, garlic salt, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons habanero pepper, and 2 teaspoons lime zest. Cover, and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat grill for medium heat.
  4. Lightly oil grill grate, and place salmon on the grill. Cook salmon for 5 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish can be easily flaked with a fork. Transfer to a serving dish, top with habanero butter, and serve.

The Bottom Line

Cleaning your catch to prepare it for the pan is a step that can’t be left out. Utilizing a fishing cleaning table or station will help you quickly and easily accomplish this task. Buy one today, or build a fish cleaning station with fish cleaning station plans found online. They can be taken along with you on your next fishing trip to a remote location. If you have a boat at your disposal, set up a fish cleaning station for boat and you will be able to clean and fillet fish out on the water without making a mess of your boat. As always, happy fishing!

What is your favorite fish recipe or favorite fish to eat? How do you prepare your fish for the pan? Please leave your answers in the comments section below. Thanks!

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