If you’ve fished in Idaho over the last 35 years, odds are that you’ve caught a fish that came from a hatchery where Joe Chapman worked or managed. Earlier this month, Chapman retired from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game after a career that spanned 35 years and included him working at or managing seven fish hatcheries across the state and rearing well over 100 million fish for Idaho’s anglers. Chapman’s career, which began in 1984, took him and his family to the Niagara Springs, Rapid River, Nampa, Cabinet Gorge, Sawtooth and Hagerman State hatcheries. His stint at the Hagerman State Fish Hatchery was his longest assignment, where he lived and worked for 26 years.
Chapman was not only responsible for helping to rear millions of fish, but he was also instrumental in teaching generations of Idaho kids how to fish during numerous Free Fishing Day events. Throughout his career he also provided untold numbers of visitors with tours of department hatcheries and hosted fishing trailer events where he passed along his passion for the fish that he and his crews reared, always with the goal of provide fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages.
Joe Chapman, Manager of the Hagerman State Fish Hatchery talks to high school students.
Idaho’s anglers will still be provided with millions of fish into the future because of the professional mentorship that Chapman provided to the many department fish culturists over the years.
Chapman is retiring to the Idaho mountain’s that he loves and undoubtedly will be seen with a fishing pole in hand.