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Fish preservation for taxidermy


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If you catch a fish and you want it mounted, what is the proper procedure to follow to keep the fish in the condition that the taxidermist needs?

Looking for info on Winter and Summer.

Thanks.

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I as well use the beach towel and freeze it. I wet the towel first, that way you know all the fins will freeze and not break off. Replicas are good way to go as well. Keep those fish swimming!

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I have wrapped the fish in white dish towels/cheese cloth, make sure all fins are folded in and protect the tail from breaking by playing cardboard or something around it, then I put the whole fish into a box and into the freezer.

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ditto on what riverrat said, I recently dropped one off and he said the most important thing to do is make sure the fins are folded in or down or whatever so they don't break. Another obvious one would be not to let it flop around in thebottom of the boat or on the ice so it doesn't damage itself.

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Yep, what they said. Wrap in wet towel and freeze. Or in my case take off your hoodie sweatshirt, pour water all over it and wrap in that...........gotta do what ya gotta do.

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my buddy had a northern mounted earlier this year and he was told to take some close up pictures of it. you can also call the taxidermist and ask i would recommend using Arrowed 1 taxidermy in big lake he does excellent work on everything and is the fairest price around u can check out the website also but thats just my recomondation

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Shawns taxidermy in Buffalo also does a good job, has a website also and very good prices.........

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the last one I did , I put it in freezer paper and cardboard on the tail. worked good

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Close up pictures will help the taxidermist out a ton. If you have a fish with unique characteristics, try to take the picture as soon as possible. I had a walleye done a couple years ago and this fish had bright orange fins. Without the picture, I would not have been able to get the fish to look how I wanted.

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For Panfish and crappies I have vacuum packed and put in a small box in freezer. keeps fins tight and freezer burn off the fish. Always has worked well for me. Probably will work for larger fish also.

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Another place to consider is Danny Beck's taxidermy in Isle. He does excellent jobs for all species.

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Never wrap a fish with a wet or dry towel then freeze, it'll take the color out've the scales unevenly making it harder to airbrush the colors back in when mounting.

Always wrap a fish with sarah wrap several times or a plastic bag first then take 5 or 6 layers of soaking wet newspaper, wrap it in that then place in a plastic bag and freeze. The sarah wrap will save the colors, the wet newspaper keeps it from freeze drying and also protects the fins from breaking in the deepfreeze because once they're froze they are very delicate.

I've had fish in the freeze for over two years and still we're in excellent to work with and mounted up great.

Throwing a fish on ice in a cooler without putting it in a plastic bag will discolor the fish uneven also.

Sorry about the long email but getting in a fish to mount not cared for in te proper way is one of my pet peeves.

Provide a picture a also because fish coloration will vary from region to region.

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Fishmounter, I just noticed your avantar with the Spear through the Northern. That is a pretty unique mount.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

another vote for danny beck out of isle

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Fishmounter, you do any competitions with your mounts? I would like to come see your set-up.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I agree with Fishing Realtor take some measurements and a few pictures and let it go and have a replica made so someone else has a chance to catch that same fish. It may cost a little more but it save on the fishery.

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with the replicas' taxidermy really can save some of the fish. Yet, you can get a a very good mount.

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with the replicas' taxidermy really can save some of the fish. Yet, you can get a a very good mount.

Might save some fish but doesnt save on your pocketbook

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Well I guess i look at it as saving the future of lakes for the next generation. As much as a lot of people spend on boats and tackle whats an extra $100 for a big fish to get mounted if that much. Plus a replica will look a lot nicer 10 years down the road.

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1775tiller, that is a very good point. The other benefit is you would have a walleye that really looks like a walleye. Not a baseball bat.

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I bet most people wouldn't think twice about dropping $200 or even $300 dollars on a new rode but to spend an extra $100 for a good mount that will last a lot longer they won't do that. I have more fun catching and releasing big fish knowing that someone has a chance to catch it later, as much presure as lakes get more people need to do that or the future of fishing is done.

