See below for directions to the fish ladder.
June 9, 2016 The run is slowly winding down. A few small schools of fish have come in daily for the past few days but the time of fish so thick you can't see the bottom seems to be over for this year. There are still fish scattered throughout the ladder so if you visit you are sure to see fish for a while yet. We've had a good year but not a spectacular one. Keep tuned for the total count for this year!
June 14, 2016 Harvesting Alewives Harvesting is over for year. See you next year!
The 9th annual Fish Ladder Reatoration Festival was a great success! Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, sponsors, and participants, without whom it wouldn't happen. We all had a great time!! Ninety one people ran in the road race and the Adam Ezra concert was fantastic!! The festival is an amazing community event!!
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.
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.