David’s relationship with Herb Welch mounts began in 1946, when David was only 15 years old and he and his buddy were on a fishing trip in the Rangeley Region in Maine. They had stopped in to the main lodge at Bald Mountian Camps in Oqoussoc. While his friend made a call in the Lobby’s phone booth, David stood by and gazed up, there he saw a Herb Welch mount, though he did not know it at the time. He was too shy to ask anyone, but he saw the quality and admired Herbie’s work and David was inspired in that moment with a dream; that one day his fish mounts would look as good as that trout on the wall before him. You see, David was a licensed taxidermist already at the age of 15.

Herb Welch Brook Trout mount before restoration

Herb Welch Brook Trout mount restored by David 2006

David met Herb Welch in the fall of 1952, through the brother of the friend who was with him in the Lobby of Bald Mountain Camps. By then, David was married. He and his young wife, Polly, who had been his high school sweetheart had started a family together. They drove to Oquossoc, met the Herb and Dot Welch and formed a friendship that would last the rest of the Welchs’ lives.

Now and then, David is given an antique mount that needs more work than the owner is willing to have done but they don’t wish to throw the piece into the trash. Once he has restored the mount, it is made available for the price of restoration. Such is the case with this Landlock Salmon mount Herbie did possibly in the 1930′s.

During a trip to Oquossoc David’s daughter, Julie, stopped by Bald Mountain Camps with her niece and shared a little family history with her. Notice the Brook Trout on the wall. It is a Herb Welch mount and it was restored by David.

David’s grand-daughter, Crystal in the phone booth at Bald Mountain Camps.

Crystal at Bald Mountain Camps

This story continues and in 2005, a brook trout was sent to David for him to mount and his customer, a lovely person sent this photo along to help show the fish size and color. With permission from Mrs. Joseph Betz, we share the evidence that there are still some very nice Brook Trout to be caught in the State of Maine. Bald Mountain Camps Office is seen directly behind Mrs. Betz.

Mrs. Betz trout and Bald Mountain Camps 2006 Footer mount of a Maine Brook Trout

As if to celebrate the sixty years span from Dave’s first sighting of Mr. Welch’s work, Mr. and Mrs. Betz drove to Maine to pick up their finished fish mount. David’s busy career coming full circle and you can judge for yourself if his dream of doing a trout mount as nice as Herb Welch has come true.