Watching Fish Grow

Theresa Michaels has worked 19 years in the fish hatcheries in New Hampshire and she wouldn’t have it any other way. You might say Michaels, who is a superintendent at the Milford Hatchery takes her work home with her every night. She lives at the hatchery.  Between carting fish on to trucks to be released in waters across the state, she took a minute to tell us a little about herself.

Q:  What makes you so busy?
A:  This time of year is our busiest because we stock out about 75,000 Brook trout, 30,000 Brown trout and 57,000 Rainbow trout.

Q:  What is your territory?
A:  Region Four. We do the southwestern areas of the state;  the Milford area, out beyond Keene to the Vermont border and the towns along the way, New Boston, Weare, Warner, Peterborough and Jaffrey.

Q:  How large is your staff? What are your hours?
A:   We need 24 hour coverage, 365 days a year. I actually live on the station.  I get every other weekend off, but we are really on call, we have to respond to alarms, make sure the plumbing is working and all that goes into running the hatchery. We are dealing with live things, and they take attention.

Q:  What makes it such a great job?
A:  I love doing it. I am a very physical person and this is physically demanding. I am doing less physical work because I have more administrative work, but I like the day to day and the way each day changes. They start as eggs and you get to see the finished product. During stocking season, when you get to put them in at the various locations you meet people who are very appreciative of what we do.

Q:  How did you start?
A:  I was a fish culturist at the Powder Mill Hatchery in Durham.

Q:  How long have you been at Milford?
A:  I’ve worked at the Milford hatchery for fifteen years and have lived here for the past five.

Q:  What does it smell like in there?
A:  Like fish food.

Q:  Do you smell it?
A:  No you become immune to it after a while. Visitors come and notice it right away.

Q:  When are you open to the public?
A:  Open to the public everyday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. because someone has to be here. They are a living product, we have to watch the water going in to the pools, the irradiation systems need to be working , there’s cleaning and quite a bit involved.

Q:  What do you do on a day off?
A:  I like to power lift. I do power lifting, golf and a little fishing, but not so much fishing anymore.”

Q:  When you do fish, what is it like when you catch one?
A:  As long as it’s not one we raised I feel okay about it. It is part of an unfair advantage to go fishing since I know where the fish are.”

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