Salary: $2,957.00 – $4,216.00 Monthly
Location: Lewis County – Other, WA
Job Type: Full Time – Permanent
Department: Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Job Number: 2022-17518



Salkum, Washington

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) currently operates 75 hatchery facilities, the majority dedicated to producing salmon and/or steelhead. 

Hatcheries have operated in Washington State for more than a century, beginning with a facility on the Kalama River in 1895.  

We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced Fish Hatchery Specialist to work alongside a diverse team to support salmon conservation while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational opportunities in the state of Washington.  
We are recruiting to hire at the Fish Hatchery Specialist 1 or 2 level, and we will train a Fish Hatchery Specialist 1 up to the Fish Hatchery Specialist 2 level.

Depending on which level you are hired at, your monthly salary range will be as follows:

Fish Hatchery Specialist 1 – $2,957.00 – $3,821.00
Fish Hatchery Specialist 2 – $3,246.00 – $4,216.00

With your experience, you will perform scientific, technical, and related maintenance duties at Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery, and assist with rearing fish.

The optimal applicant leads by example, has a positive can-do attitude, is eager to work hard, and has excellent fish husbandry skills.

You thrive on building collaboration and teamwork, and look forward to working with other staff to meet WDFW program goals, answer questions from visitors, and lead tours of the hatchery facilities.

We are seeking a candidate who respects and values the opinions of others, creating an inclusive team environment where every member feels they contribute value to the project and WDFW.

Our Fish Hatchery Specialist 2,

  • Calculates and feeds fish according to pond populations and weight samples. Adjusts feed size and amount fed as needed.

  • Monitors fish behavior and health.

  • Monitors egg and fish production, and disinfects and enumerates eggs.

  • Administers therapeutics.  Calculates and administers drugs as prescribed.

  • Identifies, sorts, and samples species for spawning and adult distribution.

  • Cleans ponds and raceways, troughs, and incubator systems to maintain fish health.

  • Identifies marked adults and collects tags/marks for bio sampling.

  • Records data and can identify multiple marks by sight, UV lights, or mechanical devices.

  • Collects fish tissue and fluid samples for Fish Health Specialists without contaminating samples.

  • Performs fish inventories, splits, grading, marking trailer inventories, weight samples, and plants.

  • Picks eggs loss by hand or using equipment, and incubates for facility programs or shipments.

  • Collects adult fish by hook and line, seining, and volunteer or non-volunteer fish trap.

  • Collects adult mortality and fill out correct head tags for brood stock and enters data into hatchery documents and fish books.

  • Identifies all targeted and non-targeted species, gender, stock origin, and condition of maturity when trapping and spawning adults.

  • Conducts remote trapping and spawning operations, including transport of equipment and gametes.

  • Fertilizes eggs with sperm, according to pre-determined ratios using established spawning protocols and HGMP requirements.

  • Supervises and instructs temporary employees and volunteers in the absence of leadership.

  • Calibrates formalin systems based on flows.

  • Receives eggs and samples and distributes them into rearing vessels at correct loadings as well as ponds fry according to proper TU’s.

  • Incubates eggs using a variety of vessels including shallow troughs, isolation buckets, upwelling incubators, and vertical trays.

  • Monitors dissolved oxygen levels to maintain proper carrying capacity of rearing units.

  • Loads fish for transport using a variety of methods such as: electric fish pump, brail, and crane.

  • Loads truck according to safe hauling densities, and utilizes proper oxygen levels and monitors fish during transport.

  • Actively works to maintain/use facility wide biosecurity, and ensures volunteers and members of the public follow biosecurity guidelines.

  • Monitors rearing units for signs of predation and ensures rearing areas are secure.

  • Requires a detailed knowledge of biological principles, hydrology, and fish ecology.

  • Scans fish for various tags using coded wire tag wands, pit tag detectors, and other tag-associated equipment.

  • Monitors water quality parameters using dissolved oxygen meters (calibrates when needed) and chemicals such as Hach kits to insure a safe rearing environment.

  • Performs fish inoculations, and medical or chemical treatments as prescribed by the Fish Health Specialist.


  • Work Setting, including hazards:    

    1. Incumbent works at a full cycle fish rearing facility dividing their time between an outdoor all weather, at times strenuous work environment, to an office setting.

  • Schedule:   

    1. Working hours are normally an 8-hour-day, 5 days per week but can vary according to the needs of the program and resource. Normally does not exceed 40 hours per week unless emergency conditions exist.

  • Travel Requirements: 

    1. May travel to Region meetings, training, and fish culture conferences.

  • Tools and Equipment: 

    1. Perform mechanical tasks using power and hand tools.

    2. Computers and software.

  • Customer Interactions:

    1. Communicates effectively with public and volunteers.

  • Standby:

  • Housing: 

    • Housing is not provided for this position.

