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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
About a decade ago my wife and I moved to Idaho. I hated my job and put lines out everywhere I could for something better. One of those lines was signing up for an auto-email anytime there were job openings with Idaho Fish and Game.

To this day, I am still receiving those emails despite being thoroughly self employed. Just never cut them off.

One thing I noticed? The sheer amount of hatchery jobs. Every freakin week, more hatchery jobs. Many at the same places as the previous week, month, and year. It's like they are just a revolving door of turnover?

So, I have to ask what is up with hatchery jobs? Why are they continuously open?
 

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It could be that they are having trouble filling the jobs. If it's like Washington, most advertised positions have a closing date for applications to be submitted by. I would then suggest that maybe not enough or enough qualified individuals applied. They would then have to re-advertise the position.
 

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I had one friend who worked down at the net pens. He would get off work and just REEK of fish food. That shit stinks. You could smell him twenty feet away. I could see how the turnover could be high:)
 

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About a decade ago my wife and I moved to Idaho. I hated my job and put lines out everywhere I could for something better. One of those lines was signing up for an auto-email anytime there were job openings with Idaho Fish and Game.

To this day, I am still receiving those emails despite being thoroughly self employed.

One thing I noticed? The sheer amount of hatchery jobs. Every freakin week, more hatchery jobs. Many at the same places as the previous week, month, and year. It's like they are just a revolving door of turnover?

So, I have to ask what is up with hatchery jobs? Why are they continuously open?
Are you serious?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Are you serious?
Yes. People tend to need jobs. Whether or not I agree with their job is another topic.

I have no idea what hatchery employees do, but it must really suck since the positions seem to always be open.

Edit: I can't truly know what you mean by, "are you serious", but I take it as "hatcheries are the devil man!" And if that's the case (if that is what you mean to say), I would have to say that hatchery employees earning a paycheck doing shitty work because they need the funds have nothing to do with the problems hatcheries create under the guidance of idiots. That's another topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It could be that they are having trouble filling the jobs. If it's like Washington, most advertised positions have a closing date for applications to be submitted by. I would then suggest that maybe not enough or enough qualified individuals applied. They would then have to re-advertise the position.
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Everyone should volunteer for a full day.

Many years ago I volunteered for a day of clipping adipose fins and implanting metal code tags in the heads of steelhead fingerlings .
It suuuucked.
Cold and miserable. Thankless

Sidenote. I have been a roadie for a band that did full US and world tours. Months on months endless shows..11..15 days in a row no night off..and if a day off, it was a 600 or more mile drive.

Almost every day I was told by fans etc.. how lucky I was to be on tour. I guarantee 99% of those saying that would quit before 2 weeks were up.

Any job needs to be experienced or talk to those firsthand before making that a career move.

Hatchery jobs are not fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Everyone should volunteer for a full day.

Many years ago I volunteered for a day of clipping adipose fins and implanting metal code tags in the heads of steelhead fingerlings .
It suuuucked.
Cold and miserable. Thankless

Sidenote. I have been a roadie for a band that did full US and world tours. Months on months endless shows..11..15 days in a row no night off..and if a day off, it was a 600 or more mile drive.

Almost every day I was told by fans etc.. how lucky I was to be on tour. I guarantee 99% of those saying that would quit before 2 weeks were up.

Any job needs to be experienced or talk to those firsthand before making that a career move.

Hatchery jobs are not fun.
So, if I volunteer at a hatchery (which would be a real quick way to get my question answered), will I automatically be banned from WFF?

How does that work?

But seriously, thanks for the response.
 

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I have worked in fisheries for the past 20 years including some hatchery work. Early on most of the work was seasonal, which is very typical for the industry. At the end of a 9 month position, I decided to work at a hatchery rather than draw unemployment for the next 3 months until my job would start again. I wound making about the same as I would have sitting at home on unemployment, plus I had to drive an hour to and from the hatchery. Being the newest guy, I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and rang in Y2K working standby (living at the hatchery at night during certain critical times) at the hatchery that year, without any extra holiday pay. However, it led to my current position which I enjoy very much and have been at for the past 16 years.

In general, hatchery work is pretty thankless. Awhile back, WDFW had to raise the minimum for the lowest position just a little so it would not quality for low income programs. It is not hard to believe that there is a high turn over. But I also see it like some college level classes, designed to weed out those who don't have the initiative to stick with it. I never wanted to make a career out of it but I think I have a better perspective of the role in hatcheries in fisheries as a result of working at one.

Now you can proceed with the normal anti-hatchery banter...
 

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Any job that leads to a better job is a good stepping stone situation. Just be sure it is.

Seasonal jobs at minimum wage that lead nowhere and have high turnover should be considered high risk and usually, a waste of time.
There is a reason you get a g.e.d, aa/as, bachelor, masters..higher.. you step over those fighting for the shitty/low paying jobs for more secure careers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have worked in fisheries for the past 20 years including some hatchery work. Early on most of the work was seasonal, which is very typical for the industry. At the end of a 9 month position, I decided to work at a hatchery rather than draw unemployment for the next 3 months until my job would start again. I wound up making less than I would have sitting at home on unemployment, plus I had to drive an hour to and from the hatchery. Being the newest guy, I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and rang in Y2K working standby (living at the hatchery at night during certain critical times) at the hatchery that year, without any extra holiday pay. However, it led to my current position which I enjoy very much and have been at for the past 16 years.

