Fish Happenings

style="font-size: medium;">Join us for the 8th Annual Fish Ladder Restoration Festival-May 23-24

May 22, 2015

Wow, the fish are finally in the way we like it....big schools in the bay last evening and they are thick from the road bridge into the dippers and fish ladder this morning. We harvested alewives agsin this morning and we'll continue next Monday after the festival is over. One lobsterman said that the river is full of fish so the run should be strong for a while now. Hooray!! So glad the fish knew they needed to be here for the festival.

Quilt Raffle

Check out the amazing appliqued quilt made by Betty Lu Brydges of Damariscotta Mills--click the link at the bottom of this section. The quilt can now be seen at Alewife Fabrics in Damariscotta Mills (until May 23, when it will move to the festival). Tickets cost $5 each or 6 for $25. You can also purchase tickts online in the Support Us section of this website. Note that you want quilt raffle tickets in the Comments section.

Fish Ladder Restoration Festival 2015

Speaking of the fish, planning for the 8th annual Fish Ladder Restoration Festival is well underway. The festival, again held on Memorial Day weekend, will only be two days this year, Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24. Save the dates! The fish should be plentiful and we'll have the events you've come to enjoy and a few new ones.

Directions to the Fish Ladder

Take the Damariscotta exit to business Route 1. Go straight at the stop sign just past the Congregational Church. Take Route 215 north for approximately 1.6 miles. Look for a parking area just past the Austin Road on the left. Or, take the next left into the Fish House parking lot. Follow the path behind the fish house and you are there. Coming south on Route 1, take the Damariscotta exit and take a right on Rt 215 across from the Louis Doe Home Center. The parking lots decribed above are about 1.3 miles on left. 

Thank You!

We (and the fish!) are grateful for all the help we've had for the restoration. We couldn't be doing it without the commitment and perseverence of our wonderful fish ladder community! And, we are grateful for grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Elmina Sewell Foundation, the Horizon Foundation, the Davis Conservation Foundation, the Edward Myers Conservation Trust and from support from many individuals and businessesDownload: Download

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Welcome to historic Damariscotta Mills, Maine – home of Maine’s oldest fish ladder and most productive alewife fishery. The fish ladder was constructed by the Towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle in 1807 at the state’s request after mills had blocked access to the fresh water falls for nearly a century.  In 2007, after two centuries of use, the fish ladder needed a major restoration and the project was initiated by the Towns in collaboration with the Nobleboro Historical Society. Restoration of the fish ladder is critical to the health of the Damariscotta River alewife stocks. Alewives are an important part of the food chain and they contribute to the health of the marine environment and to the lakes and streams where the fish spawn. In the spring, alewives serve as a source of fresh bait for local lobstermen who are setting out gear after a winter ashore. The Towns of Newcastle and Nobleboro have harvested alewives since the 1700s and, by balancing conservation and economic goals, they have carefully tended the Damariscotta River alewife stocks. Today, all funds received for harvested alewives are spent to maintain and restore the fish ladder and harvesting area.

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