  • In-Training Plan: 

    • The FHS1 performs a variety of technical and scientific fish culture duties, performs hatchery related maintenance, and participates in an agency supervised fish culture training program. 

    • Upon satisfactory completion of the 12-month in-training plan, the selected candidate will automatically be promoted to a Fish Hatchery Specialist 2.

This Fish Hatchery Specialist 2 (In-Training) series provides mentoring and career development opportunities for candidates with limited hatchery and fish culture experience.

Candidates will be hired as a Fish Hatchery Specialist 1 or Fish Hatchery Specialist 2, dependent on skills and experience.

Required Qualifications for the Fish Hatchery Specialist 1:
  • An Associate’s degree in fisheries technology, biology, or a closely allied field.
  • Three (3) years of education towards a Bachelor’s degree in fisheries, biology or closely allied field.
  • Successful completion of a fish culture program from a vocational school.
Please Note: Three (3) years of experience performing a variety of fish culture duties in a hatchery will substitute for the required education.

Required Qualifications for the Fish Hatchery Specialist 2 (Goal Class):
  • One (1) year of experience as a Fish Hatchery Specialist 1 AND successful completion of agency supervised training program.
  • An Associate’s degree in fisheries technology or a closely allied field AND one (1) year of experience performing fish culture duties in a hatchery.
  • Two (2) years of education towards a Bachelor’s degree in fisheries or a closely allied field AND one (1) year of experience performing fish culture duties in a hatchery. 
  • Successful completion of a fish culture program from a vocational school AND one (1) year of experience performing fish culture duties in a hatchery.

Please note: Three (3) years of experience performing a variety of fish culture duties in a hatchery will substitute for the required education.
For ALL of the above: 


  • A valid driver’s license is required.
  • Forklift certification or completed within 6 months of employment.
  • CPR and First Aid or be completed within 6 months.
  • Respirator training or be completed within 6 months.


  • Two (2) or four (4) year degree in Fisheries or a closely associated field.

CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT: WDFW requires all employees to be fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.   You will be required to provide proof of vaccination as part of the hiring process.  Please do not upload your vaccination documentation with your application materials – your vaccination status will be verified by your supervisor before you will be allowed to work.  Exemptions may be granted for religious or medical purposes.

Supplemental Information

Please note: Failure to follow the instructions below may lead to disqualification.

In order to successfully apply for this position, you MUST complete your profile at and attach the following to your profile before completing the online application:

  • A cover letter describing how you meet the qualifications of this position (Generic cover letter will not be accepted).
  • Three professional references. 


IMPORTANT NOTES: The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s priority during the Covid-19 health crisis is to keep our staff, candidates, and the public safe.  We are hiring and encourage you to apply to open positions. We have transitioned to a virtual recruitment process, to include web-based interviews.

All new employees must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 Form) on their first day of work. If hired for this or any position at WDFW, you will be required to provide documentation proving you are eligible to work in the United States. For a list of acceptable documents, please use the following link:

JOIN THE WDFW TEAM: Learn about our agency and the perks of working for WDFW! The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has some of the most talented people in the natural resource field.  We celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives and approaches to fulfilling the agency’s mission. We value demonstrated skill in living WDFW values of Accountability, Service, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect, and Empathy (ASPIRE).

WDFW employees may be eligible for the following: Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s), Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Vacation, Sick, and other Leave*, 11 Paid Holidays per year*, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver, Long Term Disability & Life Insurance, Deferred Compensation Programs, Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), Employee Assistance Program, Commute Trip Reduction Incentives, Combined Fund Drive, SmartHealth.

UNION – WAFHP: This position is in the bargaining unit represented by the Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Hatchery Professionals and is subject to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State of Washington, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Washington Association of Fish Hatchery Professionals (WAFHP).

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Employer

To take advantage of veteran preference, please do the following:
  • Email a copy of your DD214 (Member 4 copy), NGB 22 or USDVA signed verification of service letter to
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position, and Vet (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 – Veteran)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in 

To take advantage of military spouse preference, please do the following:

  • Notify us of your military spouse status by email at  
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position, and MS (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 – MS)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in

Note: Please blackout any PII (personally identifiable information) data such as social security numbers. For further information, please contact us at

As part of WDFW’s efforts to advance respectful and inclusive work environments, the Agency expects inclusivity as part of our professional interactions and communications.  Therefore, we want to ensure that all individuals feel welcome, are treated fairly and respectfully.  All staff are empowered to fully contribute to serving their work unit, Agency, and the citizens of Washington.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity employer.  We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity.  Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, disabled and Vietnam era veterans and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply.  

Persons needing accommodation in the application process or this announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 902-2276 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (800) 833-6388.

If you are having technical difficulties creating, accessing, or completing your application, please call NEOGOV toll-free at (855) 524-5627 or


WDFW Recruitment Banner