Jumping ahead. Will come back to topic later -
Alewife, river herring, razor belly fish. Everything eats alewives except humans mostly. Three years ago alewives could not be anadromous in Maine. They could not get up river to spawn. There were too many dams in the way, dams without passage. BUT, In 1999 the Edwards Dam was breached at the head of tide below Augusta and in 2008 Fort Halifax Dam just above the confluence on the Sebasticook. The next obstacle was the Benton Falls Dam and in 2006 a fishlift was built . By 2011 the number of fish counted going up was almost 2 million. They were reaching Unity Pond and Pleasant Lake in Stetson. The excerpt of email below is with Nate Gray at Benton Falls.
-April 15, 2011 -From Nate to Sandy: the harvest will start after we allow
for a minimum escapementupstream (320,000) and will continue 4 days
on 3 days off until June 5.This ensures that the run gets end loaded towards
the spawning areas and allows for a good deal of older more experienced fish
to get to the ponds as the older fish show up earlier. We want to ensure that
the run is sustainable. Not just for the human consumption end of things but
for all the other stuff that chases alewives as well. Call me the first
week in May and I'll keep you posted on when to come.
May 3, Nate - They're here. Headed to start the fishway now.
Sandy- Yippee. I have been gone all day. My friend Andrew said that the water had been too high in the Kennebec. Will you be there tomorrow?
First visit follows.
May 20 - Sandy - I have, without success, been waiting for the skies to clear. Bill and I
went to the Sebasticook Lake ladder today. There were fish and the gates
were wide open but the water was sure coming over the dam hard. We went
up to Stetson and there were no fish there, and again lots of water. I
hope all is well despite the weird weather. I assume this has to effect
the migration some. I would like to get over this weekend if that is ok
with you. I am hoping that there might be some harvesters and maybe
some sun so I can some shots of the fish in the window. I would like to
pull this story together.
June 15- Sandy - How is the season progressing? It is always a busier time of year than I imagine. I would like to come by one more time to give you some pictures for Essex and maybe take a few more pictures. Possibly Thursday afternoon or Friday morning?
Meanwhile, I have a couple of questions:
Sandy - Are the alewives about done going up? If so what was the final tally? :
Nate - Yes. 2.7 + million
Sandy - When do they start back down?
Nate - Now
Sandy - Do you ever see where they are spawning?
Nate - Yes
Sandy - Were there any other species in the mix this year?
Nate - Yes
Sandy - How did the harvesters do?
Nate - Well
Sandy - Can I come now?
Nate - Divers on site. Too much activity. Would need you to be in hard hat, steel toed boots etc, etc,
Sandy - Ok. I have to know. What are the divers doing?
Nate - Divers are installing new intake grating for head pond make-up attraction water.
Sandy - When would be a good time? Thursday late afternoon? or next week?
Sandy - Would it be at all possible to get a copy of the cameras video of them in the peak time?
Sandy - I think I will try to get to Stetson Friday to look for eggs. Maybe with Jennifer Irving.
Nate - Looking for eggs will be VERY difficult. They kinda just float around. Non-adhesive and very small.
So many thanks for answering all of my questions, Sandy