Alaska's Real Life Taxidermy Fish Mounts

Alaska's Best Fish Taxidermy

Fish Taxidermy Information and F.A.Q.

Quite literally, taxidermy is the art of "taxing" or working a skin around a mannequin. There are key steps that an angler can take to insure that their trophy will become a breathtaking piece of wildlife art. Whether that trophy fish be a traditional skin mount or a reproduction, information regarding the handling and care of your trophy will be discussed here.

Frequently Asked Questions

"How to" and Other Information

Yelloweye Rockfish
Lingcod
Rainbow Trout

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are your fish mounts fiberglass reproductions or skin mounts?

A: We work in both the skin and the reproduction mediums with our fish taxidermy. It is by combining the working knowledge of both mediums that we are able to produce such exquisite artwork. There are nuances in each standard to be understood and perfected.

Q: What is the proper field care for a fish that will be skin mounted?

A: If you prefer the traditional form of fish taxidermy proper field care is absolutely essential to obtain a high quality skin mount. The steps you will need to follow are outlined in Field Care for Skin Mounts below. The best fish mounts are made following optimal field, so please call if you have questions.

Q: What information do I need provide for a fiberglass reproduction?

A: If you intend to release your fish, we will need the information outlined in Requirements for Fiberglass Reproductions below. If you would like a custom cast made from your fish, please handle your fish properly as outlined in Field Care for a Skin Mounts below. Proper field care will result ing the best fish mount, so please call if you have questions.

Q: How do I care for my finished fish mount?

A: All finished fish mounts, whether they be fiberglass replicas or skin mounts, should be kept out of direct sunlight to reduce fading from UV light. They also need to be dusted to keep that "just caught" luster. Skin mounted fish must be kept away form a heat source (such as a working fireplace).

Q: What species of fish do you mount?

A: From freshwater to saltwater, warmwater to coldwater, if your trophy has scales and fins we can mount it. We can create either a skin mount or a fiberglass reproduction depending on your desires.

Q: Do you specialize in certain aspects of fish taxidermy?

A: We specialize in fish taxidermy, and there are three types of fish mounts. They are traditional skin mounts, fiberglass reproductions and custom molded fish reproductions. We are one of the few taxidermy studios in the world that are proficient in all three areas.

The traditional form of creating skin mounts is a dying art. The realism created in sculpting an accurate fish body, the complexity of handling and mounting a real skin, and then the detailed painting required to produce a perfect specimen can only be accomplished by a master.

Fiberglass reproductions require the skill and knowledge of a master fish taxidermist. In order to make a piece of fiberglass look like a live fish, time and expertise are required.

The most demanding area of fish taxidermy is creating custom molded fish reproductions. Most taxidermy studios order "fish blanks", or fish reproductions, from a manufacturer. We do not. We are capable of molding a trophy fish, a skill most fish taxidermists do not possess. We have an extensive line of our own fish replicas, and the fish reproductions we produce are award-winning.

Q: Do you participate in the "Release a Hog Program"?

A: The Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) is a non-profit organization located in Alaska, which sponsors a program promoting the conservation of Kenai River king salmon. This program is called "Release a Hog Program" (a.k.a. Trophy Mount Program).

To participate, a qualifying angler must first catch and then release a Kenai River king salmon that is 50 inches or greater in length. An $800 certificate towards the taxidermy of a King salmon mount will then be awarded to the angler who participates in the conservation effort.

Since the inception of this program, we have worked closely with KRSA in promoting these conservation values. As an effort to encourage participation in this program, we reduce the price of our King salmon reproductions to show participating anglers our appreciation of their conservation efforts.

Please contact the KRSA at 907-262-8588 or visit www.kenairiversportfishing.com for more information on this program.

Q: What is your turn-around time?

A: This varies depending on the project. Call for an estimated turn-around time.

Q: What is the price of your work?

A: Prices vary according to the species of fish, and extras such as panels, background or the habitat involved. We tell people they are only limited by their imagination and your wallet. Please see our standard fish taxidermy prices for details.

Q: How will you ship my completed fish mount?

A: Your trophy fish mount will be carefully crated and is typically shipped via Federal Express. We ship worldwide, and every shipment is insured.

Field Care for Skin Mounts

Alaska Fishing Photos

Select a show side.— Once you have determined that you have a special trophy the care of your fish must begin at once. Carefully look at both sides of your fish. From here on you want to keep the "show side" of your fish up. By "show side" we mean the side of the fish that is the most perfect. This will be the side that has the least amount of scales missing, least amount of scratching or scarring.

Handle Carefully.— Keep your trophy fish separate from others. If in a cooler or fish box, keep your fish on top of others. This will help to eliminate any blotchiness of the skin that may occur if other fish lay on top of it. Do not gut or otherwise cut or damage your fish. Do not place your fish in a plastic bag or wrap it in newspaper.

Freezing.— If you have access to a freezer you will need a board, or some other type of rigid surface that is as long as the fish is. You will also need a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up), or wax paper that is as long as the fish is. Lay the board in the freezer, lay the freezer paper on top of the board, lay the trophy fish on top of the freezer paper. Make sure nothing is touching the fish from the top or the sides. Freeze the fish solid. After the fish is frozen solid, mist with water creating a glaze over the fish. After the fish is glazed it can be placed in a plastic bag.

If you will not have access to a freezer within 48 hours then the following procedure would apply. Determine the "show" side of the trophy. Keep this "show side" up at all times. Cover both sides of the fish with 20 Mule Team Borax. Lay the fish on a flat surface with ice underneath to keep the fish cold. Do not lay the fish directly on the ice itself. You may not need the ice depending on air temperatures at the time the fish was caught.

If you are ice fishing, the entire outdoors is your freezer! In this instance you can place the fish outdoors to freeze, ideally it should be placed on a rigid surface on top of a piece of freezer paper. Alternatively, place the trophy fish directly on the snow, not on the ice. It needs to be on a completely flat surface so that nothing is poking into it and creating sharp edges on your trophy.

Take photos.— Always remember to photograph your fish! Photos should to be taken within 60 seconds of dispatching your fish, because a color changes occur quickly.

Requirements for Fiberglass Reproductions

Rainbow Trout Fiberglass Reproductions

Measure length.— The live fish must be measured before releasing it back into the water. The most essential measurement necessary is the overall length. This is a nose to end of tail measurement.

Measure girth.— A girth measurement, a circumference measurement at the largest part of the body (directly in front of the dorsal fin) is also helpful, although not essential if the fish is stressed.

Take photos.— Take photos, being careful not to stress your fish! Good photographs will enable us to create an accurate fiberglass reproduction of your fish.

Please remember that the less you stress a fish the better chance it has for survival. With that in mind, the two most important pieces of information you can supply us with is a nose to tail length measurement and a color photograph.

Custom molding.— We can also produce a custom molded fiberglass replica of your trophy fish, which provides more durability and longevity than a skin mount. The result is an exact fiberglass reproduction of the fish you caught, which is positioned according to your specifications. With custom molding, your fish must be delivered fully intact, and field care is the same as with skin mounts.

The best fish mounts are made from the best fish, and whether you keep or release your fish, proper handling will result in both a happy taxidermist and a happy angler.