how much does it cost to mount a fish

How Much Does It Cost To Mount A Fish?

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If you have ever caught a really big fish that you were super proud of, a so-called trophy fish, then something that you might want to do is to mount it, so you can keep it in your home forever. It definitely makes for a good memento, but with that being said, mounting a fish is of course not free. So how much does it cost to mount a fish?

Depending on the type of fish, you can expect to spend up to $20 per inch of fish. It varies depending on the type of fish, and they are generally divided into three categories which are warm water fish, cold water fish, and saltwater fish. Warm water fish cost up to $15 per inch, cold water up to $18 per inch and saltwater fish can be up to $20 per inch. 


mounted largemouth bass-fish

How Is The Cost Determined By The Taxidermist?

As mentioned in our opening paragraph, there are two factors that go into determining how much it will cost to mount a fish by a taxidermist.

First and foremost, the cost is determined by the type of fish. As mentioned above, these are divided into three categories, including warm water fish such as walleye, bass, pike, and other sunfish, cold water fish such as salmon and trout, and saltwater fish (any ocean fish). Moreover, the cost is then also determined by how long the fish is.

For warm water fish you can expect to spend anywhere from $11 to $15 per inch of fish. For cold water fish, you can expect to spend anywhere between $14 and $18 per inch of fish. For saltwater fish, you can expect to spend anywhere between $15 and $20 per inch of fish.

Coldwater Fish are generally much more expensive to mount then warm water fish, mainly because their skin is a lot oiler and requires a longer drying time.

Saltwater fish are even more expensive to mount because they do also live in cold water, so they have oily skin, plus the salt can also cause some issues.

So, in the grand scheme of things, and could expect to spend anywhere between $11 and $20 per inch of fish that you want to mount.

Replica vs Skin Mount: What’s The Difference?

The two main methods of mounting a fish are skin mounting and replica mounting. Now the major difference here is that with skin mounting, the fish skin is used in the final product.

In other words, a taxidermist will build a plastic or foam mold or the center or core with the actual skin or the real skin of the fish, then being wrapped around it. So, with the skin mount method you actually get a real part of the fish in the final product.

When it comes to the replica mount method, the difference is that there is no part of the real fish included here.

What you do here is provide the taxidermist with the measurements of the fish as well as a picture of the fish , and he or she will then create an exact replica out of plastic, foam, and other such materials.

Now, most people do like the skin mount method because it comes with a physical part of the original fish, but with that being said, taxidermy has come so far, that if the work is well done, being able to tell the difference between the two is nearly impossible.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Replica Skin Mount?

mounted trout fish

Nowadays, getting a replica skin mount costs about the same amount of money as getting a skin fish mount.

You can expect to spend anywhere from $10 to $20 per inch, although this cost is likely to be on the lower end of the spectrum.

What To Do If You Want To Get A Fish Mounted?

OK, so if you want to get one of your trophy fish mounted, you need to take the proper steps in order to preserve the fish, so about the taxidermist can then work on it.

Of course, you don’t want the fish to rot or get really smelly before the taxidermist gets a chance to work their magic.

For a Replica Mount

If you want to get a replica fish mount, there are just a couple of things that you need to do.

You will need to provide the taxidermist with the length and the girth of the fish as well as the weight of the fish and you also want to provide the taxidermist with as many photos as possible, making sure to cover all of the angles.

You just need to send them information to a taxidermist, and they will take care of the rest for you.

For a Skin Mount

Seeing as getting a skin mount does involve a part of the actual fish, it does mean that there is a bit more work involved.

In other words, you need to make sure that the fish stays good until the taxidermist can get to it. What you need to do here is to thoroughly rinse off the fish.

You then want to wrap it fish in a moist towel. Put that fish wrapped in a moist towel inside of a large plastic bag and tape it shut.

Put the whole thing in the freezer with the big side facing up and ensuring that it stays in there for at least two days.

Once the fish is completely frozen solid, you can then bring it to a taxidermist for the next steps.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Fish Mounted?

How long it takes to get a fish mounted really depends on the fish in question, as well as the taxidermist you bring it to.

Generally speaking, you can expect this process to take anywhere from three months to over a full year.

Yes, you can condense this time down to about two months for some species of fish, but simply put, most taxidermist shops takes so long because they just have massive backlogs.

They have tons of work to get done and this means that you are going to wait for the people who are in front of you.

Now, what is important to note is that the longest part of this fish mounting process is the drying process, which takes around six weeks for warm water fish, and up to twice as long for saltwater fish and cold water fish.

This is the process that you really do not want to rush because they fish is not dried properly, the whole thing is going to come undone.

If a fish is not dried properly, it can lead to the mounted fish leaking oil, and that will absolutely demolish its appearance and it will smell too. Once again, this is not a process that you want to rush.


Can You get a Fish Mounted from a Picture?

OK, so to do a skin mount you obviously need the real fish, but if all you want is a replica mount, then yes, the taxidermist can make a replica mount out of pictures.

Well, technically speaking, they won’t make the mount out of pictures, but they will use the pictures as well as the measurements you provide them with as a reference to make what essentially amounts to a model fish.

Where Can I Find a Taxidermist Near Me?

The easiest way to find a taxidermist near you is to use Google. You can also check an old school phone book, you can fishing forums, check directories, or just to ask other people that you know who already have mounted fish.

If you live out in the countryside, finding a taxidermist really shouldn’t be very hard.

Any Tips on Choosing the Right Taxidermist?

Let’s go over some quick tips on how to choose the right taxidermist to get your fish mounted.

Word of mouth is a pretty good way to go here. So, if you have any Fisher buddies who have already had fish mounted, a good idea is to ask them for their opinion.

If you do get a recommendation from somebody, ask for a photo of the work that they got done or even better, asked to see the real thing.

Another good way to go here is to simply read some online reviews. People are more than willing to share their experiences and opinions or work that they got done with everybody who is willing to listen.

You can always visit the taxidermist themselves and just see what their work looks like.

The other thing to keep in mind here is that quality does matter. If there are three taxidermists, each with different price ranges, you are probably better off choosing the more expensive one. It really doesn’t pay to get cheap work down here.

How Much Does It Cost To Mount A Bluegill?

How much it costs to mount a bluegill does of course depend on the size. Bluegills are warm water fish, so expect to spend up to $15 per inch of fish. Worst case scenario, a 10-inch bluegill could cost you around $150 to mount.

Related: DIY guide to taxidermy a fish.


There you have it folks, everything you need to know about the cost of mounting a fish.

Now that you know, you can choose between replica mounts, and skin mounts, plus you should now also know how to choose the right taxidermist.