The upstream fish run is over and it was a wildly successful year!! We passed 1,066,314 alewives into Damariscotta lake to spawn. This is an all-time record. Many, many thanks to all who have helped to make this dream a reality.
There are still alewives to see-- the run-backs, alewives that have spawned, are coming back down and soon we expect to see this year's juveniles en route to the Damariscotta River and the Gulf of Maine.
What an amazing year!!
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.
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, this year we are particularly 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 businesses
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.