Catching a trophy fish is one of the most exciting moments in any anglers life. If you decide to keep and mount this trophy vs have a replica mount made, here are some tips to make sure your trophy is in the best shape before sending to the taxidermist.
- Keep it Separate: In the river hanging fish together on the same stringer is common practice. However, if you catch a trophy, keep it separate from the rest so the fish do not beat each other up, damaging their fins. Do your best to retain the fish as you caught it, don’t damage the scales, and avoid cutting the gills to bleed this walleye. In a live well make sure there is plenty of water to keep it alive and cool while fishing.
- Ice Cold: The winter and spring water is cool enough to keep the color in your fish. Heat will cause some of the fish discoloration. After fishing, get the fish on the top of the ice. Place the side of the fish you want displayed up in the cooler. Keep it on the top of the ice and out of the water. Water flushes the color from the fish.
- The Sooner the Better: Ideally get the fish into the taxidermy right away, the sooner the better to retain the colors.
- Freezer Time: If you can’t get it in right away, wrap the fish in a white wet cloth then wrap it in plastic.
- Face Up: Always face the walleye face up in the freezer. Make sure nothing is set on top; this causes discoloration in the fish.
- Freezer Burn: It can stay in the freezer for 3-6 months. Not much longer. It’s important to ensure the fish doesn’t get freezer burn.
The advice provided will help you ensure you have the best fish mount possible. Mounting a fish is a way to celebrate and remember the adventure. Reflecting back on the time you spent on the water, the fish you caught and people you spent time with. Each time I look at a mount it reminds me of those memories.