The Ultimate Guide to Fish Taxidermy: Step-by-Step Instructions for Beginners


Fish taxidermy is a captivating art that allows enthusiasts to preserve the memory of their prized catches in a lifelike and artistic manner. While it may seem daunting at first, this step-by-step guide is designed for beginners, offering comprehensive instructions to help you embark on your fish taxidermy journey.

Materials Needed:

  1. Fish specimen
  2. Taxidermy foam manikin
  3. Sharp knife
  4. Wire
  5. Needle-nose pliers
  6. Fish skinning tool
  7. Borax
  8. Fish mounting stand
  9. Clear fish lacquer
  10. Paints and brushes

Step 1: Choose the Right Fish

Select a fish specimen that is in good condition, with vibrant colors and intact fins. It’s crucial to choose a fish that is appropriate for your skill level; simpler species are recommended for beginners.

Step 2: Measure and Order a Foam Manikin

Measure the length and girth of your fish to order a foam manikin of the appropriate size. The manikin serves as the internal structure, providing support for the skin and ensuring a realistic final result.

Step 3: Skin the Fish

Carefully skin the fish using a fish skinning tool. Begin by making an incision along the dorsal fin and proceed along the body, taking extra care around delicate areas like the gills and eyes. Remove the skin in one piece.

Step 4: Flesh and Clean the Skin

Using a sharp knife, delicately flesh the skin, removing any remaining meat or fat. Wash the skin thoroughly to ensure it is clean and free from debris.

Step 5: Prepare the Manikin

Position the foam manikin on the fish mounting stand. Insert wires into the manikin to mimic the fish’s skeletal structure, using needle-nose pliers to shape them accordingly.

Step 6: Mount the Skin

Place the cleaned skin over the manikin, ensuring a snug fit. Use borax to preserve the skin and absorb any residual moisture. Secure the skin in place by stitching it to the manikin, paying attention to fin placement.

Step 7: Paint and Detail

Once the skin is securely mounted, paint the fish to match its natural colors. Use reference photos to capture the nuances of the species. Add details such as scales, eyes, and fins for a lifelike appearance.

Step 8: Lacquer for Preservation

Apply a clear fish lacquer to the finished mount to protect it from environmental factors and ensure its longevity. This step enhances the overall appearance and durability of your fish taxidermy.

Step 9: Display with Pride

Your fish taxidermy is now ready for display. Choose an appropriate location to showcase your creation, whether it’s a trophy catch or a beautiful species you’d like to immortalize.


Fish taxidermy is a rewarding and artistic endeavor that allows beginners to preserve the beauty of their catches. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can embark on a successful fish taxidermy project and create a stunning display piece to commemorate your fishing adventures.

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