In general, hatchery work is pretty thankless. Awhile back, WDFW had to raise the minimum for the lowest position just a little so it would not quality for low income programs. It is not hard to believe that there is a high turn over. But I also see it like some college level classes, designed to weed out those who don't have the initiative to stick with it. I never wanted to make a career out of it but I think I have a better perspective of the role in hatcheries in fisheries as a result of working at one.

Now you can proceed with the normal anti-hatchery banter...
Great info. Thank you.

However, I would like to get even more info before we get back to our regularly scheduled program. I know some folks would like to not talk about hatchery employees, but those employees aren't calling the shots. Just earning a paycheck and maybe moving on to bigger and better things, like you.

Makes me think a volunteer Saturday might be in order. Just to get a glimpse. You know, instead of naysaying those involved with no decision making potential. After all, it kind of feels like, even from this short thread, that a lot can be gained from understanding hatcheries and what goes on there before condemning every freakin person who ever worked in one.

I wouldn't want to be the guy/gal throwing live, male chicks into a shredder day in and day out, but there are men and women that do this as a job.

They're not the problem. Something else is the problem.
 

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If you have a degree to go with gaining experience, it is a great thing to give it a go. If no degree, understand you might get stuck in the cycle of seasonal/minimum wage trough.
It is not a field of growth..new hatcheries are not popping up.
If you think you are curious, why not give it a go?

A good chunk of good science jobs are truly masters and above to make a good career. Understand that those upper degrees will trump most hatchery experience. The degrees get the upper manager jobs.

I took fisheries classes in college and have friends in the field so I speak from a point of close reference as well.
I chose not to go into the field and wish it held promise at the time but it did not. That was 1980's.

Give it a lookover, you might love it, might catch a break, make a career.
 

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Idaho used to have some pretty cool volunteer programs surrounding angling in the name of science. I used to be on a list similar to the one you described and they often looked for help. I distinctly recall angling in Dworshak reservoir for bass and cutthroat and flyfishing some small creeks around Lewiston. I really wanted to go and volunteer for IDFG, just to learn more about their programs, talk to bios and spend some time fishing but never had the time back then.
 

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I agree with BDD, if you can get into a situation where you can get out in the field researching, jump on that.
If you get on a research boat that shock surveys or small stream backpack shocking like I did in my fish lab job in college, you will probably love it!
Getting paid to measure and sample fish you could never catch in a lifetime is huge. I saw amazing fish!!

But if the question goes hack to strictly hatchery work....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If you have a degree to go with gaining experience, it is a great thing to give it a go. If no degree, understand you might get stuck in the cycle of seasonal/minimum wage trough.
It is not a field of growth..new hatcheries are not popping up.
If you think you are curious, why not give it a go?
I'm no longer in the boat of giving it a go as a career choice. That ship has sailed. I'm just interested in the inner workings of the local hatcheries.

And not for the purpose of deamonizing the "small fish" employees at all. I just want to know about that job. The base job. The thankless one. The one that is always open and advertised in emails I see weekly.

What's that job like? I'm convinced it has to absolutely suck. I'm seeing in this thread that it does, in fact, suck. Helps to explain the turnover. Yet, it's also interesting to see that people have used it as a springboard to other positions.

Would people of this forum be adverse to seeing some fly fishing diehards doing that job, getting promoted, and maybe changing the system from within?

Seems plausible.
 

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I'm no longer in the boat of giving it a go as a career choice. That ship has sailed. I'm just interested in the inner workings of the local hatcheries.

And not for the purpose of deamonizing the "small fish" employees at all. I just want to know about that job. The base job. The thankless one. The one that is always open and advertised in emails I see weekly.

What's that job like? I'm convinced it has to absolutely suck. I'm seeing in this thread that it does, in fact, suck. Helps to explain the turnover. Yet, it's also interesting to see that people have used it as a springboard to other positions.

Would people of this forum be adverse to seeing some fly fishing diehards doing that job, getting promoted, and maybe changing the system from within?

Seems plausible.
Last I will add. Forget what others think. Hatchery job is a job.
I think you are curious about the grunt work of it..that is cool. Scrubbing the concrete tanks spawning some fish in season..

As far as changing the system, that is government big-wig, tribal politics at the billion dollar level.
That stuff is beyond the hatchery manager level.

Hope you report back if you do some checking into.

There are a lot of fishery pros and retirees on here, hope they jump in and correct and give you better firsthand stuff like BDD has.
 

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Would people of this forum be adverse to seeing some fly fishing diehards doing that job, getting promoted, and maybe changing the system from within? Seems plausible.
BDD and Gyrfalcon2015 layed it out beautifully in their posts. I really hate to be so cynical, but this idea of you (or anyone else) getting a few promotions and then changing the system from within seems delusional, at best. This is a HUGE machine. Just my opinion.
 

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Just think of all the good I could do for wild fish if I worked at a hatchery....


*Evil laugh*


I actually thought about one of WDFW's positions I think they call it a scientific technician. Essentially running traps and doing spawning surveys. Only reason I didn't is because they are not permanent positions and with such competition for Mitchell act funds I couldn't risk not having the full income or having WDFW not being able to fund the position.

But I could certainly enjoy bushwhacking and floating from November- May. I'd probably put in lots of OT for free
 

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I started my career working at hatcheries and enjoyed the time working with the different life cycles of fish. I have several good friends who stayed on the hatchery side and they like what they do. They take great pride in raising a quality product (which many of you consider the devils spawn;)). The comment I hear from them now is they wish they could spend more time working with fish and less time managing people. The bane of career advancement...
 
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