Some of The Best Fish Carvers in
The World

1957 - 2011

Simon's fascination for nature and wildlife have influenced his whole life. Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Creativity was always a big issue and portrait and wildlife painting soon became a full-time activity. After moving from England to the Netherlands in his early twenties, meeting his wife and starting a family, Simon became a taxidermist at the University Museum in Utrecht.

His driving urge to create in many different media, convinced him to branch out and start his own company in the south of Holland. Sculpture, painting, woodcarving and taxidermy have earned him International success and notoriety and his works can be seen in many Museums, visitor centers and private collections around the world. Simon has entered his fish carvings at the World Fish Carving Championships, and has three Best in World titles.

Click HERE to visit Simon's website.

St. Petersburg, RUSSIA

"In my work I use the only "warm" material in theClick to Enlarge world- wood. I feel it's warmth with my hands,it helps me to get closer to Click to Enlarge understanding the fragile essence of birds and fish. My work is painstakingly intricate. I sometimes even have to hold my breath for a few seconds when carving certain fragments. It doesn't matter that the work takes 5 -10 months of my life-  I am a happy man." Andrei Tunikov

Andrei's website is down right now, so I am unable to provide more information about him. He has always been a consistent winner at the World Fish Carving Championships.

Billings, Montana, U.S.A.

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Clark has had a life-long love affair with rivers and the myriad of species that make their home in and around their life-giving Click to Enlarge waters. Beginning in his childhood in Sheridan, Wyoming and eventually to Billings, Montana, he has relished in water and wild places, wild creatures and natural world around him. Fishing, hunting, canoeing and backpacking are all pastimes he enjoys.

Having a strong desire to blend his passion for wildlife with his vocation, his early childhood drawings and sculptures led to an award-winning career in taxidermy which was eventually set aside for a calling to do wood and bronze sculpture full-time.

Clark`s sculptures are all inspired by wildlife and predominantly fish, for which he has won 4 World Championships. Although, a majority of his carvings are painted and highly realistic, he also enjoys carving in the interpretive, natural finish style with Rocky Mountain Juniper being his wood of choice. While Clark`s sculptures are all originals, several have been chosen to be cast in bronze and are available in limited editions.

EL Cajon, California, U.S.A.

Bob set the standard for fish carving in the 1980s, sweeping all the major divisions at the World Championships in 1986. He has mentored virtually all the leading fish carvers through his seminars and classes around the country and has served as a judge at the World Chamionships for several years.

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It was in the early 1980s that Bob began to focus on carving fish and quickly became the leading fish carver in the country. He won the first ever World Fish Carving Championships in 1985.

His new website, the result of his on-going dedication to promoting the art of fish carving, features galleries of his award winning carvings, bronzes, custom order prints, and instructional books and patterns.

La Mesa, California,U.S.A.

Lance Lyons has been a wildlife artist for over 20 years, and with his first carving he took second place at the World Fish Click to Enlarge Carving Championships and has won numerous awards since. In 1998, Lance took First Place and Best of Show at the Pacific Southwest Wildfowl Arts California Open Nationals, and in 2001, took Best in World at the World Fish Carving Championships.

Being a second generation taxidermist and fish mount artist for the world renowned studio of Lyons and O'Haver has given Lance the opportunity to study the anatomy of fish extensively and accurately. Years of fishing worldwide has added to his knowledge and has accelerated his career. Lance's specialty is fine art wood sculptures which are precise in accuracy right down to individually carved scales, fin rays and wrinkles.

Edward J. Walicki - Master Fish Carver
Novi, Michigan, U. S. A.
(1964 - 2008)
"I was blessed for being around him."
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Professional wildlife artist Ed Walicki was an award winning artist in sculptures in urethane, wood and stone for over 20 years. Known best for his work in aquatic wildlife reproductions Eds realistic sculptures won Best of Show honors for a record four consecutive years at the Great Lakes Fish Decoy Association World Competition and a Best of Show at the Ward Foundation Fish Carving Competition, as well as numerous national and international awards. Working from his studios in Novi and Grayling Michigan Ed specialized in collectable fine art fish sculptures and nature themed commercial exhibits. His comprehensive in-house mold making and casting capabilities provided additional production benefits for his clients still today. His work is on display in galleries, museums and private collections around the world.

"Probably the greatest fish carver that should be credited
with furthering the art form, is Ed Walicki."

