How to measure fish for skin mounting or reproductions?

Elvis Elvis

Knowing how to measure fish for taxidermy purposes is always a handy skill to know. If you are a catch-and-release fisherman (and we hope you are!), it’s important that you will know how to write down the correct numbers to get yourself an accurate reproduction fish later.

As a taxidermist, measuring fish should be an exact science. The various taxidermy supply companies catalog their forms by differing criteria, therefore, you should take down four measurements for every fish you intend to mount. Armed with those numbers, you will be able to fit your fish to a form, regardless of what company you order the form from.

Measuring fish is one part of building a better fish that shouldn’t be done in a hurry either. Be very exact, not rounding your numbers up or down to some easy average.

The Four Necessary Measurments

The four necessary measurements you will need are:

1. With the mouth closed, measure from the point of the lip, to the end of the tail fin. Your tape will lay flat against the fish as you do this, following the conture of the body.

2. Center of Eye to End of Scales.

3. From the collar bone under the gill, to the end of the scales at the tail.

4. Girth.

How to measure fish for skin mounting or reproductions?

Measure the girth at the widest point around the fish.

Write the measurements down in your book as you go, it will look something like 16 1/4 x 12 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 13.

Train yourself to diligently write your measurements in the same order, every time!

When you look at these numbers three or six months from now you need to know the first measurement (for example) is lip to tail; the 2nd will be eye to tail; the 3rd will be gill to tail; and the 4th will be your girth. Never mix up your sequence of measuring and writing down your measurements or you may end up with a very odd fish ,indeed!

(one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish…)


We wish you luck on your way to building a better fish!