Best Knife for Cutting Through Salmon Skin: Easy Fileting Tips

Salmon is extremely healthy, but it can be a bit tough to slice through the skin. As survival foods go, the rich, flavorful meat provides plenty of healthy protein and many omega vitamins. If you’re lucky enough to be somewhere you can fish salmon; I highly recommend doing so. Cut into thin strips, salmon makes excellent jerky and preserves well. Regardless of how you eat it, unless you plan to chew the skin, you’re going to need to remove it first. 

Don’t just hack away at your salmon with a pocket knife. It’s vital to have a thin, flexible blade made for fileting. There are many ‘salmon knives,’ but they are for fileting salmon that’s already cut open and cleaned in a kitchen. For field dressing and eating at camp, a high-quality filet knife will serve you better to get through that tough skin. Moreover, filet knives tend to be smaller and more lightweight, making them easier to carry than longer salmon knives. 

What to Look For in a Filet Knife for Salmon 

Finding the right filet knife to cut through salmon skin is relatively simple. Consider a few basic factors. First, look at your gear cache size. If you need to carry it on your back, then opt for smaller lightweight knives. However, when outfitting a full BOL survival kitchen, add a larger knife. 

Always look at the steel. If a knife doesn’t immediately list the type of metal, it’s worth looking into to make sure yours is high-quality. Additionally, flexibility matters a great deal. Cutting through the skin and removing it requires a blade that isn’t thick and unmovable. 

Finally, always check the reviews to see what others have to say about knives. There will always be one or two who dislike a product, but overall, you want to know what longtime users have to say about the durability, corrosion resistance, and other features. 

How To Prepare Salmon

Preparing salmon is easy with the right knife. You have to be able to get through the skin, but you’ll also want to have a blade made for slicing fish. Thus a fishing filet knife is ideal. To prepare your fresh-caught salmon, follow the steps below. 

  1. Lay your salmon flat on its side on the cutting board.
  2. Remove the fatty belly.
  3. Make a slice from below the head to above the tail. 
  4. Pro Tip- Make a small slice into the tail area to hook a finger inside and cut the rest of the fish.
  5. (Optional) Chop off the head and tail if you don’t want to eat them. 
  6. You can now filet or cook your fish as you like.

Removing the skin requires a little practice, so you don’t take too much of the meat, but a good flexible filet knife can handle both jobs easily. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll see how much difference the right knife can make.

Top Five Best Knives for Cutting through Salmon Skin

Choosing the right knife to cut through salmon skin should be very simple, but it’s not. With hundreds of pages online, and listings for lots of knives that claim to be made just for salmon, how do you know what to pick? Fortunately, I’ve been salmon fishing for a couple of decades, and I have tried many knives. A good fileting blade will get through both the skin and meat without taking up excess space in your pack. After trying dozens and reading about hundreds of knives, I’ve narrowed it down to this carefully curated top five list. Any of the blades here will get through that thick skin fast.  

1.KastKing Fillet Knife

Made of G4116 German stainless steel, the KastKing Fillet Knife from Amazon is a durable, flexible blade that can easily handle your salmon skin. Whether you’re gutting fish or slicing it up to fry, you’ll appreciate having this high-quality tool in your pack. Plus, you can choose from different blade lengths to suit your needs. 

The non-slip super polymer grip makes an excellent boat knife. Not only is it safe and comfortable, but it also makes for easy cleanup when you’re done. Moreover, you also get a matching vented sheath for easy cut-free carry. Best of all, your sheath comes with a safety latch to keep the blade in place.

A bright safety orange handle and sheath make it easy to find in any lighting conditions. The KlastKing company prides itself on affordable innovation so everyone can have the right tools for the job. See the incredible Amazon reviews for KastKing by clicking here.

2. Kershaw 9” Curved Fillet Knife

The Kershaw Nine Inch Curved Fillet Knife comes from a well known and trusted brand. This outstanding blade is corrosion and rust-resistant. You will love this knife for its reliable durability in any situation.

The well-fitting blade protector will keep your knife and your equipment safe and help prevent accidental cuts or piercing damage. Furthermore, the high-performance 420J2 stainless steel is flexible enough for filets and tough enough to hold an edge well. Additionally, a glass-filled nylon handle with the exclusive K-Texture grip on the overmold stays secure in your hand regardless of the conditions. 

Finally, the curvature on this blade gives you superb cuts. Meant for medium to large fish, you will easily slice through the toughest salmon skin. Have a Kershaw delivered to your door when you order from Amazon right here.

3. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife

The high friction handle on this Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife makes cutting through tough salmon skin a breeze. No one wants to cut their hand, and a superb handle makes that less likely. Additionally, the Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel is known for its hardness, corrosion resistance, and razor sharpness. This knife can hold a fine edge longer. 

The Morakniv is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup and requires no special maintenance beyond the usual sharpening. With a blade thickness of 0.07 inches (1.9 mm), you won’t have to carry an overly bulky tool to handle tough fish. Furthermore, this blade weighs just 3.5 oz. (99g). 

For those who prefer a smaller street-legal blade for their EDC, the Morakniv also comes in a smaller size. I recommend having both lengths in your survival equipment for different situations. However, having a more compact option makes it easier to handle the smaller fish, which is a nice bonus. Best of all, this knife ships with a dull edge from the factory so you can sharpen it to suit your personal style more easily. Get your Morkaniv Filet Knife when you click here.

4. DPNAO Fillet Knife for Fishing

A DPNAO Fishing Fillet Knife is outstanding for slicing salmon flesh, removing the skin, and deboning your catch. Not only is this nine-inch long knife razor-sharp, but it comes with a pocket-sized sharpener to keep that edge. Regardless of how many fish you catch, you need a fine edge for all of them.

The nonslip handle and convenient sheath make this knife great for camping. Moreover, the unique red blade makes it easy to spot, so you won’t have to worry about losing your knife when you need it most. Flexible stainless steel doesn’t rust easily, even if you drop it in the water. 

DPNAO believes in its products. To prove it, they offer a one year warranty with every knife, and you’ll appreciate the excellent customer service that comes with it. Find out more about DPNAO by clicking here.

5. Rhinoreto Fish Fillet Knife

The non-stick coating on this Rhinotero Fish Fillet Knife earned it a spot on our list. There’s nothing worse than a knife that gets gummed up and caught easily. Furthermore, the ergonomic, nonslip rubber handle is a unique shade of blue, easy to locate within your equipment. 

You won’t need to worry about a dull blade with the easy to use, dual-sided sharpener. Both the blade and sharpener come in a convenient blister pack. Plus, you get a convenient vented blade cover to keep your knife safe wherever your travels take you. 

Better still, the Rhinoreto is made for both left and right-handed wielders. Moreover, a convenient guard adds an extra layer of finger and slip protection. See more details on Amazon when you click here.

Final Thoughts

Salmon skin can be tough, but with the right knife, it’s no trouble at all. Skip the fancy ‘salmon knives’ unless you’re stocking a professional kitchen. You need a flexible filet knife for survival fishing because it will get through the skin and help you slice the pieces you need all in one knife. 

Salmon knives are fine in a kitchen where you have plenty of space and don’t need to worry about where to pack a bigger knife. However, most so-called salmon knives are a foot long or more. Especially when you’re packing for survival, you want a smaller and more versatile knife. 

Carrying a salmon filleting knife will do more than make sure you can eat fish without the skin. The flexible, thin blade takes less space in your pack, and it’s good for other meats as well. 

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