Catch of the Day: How to Preserve a Fish for Taxidermy

rooster fish, mounted, taxidermy

There’s no better way to commemorate a memorable catch than by having it professionally preserved through taxidermy. However, the quality of the final result depends not only on the skill of the taxidermist but also on the care taken to preserve the fish before it reaches the professional’s hands. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps to preserve a fish for taxidermy, ensuring your trophy remains a beautiful reminder of your angling achievement for years to come.

Step-by-Step Guide to Preserving a Fish for Taxidermy

  1. Handle with Care

From the moment you land your fish, handle it with care to avoid damaging the scales, fins, or skin. Use a soft, wet cloth or gloves to hold the fish, and avoid dragging it on the ground or through vegetation.

  1. Take Photos

Before you begin the preservation process, take several high-quality photographs of your fish. These photos will serve as valuable references for your taxidermist to ensure the most accurate and lifelike representation of your catch.

  1. Rinse and Dry

Rinse the fish gently in clean water to remove any dirt, debris, or blood. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to carefully pat the fish dry, paying particular attention to the fins and gills.

  1. Wrap in Plastic

Wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap, making sure to cover the entire fish, including the fins. Press the plastic wrap firmly against the fish’s body to remove any air pockets. This will help protect the fish from freezer burn and preserve its coloration and appearance.

  1. Protect the Fins

Place pieces of cardboard or thin foam around the fins to prevent them from bending or breaking during storage. Secure the protective material with additional plastic wrap or tape.

  1. Double-Bag

Place the wrapped fish in a heavy-duty plastic bag, seal it tightly, and then place the sealed bag into another heavy-duty plastic bag. This double-bagging process will help protect the fish from freezer burn and minimize any odors that may develop during storage.

  1. Label and Freeze

Label the outer bag with the date, species of fish, and any other relevant information. Place the fish in a freezer set at 0°F (-18°C) or colder. Store the fish flat and away from items that may damage the fins or scales.

  1. Contact a Professional Taxidermist

Once your fish is securely stored in the freezer, contact a professional taxidermist as soon as possible to discuss the mounting process. The sooner you can get the fish to the taxidermist, the better the final result is likely to be.


Preserving a fish for taxidermy requires careful handling, thorough cleaning, and secure storage to maintain its appearance and integrity. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your prized catch is well-prepared for the taxidermy process, resulting in a stunning display piece that you’ll be proud to showcase. Remember to consult with a professional taxidermist for expert advice and to achieve the best possible outcome for your trophy fish.