Your encounter with the hatchery worker reminds me of a place that I am somewhat ashamed of fishing once, where I caught the last 2 fish I kept.
On my honeymoon my wife and I went to Prince Edward Island. It was early in the year for salmon and I decided that rather than taking a whole day to buy a license and try to find some trout I would just go to a pay per fish pond. What a mistake. The pond was about 2 acres with aerator in the middle, and a retaining pool of ready to be stocked rainbow trout next to it. I checked in with the farmer running the place and set up to fish with a spinning rod and a worm. About five minutes later the farmer comes back and says "what no fish yet!" and starts throwing feed pellets into the water. Instantly there are swirls on the water and I have a fish on, a 12" or so rainbow. That one went into the bucket and I set about to catch another for dinner. More pellets are thrown in the water and I get a good hit that fights ok. After its landed it gets weighed at 5 1/2 pounds & 21". Talking to the farmer he says that the fish had been in there for ~ 1 year longer than the 12" rainbow, and that if it had stayed for 1 more year it would have been around 9 pounds. I paid the farmer and left with the fish.
As strange as it feels to hunt after stocked trout, the experience can be more surreal.