See below for directions to the fish ladder.
May 31, 2016 Alewives are still plentiful throughout the ladder. New schools came in last night so the run continues, with many alewives passing into the lake to spawn. The fish ladder is working incredibly well...wow!
May 26, 2016 Harvesting Alewives we'll be harvesting alewives all week, at 5 am and again at 4pm, fish permitting. For the most part, everyone who comes for fish is getting them.
The 9th annual Fish Ladder Reatoration Festival was a great success! Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, 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.