So many fish!
There are thousands and thousands of fish streaming under the Rt. 215 bridge and in every pool throughout the fish ladder. Wow! What a year!
With the fish ladder closed to the public, it’s been really sad not to share this extraordinary spectacle fully. However, many people have enjoyed watching the fish from the Rt.215 bridge.
That view may also Include eagles. We’ve had at least 7 eagles—several adults and juveniles between 1 and 4 years old—hanging out around the area daily. Wow, what a scene!
We have plenty of fish!
Alewives are in hard and there are times when we have more fish than lobstermen who need them. If you need alewives, come on down! We are open Monday through Friday, 5 am and 3 pm. The harvesters stay until all orders are filled–or for at least 2 hours. They will also harvest midday if that time works best with the tide or if the demand is there. Call or text Mark Becker, Fish Agent for Nobleboro and Newcastle, with any questions—207-380-7996.
Please remember, the fish ladder is closed to the public due to Covid 19. We deeply regret the closure but taking precautions will keep us all safe. Thank you for your understanding!!!
Finally…we really have fish!!
Last evening, for the first time, schools of alewives bunched up in the bay and especially in front of the railroad trestle, getting ready to surge into the fish ladder. And so, finally, morning greeted the harvesters with thousands and thousands of alewives—-most heading toward the fish ladder and the 69 pool climb their spawning grounds in Damariscotta Lake but plenty more making the right turn toward the harvesting gear. The run started slowly as cool water temperatures slowed the fish but it won’t stop now until masses of alewives are spawning in fresh water!!!
Harvesting starts Monday, May 18
We will begin harvesting on Monday (May 18) at 5am. Harvesting will continue weekdays at 5am and 3pm. Depending on the tide, harvesting may also take place midday. Call fish agent Mark Becker at 207-380-7996 for more information. Please note: precautions will be taken for Covid 19. The fish ladder is still closed to the public. Only harvesters and lobstermen are allowed during the harvest.
Alewives are making their way to the top of the fish ladder
Small schools of alewives entered the fish ladder both this morning and yesterday morning and they are now slowly making their way to the top. The water temperature is a cool 48 degrees, not warm enough to energize the fish into a fast run up. When the water temperature is in the high 50s, alewives have been known to pass through the entire fish ladder in 4 hours or less.
Since the fish ladder is closed to the public this year, we are working on ways to bring you the alewife run via video — stay tuned for updates.
Fishladder closed to public viewing due to Covid 19
It is with great sadness that I bring the news that the fishladder will be closed to the public this season. After some discussion, the selectmen of Nobleboro decided that there was no way to meet the State of Maine Guidelines to keep citizens and visitors safe from Covid 19 if the fishladder was open to the public.
For the month of May, the Maine Guidelines for Restarting Maine’s Economy include social distancing of 6 feet, and gathering with a group size of no more than 10 people. If visiting was allowed, the town would need to monitor visitor’s temperatures and manage everyone’s comings and goings. This is not possible so, for safety’s sake and to abide by the State of Maine rules, the fish ladder will be closed.
Please note, the harvesting of alewives will take place with proper precautions.
The juvies are here!
The baby alewives made their journey back down the fish ladder in the fall. Here’s a photo. More
Special Alewives Festival Screen of Documentary
Dutch World Fish Migration Day founder to screen new film at the Damariscotta Mills Alewife Festival. Love Flows depicts passion for rivers and fish from people around the globe.
Join the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration at the 12th annual Alewife Festival as we host Herman Wanningen, Founder of World Fish Migration Day, and Joshua Royte, Senior Scientist for The Nature Conservancy in Maine (and film narrator), for a special screening of the film Love Flows. The showing will be held at George and Susan Mason’s big yellow church, located at 123 Borland Hill Rd., at 2:30 pm on Saturday, May 25. All are welcome to attend!
2019 Alewife Festival was a great success
Thanks so much to everyone who helped make it possible—what a great community effort!!
National Fish & Wildlife Damariscotta Mills Video
National Fish and Wildlife Video
Check out this video from National Fish & Wildlife!
Run with the Alewives Race Results
Thanks to all our runners and walkers – we had another very successful race this year. The results are attached below. Congrats to the 5K & 10K winners and finishers!
