~wandering monk’s hand carved and painted~

“Mackinaw” or “Lake Trout”

“Salvelinus namaycush”

             This is a carving I made is patterned after a huge lake trout caught in the finger lakes many years ago…while trolling Lake Cayuga with my friends in his dads old Sears “Teddy Williams” 12 foot semi-V and a 7 & 1/2 hp outboard……long before the days of all the super gadgets to catch fish…mono filament and a fiberglass rod was “hi-tech” back then… when this fish was hooked it shot to the surface and leaped out of the water and  into the air several feet…in the process spit out a few smaller trout…some 10″ long…what a scene!!!

These denizens of the “North Country”deep lakes are known for being ferocious and aggressive predators…and are really pretty fish too!The scientific name here actually honors the Native Americans from Canada and whats now northern states in America that depended on the harvest of this fish  much like those tribes of the North West depended on the wild Salmon runs…

~my etsy shop where I sell my carvings~


~pectoral fin detail on this “Mackinaw” carving…I carve “cup & curve” into them to add realism as they appear when swimming~

This hand carved and hand painted “Mackinaw” measures 43″ in length and 9 inches in width…just under 16 inches tall…


~this fish in real life weighed well over twenty pounds!~

I offer this as a 360 degree hanging mount or also as a 3 sided mount meant to hang on a wall…for the latter contact me for more info…they run about 25% less in cost.

~being 100% hand carved and painted this is very eco-friendly way to remember an exceptional catch~

~or just share in the beauty of this creature~


~dorsal fin detail~

It’s meant for display in a shop, restaurant, cabin or lodge…they hang 26″ from either a ceiling or  overhead mount…I carve these to be viewed from any angle…all sides, top, bottom etc…anywhere it can be seen it is finished!…I originally started to make carvings this large for my shop…then had others ask for them too…they really are conversation starters…some of my large art hangs in restaurants, fishing lodges and other gathering places…but is also very special in a cabin or hanging in front of a nice fireplace in your home…



at this time my carvings and art are only for sale

at my etsy shop or my own web site…




my art hangs up  in several continents in over a dozens countries, so I can also ship these to international customers, just contact me so I can research the specifics to you location, or to a broker you use in the US…the crating fee is included in the cost of my art…



~getting the “rough” shape prior to some finer tools~

I try to blend the natural grain of the wood block the fish is carved from with various stains to match up the Mackinaws colors…this makes a texture and patina that is something very special…looking alive…but at the same time reflecting the hand work involved…


~I try to make these look real from every angle, since they are intended to hang and have that 3 dimensional look~



my carvings are done 100% by hand using the most basic sculptors tools…from blocks of pine that are seasoned to a perfect moisture level…all painting is done by hand as well, no stencils or aids as used by some…my calipers are the fingers on my hands…my measuring tool is my eyes!…and the fishes eyes are made by myself using several layers of gold leaf and pigmented paints coated again with several layers of clear epoxy to give a very realistic domed look…no factory made imitations …that would not accomplish for me my goal of a hand work…


this “roughed out” lake trout is just starting its process to completion…end of day two and a half of whats about a 6-7 day project…now comes the fine details that really make the difference, and of course the hand painting which is actually more work than the carving…and a bit more stressful too…but essential to portray this artwork to its fullest…


I don’t use the standard artificial plastic or glass eyes that taxidermists use, but rather “whittle” my own from wood then sand them smooth and paint in stages with varying colors of black and gold leaf…a layer of clear epoxy on the bare wood allows after painting a “glow” to come through… then between coats of pigment use a clear epoxy for a smooth and glossy look…again its my goal to make these as accurate as I can yet still doing all the work by hand…


the end result is not only nice to look at, but also reflects my own personal philosophy of not being so dependent on all the technology available to cut corners…does it take a bit more time?of course, but I never wanted to crank these out strictly for $$…some folks for sure will appreciate this more than others…its amazing too how you can paint these eyes so they appear like the fish is looking at you!


…with just a little more black and this eye is done…here you can see that glow, and this is before the final detail work on the clear epoxy, and the dots around the eye too……


I use an airbrush for some of the base colors, but the majority of all detail work is done “old school” with an artists brush… no two trout or salmon done of the same species will be identical…every one has a personality of its own…I am only doing twenty of each species offered…I figure 200 carvings should take me about ten years along with my bamboo rods and other projects I do…and at that point all I’m going to do is fish for these critters, and put down my tools…


~one of the biggest challenges in making 3 dimensional art, is balancing both sides equally…one sided wall art is far less complex as far as “getting things right!”~


~I follow the annular rings of the wood when making the curve on the caudal fin…using that for inherent strength, and also making the carving have a little “Life”~

all the fins are carved a bit thicker than real life after having some I carved a while back a little too thin break…so I make them strong enough to take a little abuse now…they are curved and veined to get a life like appearance…but with a wood carving this is one of the limitations…especially on such large carvings. I try to get the “ray” counts as close as possible, but not always perfect…



what I offer here is an alternative for some that want a replica or art work of a special fish with a more eco-friendly emphasis…no fiberglass molds that use large amounts of toxic chemicals…not to mention the fact that its entirely done by hand…the amount of glue, paint etc in one of my finished carvings would fill a coffee cup …less than 6 ounces…whereas one of the fiberglass molded products a few gallons…and in a fish this size easily 4+ gallons…that’s a lot of toxic stuff!..and having worked with fiberglass in my career, I choose to stay away from it now because of all the negative health consequences!

~I carve these for those that such things matter!~



there’s about 25 board feet of a slab lumber from  “beetle kill” pine…a few ounces of waterproof glue…about 3 ounces of stain and paint…and a few more of waterproof finish as a top coat…and I almost forgot…about a quart of elbow grease..and this work of art is completed !

housekeeping on these is simple…take them outside and squirt them off with the garden hose…then blot them dry!

100% made by yours truly’s hands…and meant for a lifetime of enjoyment by someone and their friends or customers!



My carvings are my interpretation of creatures I love so much…they are not in the category of “scientific carving”, in which every scale, fin, where every minute detail is measured with a micrometer…and judged for being incredibly perfect in every way…but no where near “kitsch” either…appearing quite lifelike from every angle…a bit of my own impressions that these creatures have left in my memory…and with the level of skills I have turned into my own appreciate this very special part of nature .

I spent some extra time carving the mouth of this creature in a little detail…trying to imagine that day when that trout spit out all those smaller fish it had consumed when we caught it!



~there are three different layers of copper paint  and gold leaf to get the spots having some of the “sheen” found on the real thing~



on this particular work there area few hundred large and even more smaller spots of varying shades with gold leaf over top for a special highlight…this creates a life like iridescence that is seen in real life by these wonders!




when I carve the fins I make curves and cups in them like fish really swimming do…adding a lot to the realism of the carving…

this lake trout was a very, very special catch…I have been searching around for an original “old school” silver spoon to hang from this ones mouth..similar to the type lure used back in the day, that was used to catch this bruiser….carving and painting this fish was & is a real reminder to me of a special time very long ago time with a great friend…maybe it can be the same for you!


~I would love to carve and paint one especially for you…wm~

~contact me if you have a special fish not on my list in this series…

if it swims I can carve it!


~this ones new home~

I also carve on special order extra large size trout and salmon…5-6 feet in length and 12″ wide…I do these for restaurants and fly shops etc…just contact me…