Billings fish carver shows world championship work Dec. 7

2013-11-22T00:15:00Z Billings fish carver shows world championship work Dec. 7 The Billings Gazette

Clark Schreibeis, a Billings professional wildlife carver/sculptor, won Best in World honors in the Decorative Life-size Division and was also chosen as Judge’s Choice Best of Show at the 2013 World Fish Carving Championships at Springfield, Ill.

The championship pieces, along with more of his wildlife sculptures and paintings, will be on display during an open house at East Rosebud Fly and Tackle, 1314 24th St. W., on Dec. 7. Schreibeis will be there in the store celebrating the season and his wins from 1 to 4 p.m. The public is invited.

Schreibeis has been awarded Best of Show five times at the event. Wood carvers from around the world have competed in the biannual World Championship, the largest event of its kind.

The winning woodcarving/sculpture is a depiction of a 24-inch brown trout swimming over a snapshot of its natural river bottom habitat. At this master level of competition, all parts of the sculpture must be carved out of wood with the highest level of realism exhibited.

Schreibeis was born in Wyoming and raised in Montana and has a passion for wildlife of all types with the species of the Rocky Mountain west (and Montana’s trout in particular) being his primary focus.

Being an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, much of his work is commissioned fish carvings for clients who want to capture in a wood sculpture a certain time, place, event or the thrill of catching a certain fish.

Last year Billings angler Joel Long Jr. approached Schreibeis to preserve in wood what he called his “dream fish,” the fish he’s always longed to catch — a 24 -inch spawning male brown trout. Realizing their shared passion for the brightly colored and elusive brown trout, Schreibeis decided to pull out all the stops and give his maximum effort in an attempt to once again win at the World Fish Carving Championships.

What makes 2013 unique for Schreibeis is that in addition to his fish carving win, he also took top honors at the World Taxidermy Championships. The events that led to that win started in 2011 when friend and client Jim Routson was fishing off the coast of Alaska for halibut.

Being a deep sea, bottom fish, halibut can be interesting because of the variety of unique species that can be caught. Being aware of this still didn’t prepare Routson for what he reeled in near Sitka. Much to Routson’s surprise, a 5-1/2-foot wolf eel was hoisted into the boat. A ferocious, even demonic looking head makes the wolf eel fascinating to some and loathed by others. When Schreibeis got the call to do a painted replica of this fish, he knew that it had potential to be a winner if it could be recreated with anatomical and artistic accuracy.

Since Schreibeis had already intended to compete with his carved trout, he decided to compete in the taxidermy arena with the eel.

Schreibeis was thrilled to learn at the Saturday night awards ceremony that he had not only won judge’s choice Best of Show in the fish carving but also the Master of Master’s taxidermy award for the wolf eel.

Schreibeis owns and operates the Clark Schreibeis Wildlife Art Studio and divides his time between sculpting in wood and bronze, doing a select few taxidermy pieces, judging competitions, teaching carving classes in his studio and around the country.

For more information, visit his website at or email him at

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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