Chris Fitz Band plays at the Lincoln Theater for the 10th Alewives Festival
Purchase tickets for the concert from
Bobby Whear – 207.441.2313
Milling Around – 207.563.1210
Alewives Fabrics – 207.563.5002
Adam Ezra Benefit Concert
Join us Sunday night May 29th for a benefit concert by the Adam Ezra Group. For $25 tickets (ADVANCED SALE ONLY), please call or contact Bobby Whear at 207.441.2313 or Alewives Fabrics at 207.563.5002 or Milling Around 207.563.1210 Thanks to First National Bank and Bunker Hill Sound for your sponsor support.
Adam Ezra Concert
Antique Auto Show at Festival
Whether you own an antique or classic car, or just enjoy looking at them, the 2015 antique car show at the Fish Ladder Festival is the place to be on Sunday May 24. Vintage cars will be on display from 10:30 am – 2:30 pm that day. Festival attendees will be able to vote for their favorite cars in each of two classes: domestic and foreign. People’s Choice Awards will be presented to the first, second and third place vote getters in each category.
Have you ever wanted to ride in an antique car? John Harris will once again be chauffeuring you through Damariscotta Mills in his Ford Model T.
Owners who register a car in the show are asked to consider an optional $5.00 donation to support the ongoing restoration of the historic fish ladder. For further information please contact Marty Welt at email@example.com or 207-563-2739.
Thank our Festival Sponsors
Take a look at the list of festival sponsors – they all help us cover the costs for goods & gear and food for the spring festival. Please support them as they support us!
We’re a part of World Fish Migration Day
The World Fish Migration Day is on the 24th of May 2014
World Fish Migration Day 2014 (WFMD) is a one day global initiative, with local events worldwide, to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish. WFMD is held to improve the publics’ understanding of the importance of open rivers and migratory fish and their needs.
Events will be organized locally to create awareness about open rivers and free fish migration routes. There are now 205 events around the world on WFMD; starting in New Zealand, following the sun and ending as the sun sets on the west coast of North America. The WFMD will bring global attention for the need for open rivers and free routes for fish migration. It will deliver international press coverage and a global petition will also be developed.
Check http://www.worldfishmigrationday.com/ for more info.
Antique Car Show at Spring Festival
Drive your antique car to the Alewife Fish Ladder Restoration Festival in Damariscotta Mills on Sunday May 25 (rain date Monday May 26). In conjunction with this very popular festival, Mid-Maine Sports Car Club will host the fifth annual Antique Car Show that day from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.
There is no charge to enter your antique car in the show. People’s Choice awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be presented at the conclusion of the car event. While your car is on display, enjoy the food and entertainment at the festival. Visit the historic fish ladder and see the restoration that has been completed to date. The alewives running in the fish ladder is a sight that is not to be missed. Almost one million fish went up the ladder last year.
Questions about the antique car show can be directed to Marty Welt, 563-2739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work Continues Under The Tent
The tent structure is up, Colby & Gale is providing the heat, and the cement and stone masons are hard at work building the walls and weirs in the lower third of the ladder. Please check the “Restoration Efforts” page for photos. We are going to be very tight with funding so please spread the word if you know anyone interested in helping…
Spring Festival – Memorial Day Weekend
Join us on Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the return of the alewives. The sixth annual Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival will be held on Memorial Day weekend, May 25, 26, and 27. “We are holding the festival to celebrate the return of the alewives and the restoration work completed to date,” said Deb Wilson, one of the event organizers. “We are three-fourths of the way through the restoration –a wonderful achievement thanks to neighbors and friends of the fish ladder.”
The festival is sponsored by the Towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle and the Nobleboro Historical Society. Festival events will take place in many locations around Damariscotta Mills—at the fish house at the bottom of the ladder, Mulligan’s Smokehouse, along Ladds Hill Road, at the top of the ladder, at Alewives Fabrics on Main Street, and on Town Landing Road. Look for signs pointing the way to activities and maps showing the location of all events.