In addition to his original sculptures, Ed has pioneered a full line of fish carving instructional materials, tools, and products used by professional wood carvers and sculptors worldwide. Ed also taught hands-on classes in woodcarving, stone carving, urethane carving and mold making and casting in his Novi, Michigan home and his retreat/fish camp in Grayling, Michigan.

"Ed did more with fish carving classes and carving aids
than anyone ever did, even today."

Those who knew Ed as a teacher were blessed with his willingness to share new ideas and concepts that he had learned himself, making for a wonderful learning environment. Ed constantly pushed the envelope with what could be done in making molds and casting materials. He will be not only remembered for his beautiful fish creations, but for his willingness to share an idea or lend a hand in whatever creation his friends or students were working on. He will be remembered as someone with a driving passion for creating beautiful fish, a tremendous love for his "Kirs", and son Kyle, and as an ardent and gifted fly-fisherman.

"He will be remembered as someone with a driving passion
for creating beautiful fish."

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I knew Ed very well and talked with him and Kirsten up until his death. I miss him greatly and he and I talked almost daily. Ed kept trying to convert me to fish carving but I just couldn't exchange feathers for scales, I suppose.

Ed had no idea that I was a minister until after my first week long class with him and we were on our way back to the airport. He so appreciated how I viewed ministry and it allowed him to be Ed up until the day he died. What a fighter he was as well! He really believed he was going to whip his cancer . He had an exceptional mind, and I mean exceptional.

Ed, passed away in 2008 and his DVDs on carving/mold making are still recognized as some of the best on the market as well as his fish carving reproduction casts and other aids. His wife Kirsten and son Kyle, continue to the business today and are still actively selling Eds products.

Kerry Smith
Text courtesy Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith is an accomplished bird carver and sculptor, who lives in Memphis, Tennessee
Click HERE to visit Kerry's website.
Photographs courtesy Kirsten Walicki, Howell, Michigan

Sebago, Maine,U.S.A.

Gene spent his childhood in Alabama and developed a lifelong love of nature and wildlife. His grandfather taught Gene how Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge to draw and color with pastels, and instilled in Gene a love of art and a lasting confidence in his abilities. After serving in the Navy, he moved to Sebago, Maine, and in 1976, Gene began a taxidermy business, with a major interest in fish. Gene started fish carving in 1986 after attending the Maine Wildlife Woodcarving Competition. While continuing a successful career in taxidermy he has expanded into wildlife artistry, working in watercolors, oils, ceramic, wood and bronze. In 1991 he opened a gallery where a variety of his pieces are on display for viewing or purchase.

Gene has devoted his creative efforts to portraying wildlife in beautiful and creative ways that make environmental statements and inspire people to think about clean water, the "Catch and Release" program, endangered species and above all to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Barrington, New Hampshire,U.S.A.

Some of my earliest memories are of fishing with my dad on Craddock Creek a quiet inlet on the Eastern Shore of Virginia whose waters nearly entered our backdoor. On this peninsula, located between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, fishing, crabbing and clamming were a way of life for pleasure as much as necessity.

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By the age of nine, I fished regularly for red drum, cobia, speckled trout, summer flounder, weakfish, spot and croaker. For a Click to Enlarge greater challenge, I would venture to the "seaside," and fish the shoulders of Virginia's barrier islands for blue fish and striped bass. My fly fishing career began in 1992 on the shores of the Miramichi River where, in a real downpour, I caught my first fish on a fly rod a five-pound grilse.

After college, I spent some time working in France and served a stint in the venture capital industry. But it was a 24-inch speckled trout that I caught in the mouth of Craddock Creek that pointed me in the direction of my true calling -- one that incorporates my love of fishing, my fondness of paint and color and my belief in preservation.

I carve fish in the tradition of the great trophy fish carvers John B. Russell, John and Dhuie Tully, P.D. Malloch and the Hardy Brothers. I am inspired not only to continue this tradition but also, through my work, to promote the preservation of all fish species.

Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, CANADA

A fitting name for a wildlife artist. Teom Lim translated from his ancient Hainan dialect means "deep wilderness". Since his Click to Enlarge early childhood, Teom was influenced by his father ( a world traveller and outdoorsman). Stories of jungle expeditions, fishing trips and exotic wildlife were deeply imprinted into the child's imagination. Most of his formative years were spent playing in the pristine wilderness of Alberta, Canada. There his love for the land and water grew and eventually lead him to an education in biology. With his passion for the outdoors, a university degree to fortify his passion and an artistic eye, Teom is blessed with rare perspective on wildlife art.

