Lakes Biologist, Field Operations
In Veronica’s mind, the White Mountains are the best area in Arizona, hands down. Luckily for her, she gets to spend most of her days doing fish surveys, water-quality surveying and checking aquatic plants in the lakes from the mountains through to the Mogollon Rim.
Though she’s an avid angler now, Veronica once had her heart set on being a vet and working with cattle. But after her college coursework proved less than enjoyable (and after a grumpy beef cattle broke her cell phone), she switched gears to wildlife and started out working with birds at a raptor rehab center. “Then I got an opportunity to work in Alaska with Alaskan salmon and that was like, mind blown. And that totally rerouted me into fish and I’ve been with fish ever since.”
When asked about her favorite story from this year, her face lights up as she passionately talks about the results of her survey of Lyman Lake. “We hadn’t surveyed it in 10 years, and so pulling up the nets was like a surprise. Like opening a present. I knew we weren’t gonna get trout, so we wondered, what are we going to get? It was walleye! Bass and channel cats and walleye. It was like the craziest thing that ever happened. It’s so fun to be surprised.”
While out in the field, she takes time to speak to the people she encounters and educate them on the hard work that goes into managing the state’s fisheries, beyond just stocking lakes and streams. But, she also loves hearing about the success of her work. “I spend a lot of time talking to anglers,” she explains. “And it’s great! It’s a blast talking to the guy that’s been out there all day and wants to come tell me about the fish he’s proud of catching."