Each day a special menu has been prepared. On Saturday enjoy the super-secret-recipe North Nobleboro barbecued chicken served with cole slaw, chips and a roll. On Sunday, Chef Tom Wriggins will again put on his famous pig roast with all the fixins—a real treat! And on Monday stop by for the best crab and lobster rolls in town. We’ll also have hot dogs and ice cream all three days. And, thanks to the Damariscotta River Grill, Sheepscot Valley Brewing Company and D. L. Geary’s Brewing Company, you can enjoy your food with a cold beer—while alewives swim by and osprey dive to eat their lunch!
Mulligan’s smoked alewives—the best in the area—will be on sale all weekend at the smokehouse—or until they run out. The “Smokehouse Girls” will be serving food on Saturday and Sunday—their famous breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch, with all the fixins. Fondie York will be making her famous homemade donuts on Sunday at the smokehouse—be sure not to miss them! Look for old photos, storytelling and check out the new t-shirts!
Children’s activities will be held at the Fish House, on Ladds Hill Road and at Alewives Fabrics. The ever-popular osprey fishing game can again be played on Ladds Hill Road. There will be free face painting at Alewives Fabrics together with ice cream, soda, and viewing of video, “Closing the Circle.” And, the wonderful alewife puppet show will be held on the lawn of Alewife Fabrics on Saturday at 1:30.
Additional events include an Antique Car Show on Sunday and antique car rides on Saturday and Sunday.
The two symbols of the fish ladder and festival—the giant osprey and Damilla, the alewife weathervane–are up and ready to greet festival goers. The giant osprey is flying near the fish house this year and pictures will again be taken of people acting as alewives and caught by the giant bird. Damilla is ready to greet visitors at the entrance to the fish house.
Please join us for a wonderful festival and a chance to see alewives close up as they ascend the fish ladder to spawn in Damariscotta Lake.
Food & Events Schedule
$10,000 Raffle Kick-off at Festival and on sale now!
$10,000 Raffle to benefit the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder will be kicked off at the Fish Ladder Festival
“What could you do with $10,000?” asked Deb Wilson, one of the raffle organizers. “What a great way to help the restoration and potentially win a lot of money.”
Only 300 tickets will be sold in a raffle sponsored by the Nobleboro Historical Society to benefit the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration. Tickets cost $100 each—the winner receives $10,000 and the fish ladder restoration receives $20,000. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the festival, online at www.damariscottamills.org (Support us section –request raffle ticket in comments) or from members of the Nobleboro Historical Society. Brochures for the raffle will be available at many local businesses. The drawing will be held at 1 pm on October 12 at the Fish House during the Fall Fish Ladder Restoration Celebration.
Don’t miss out—get tickets early and buy often for the best chance of winning! Download the $10K form below.
$10K Sign-up form
Work Starts on the Lower ladder
Greetings to all our supporters and followers! We are getting ready to start working on the upper half of the lower ladder. An access bridge has been built across the ladder to help our stone masons gain equipment access to start working.
Fish Ladder Restoration Celebration will be held October 6
Join us from 11 am to 3 pm to celebrate the downstream migration of juvenile alewives and the completion of two-thirds of the fish ladder. Our hard work on the fish ladder is really paying off–this year more than 1/2 million alewives ascended the fish ladder to spawn. That’s a new all-time high!!!
Neighborhood cooks will be making and serving homemade soup and chowder with all the fixings…and you can take home a Damariscotta Mills Restoration soup mug.
Don’t forget the wood alewife challenge!! Stop by and decorate a wooden alewife and enter it in the 5th Annual Running of the Alewives contest! There will be great prizes for the first three fish to float from the fish ladder to the downstream side of the Route 215 bridge.
Other activities include a bake sale, childen’s games, and the opportunity to purchase fish ladder goods and gear!
Antique Car Show at Spring Fest
Antique Car Show
at the Alewife Fish Ladder Restoration Festival
Bring your antique car to The Alewife Fish Ladder Restoration Festival in Damariscotta Mills on Sunday May 27. From 10:30 am to 2:30 pm Mid-Maine Sports Car Club will be hosting the third annual Antique Car Show in conjunction with the Festival.
There is no charge to enter your antique car in the show. People’s Choice awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be presented at the conclusion of the car event. While your car is on display, enjoy the food and entertainment at the Festival and take a ride in a 1925 Model T.
Questions about the antique car show can be directed to Marty Welt, 563-2739.