Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery Manager Doug Engemann will have spent 33 years working for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in December, and he said there isn’t a moment he didn’t love.
“I dig everything I do,” said Engemann. “That’s why I’m so lucky.”
It wasn’t always that clear-cut for Engemann, who was born in Michigan. He said when he was a teenager he had no intention of being a biologist with Fish and Game in Idaho. He bounced around ideas of being a priest or a teacher and even gave teaching a shot, but discovered it wasn’t for him.
“My heart goes out to all the teachers out there because they can do what I couldn’t,” said Engemann.
After graduating from Michigan State University, he finally found a career for him. In 1988 Engemann joined the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery as a seasonal hire, mowing lawns and cleaning fish tanks.
“I really jelled at Sawtooth,” he said. “I didn’t have any experience with biology at Michigan State, but good-old Idaho gave me a shot.”
Engemann’s desire to work with fish began with a love of fishing and the outdoors. He wanted a job that allowed him to do what he did as a kid. He also wanted a job that encourages people to get outside and get fresh air.
“I get the most value out of this job from seeing dads take their kids out fishing,” said Engemann. “It reminds me of doing it with my dad and I’m glad I get to help build those bonds.”
From the Sawtooth hatchery, he moved to the Grace Fish Hatchery to be a fish culturist. After that he moved to Magic Valley and then to Mackay to be an assistant manager at Mackay’s hatchery. He wound up at the Pahsimeroi hatchery for the first time after Mackay, working there as an assistant manger for 15 years. He moved to Ashton, then to Springfield and finally returned to the Pahsimeroi.
“It’s been a good ride,” Engemann said.