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I feel like this is kind of a dumb question, but please bear with me as I haven't gone through this process before...Before you freeze the fish, do you let it die? Do you wrap it and freeze it when it is somewhat alive? If you let it die...what is the best way to go about this to ensure the fish doesn't tear itself up? Leave it in the livewell without aeration?

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • MarkB
      My cousin sent me a couple pictures from last week's trip. After the storm, the perch kind of took over the bite and those pictured were all caught on crawlers in 22' of water adjacent to a rock reef . We caught lots of walleyes in this same area. The other picture was take from the Pike River bridge as we were leaving Friday morning. Good Fishing. MarkB 2024 perch.jfif Pike River bridge June 2024.jfif
    • smurfy
      yeppers......nuttin more aggravating the boat motor issues!!!!!!!   what was the problem the first time???????
    • Hookmaster
      Nice fish Kettle. Hope it's really "fixed" next time.
    • Rivergroup
      Our group will be returning in September as well. Wish we were able to be there now to lend a hand.
    • smurfy
      dang...tough to hear..........hope the good people up there recover soon!!!!!!!!!
    • MarkB
      We just returned this afternoon from 6 days on Vermilion. We arrived Saturday and enjoyed 3 fantastic days of walleye fishing. My cousin, our friend Greg, and myself fished several of our spring spots and found fish on all of them. Water temperatures were pretty much 65-67 degrees everywhere we fished. The wind was variable and made boat control a challenge at times. Bait was not an issue and we had success on crawlers(Tim), leeches(Greg), and minnows(me). If I had to pick one of those as catching the most fish, it would be crawlers. Our best day totalled 48 walleyes, 4 smallmouth, and 2 big JUMBOS. We ended up with over a hundred walleyes, 12 jumbos 11"-13", and 10 smallmouth to 18". Our biggest walleye was 24.5" and the balance went from 13"-22". There are lots of 14"-16" walleyes this year which are perfect eaters. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom in some areas but we found very few mayflies in the water column over rock reefs. We caught our fish in depths ranging from 10' to 32'. I didn't fish in any area where I could see mayflies top to bottom in the water column. Slow trolling in the .3mph to .6mph worked and we caught nothing using slip bobbers. Terminal tackle was a 3'-4' 10# flurocarbon leader, 2 lime colored beads, and a plain #6 Gamakatsu walleye hook . Snags are always an issue when fishing in and around the rocks and when the fish are biting they are acceptable. NOW, for the bad news.......Tuesday was a day I won't soon forget. The area suffered devastating torrential rainfall. Lightning was non-stop for several hours and when things settled down, flood damage was everywhere. We checked our rain guage on the side of the cabin and we got 7 3/4 " in a little over 4 hours! Breezy Point road washed out, Mud Creek road washed out as did several others in the area. Cooke business area was completely covered with flood water. I would consider it a disaster area and should be declared as such. We couldn't find a dock anywhere that wasn't covered with water. People were stranded behind flood covered and washed out roads. Dock decking, limbs and such were floating everywhere in the big water. My group sends our prayers to the people of that beautiful country that lost their businesses, homes, and suffered damage to their lake properties. The people of that north country are resilient and we have confidence that they will recover. We stayed our final 3 days but didn't fish at all Tuesday. Our last 2 days showed the effects of the storm. Water temps dropped to 64 degrees and our premo fishing became 10 walleye days. We did manage to catch a dozen really nice jumbos. We plan on returning in September and we pray the area will have returned to normal by then. I haven't figured out how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer yet so no pictures at this time. Good Fishing and God be with you. MarkB
    • SkunkedAgain
      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
    • smurfy
      Heard that too. Also heard 38 was closed for a but north of rapids due to flooding.    I know the water really came up when I was up last week compared to when I was there in April. 
    • Kettle
      Someone said 4 inches in the past week, more expected this weekend. A few roads, including county roads that are asphalt ended up with sink holes. Lakes are the highest I've ever seen in the 30+ years coming to the area and now living here. Several people lost trees Tues night
    • smurfy
      Dang Kettle  that bites. Great to hear fishing was good though.   How much rain you get up that way?
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