People - eat your salmon bellies and spoon meat please! Actually, it's none of my business what you do, is it, but I think some people don't know that the bellies are actually really tasty, and a lot more people don't even know what spoon meat is, hence this string.
The spoon meat is the name for what is left behind on the carcass after you cut the filet off. Even a flexible knife will still cut a straight line from the edge of the spine out. Your knife would need to be shaped like a capital B to get all the meat. So after cutting off the filet, just take a spoon and run it lengthwise above and below the spine. A thin strip (or thick strip if you aren't the best at fileting ) of meat will come right off, exposing the ribs below. See the photo with the arrow pointing to the spoon meat.
I'm sure plenty of you will wish to write in about how you don't like the bellies and that the spoon meat is not worth the trouble it takes to get it, but consider this: Those of us who hunt know that we are required to take rib meat. It's a pain to remove, but it's the law, and it's perfectly good meat. On a large caribou you may get about 100# of meat total, but the ribs will only amount up to about 3 lbs total, so about 3 - 5%.
Now look at a salmon: getting the spoon meat is easy and quick - takes about 20 seconds or less per fish, total. My buddy and I fileted 9 salmon last night, yielding about 30 lbs of filets, and we ended up with more than 2 lbs of spoon meat. That's closer to 7 or 8% of the weight of the fish, twice as much as the ribs of a caribou, percentage-wise.
And it's really good stuff. Try fish tacos: as you cook it, it breaks apart into little crumbles, saving you the work of having to chop from a full filet. I hit it with some olive oil, lemon pepper, garlic salt, herbs, cayenne pepper, and pan fry it. Cooks in 5 minutes. Bellies are even easier: throw them right on the grill as-is. Most delicate, tasty, and oily meat on the fish, finger-lickin good.\
Anyway, hoping a open a few eyes with this string. Bring a little tupperware and a spoon next time you fillet; you'll be surprised how much meat you were throwing away, especially when you are looking at more than 3 fish. -Gr