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His career as a wildlife artist started as a bet from a friend. Since then Teom has won and successfully defended the Canadian Fish Carving Championship title four times. He has also captured two blue ribbons at the World Fish Carving Championships. As demand for Teom's art increases, he finds it difficult to keep up with competition pieces and commission work. Upon advice from other artists, Teom has begun to reproduce his work in signed and numbered copies.

Spanaway, Washington, U.S.A.

Dan Patterson is an award winning northwest artist and instructor Click to Enlarge who works in many mediums, wood being one of his favorites and fish being his favorite subject. Since 1985 he has been painting fish for taxidermists and in 1988 started his own business.

His woodcarvings of fish have won numerous awards at shows and competitions. The experts classify Dan's creations in wood as fine art and his passion to replicate his subject just as it is in nature is ranking him among the top realistic wildlife artists in the country.

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Dan's art differs from most as his ambition is to be as technically correct with his fish renderings as possible. Dan is a native Nebraskan and after twenty-three years serving in the US Army, he now lives in Washington State with his wife Connie.

Nisswa, Minnesota U.S.A.

Jeff's expertise in taxidermy at a young age, soon lead to opportunities Click to Enlarge for judging at state, national and world taxidermy shows. Jeff was asked to judge on the panel of the first ever World Fish Carving Championships in 1985, exposing him to the art of fish carving. He won the next World Championships in 1987 and currently holds three world titles.

Jeff's understanding of nature coupled with his exceptional artistic talent enable him to carve a wide range of subjects from freshwater to saltwater fish to decorative birds and decoys. With his passion and attention to detail, Jeff creates one of a kind carvings that capture the essence of the species perfectly.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge MIKE WINDAUER
Polson, Montana, U.S.A.

Mike has been a consistent winner at the World Fish Carving Championships, with several major wins.

In 1997 he won Third in World Decorative Lifesize with three Graylings. In 2001 at the worlds, he was successful in winning Second in World Decorative Lifesize with a Brown Trout. Mike won another major award in 2003, Third in World Decorative Lifesize with a Steelhead carving.

Woodland Park, Colorado, U.S.A.
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Cyril won big in 2001 at the World Fish Carving Championships. He not only took Best in World Decorative Miniature with a Golden Trout carving, but also Best in World Natural Finish with a Trout and Fly carving.

As a member of "Champions for Trout", he carved a miniature Colorado Cutthroat Trout, and it was on display at the 2007 World show in Reno. In 2008, his carving, with five other fish carvings were auctioned off on Ebay. The money raised will help support selected conservation efforts that enhance and or protect wild fish populations.

Sparks, Nevada, U.S.A.
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Bill won Third in World at the 2001 World Fish Carving Championships, with a Steelhead carving.

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1997- he won Third in Trout, Salmon and Char Division, Decorative Lifesize with a Brown Trout.

1999- First in Trout, Salmon and Char Division, Decorative Lifesize with a Brook Trout.

2007- Second in Trout, Salmon and Char Division, Decorative Lifesize with a High Mountain Cutthroat.

Bigfork, Montana, U.S.A.

In the beginning of his career at age 24, he won Best in World at the 1992 World Fish Carving Championships, with his wood sculpture called "Mystery of the Redd". Soon after he was introduced to clay and the real excitement began. He soon began producing literally hundreds of clay sculptures to be cast in bronze. His sculptures are highly acclaimed, winning him awards and honors nationwide.

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Eric's bronze wildlife sculptures, figurative sculptures, paintings & prints are featured worldwide in publications and TV. Major corporations, celebrities and private collectors enthusiastically collect his bronze wildlife sculptures, figurative sculptures, paintings & prints. Sales of his wildlife sculptures has generated millions of dollars in contributions to non profit organizations.

Eric's subjects for bronze wildlife sculptures, figurative sculptures, paintings & prints are diverse, but are often focused on human and animal subjects. Eric also enjoys painting landscapes. His main gallery is located in Bigfork, Montana.

Photographs and text courtesy the carvers, Breakthrough Magazine, and Ron Bailey

Dale and Grace
I'm Leaving It Up To You
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