News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 28, 2020
The alewives are running
Making their annual Bagaduce River run

Mike Thalhauser

Mike Thalhauser, of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington, explains the alewife run from the Bagaduce River into Walker Pond.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

The alewife run in Brooksville is under way and volunteers are counting the number of small herring-fish that swim upstream, against current to the safer waters of Walker Pond for spawning.

This is the fourth year Brooksville is doing an alewife count on the fishway at the Route 175 culvert, and Mike Thalhauser, of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington, is on site.

“This pond is unique,” he said. Why? Because the alewives swim into Walker Pond as small fish, described as “dwarf alewives” by the state before it shut the fishery down.

The alewife fishery still is not open to recreational or commercial harvest but the annual count may change that.

“We’re at the point where next year people will b able to get their hands on a fish,” Thalhauser said.

Volunteers log about 500 hours a year counting fish—four times a day for 30 minutes during the spring and fall runs and clearing their passage through a beaver dam downstream from the fishway.

“Three times a week, we take a few sticks out to let the fish through, in spring and fall,” Thalhauser explained. “Or the run would end.”

Like last year, volunteers will also scoop alewives as they run into Walker Pond and—using buckets—deliver them to stock Parker and Frost ponds.

With 1,500 alewives counted in 30 minutes on a recent afternoon, there should be plenty of alewives to go around.