Fish Happenings

Scroll down for directions to the fish ladder.

Where are the Fish? June 9, 2017 The run is winding down but there are still some fish in the ladder if you want to visit. Harvesting alewives ended yesterday. We had a great run this year--we'll let you know the final numbers when the counting ends.

Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, sponsors, and participants, without whom it wouldn't happen. We had our best festival ever!

Check out the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation video about Alewives and our project in our News section!

Directions to the Fish Ladder
Heading north on Route 1, take the Damariscotta exit to business Route 1. Go straight at the 4-way stop 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. From the fish house, follow the path behind the building; the harvesting area is ahead on the left and the fish ladder makes a right turn. 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. Download: Download

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Welcome to historic Damariscotta Mills, Maine – home of one of Maine’s oldest and most productive alewife fisheries. 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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