Fish ladders are nothing new. They’ve been around for centuries. And they all serve the same purpose - to get migrating fish over it and around a barrier. These fish are on their way to spawn, ensuring their survival.

Around Maine there are several examples of these architectural marvels. Some were built in the early 1800’s and some are brand new. I recently visited the newly updated fish ladder in Bristol Mills and I was extremely impressed with everything about it.

Bristol Mills Fish Ladder

The original fish ladder at Bristol Mills was built in 1974. Several years ago it was determined the few volunteers that take care of the ladder could no longer handle the thousands of fish trying to make it to the lake. These dedicated volunteers would even take buckets, scoop up alewives and give them a free ride!

The towns people of Bristol Mills donated money and used budgeted funds to pay for the new fish ladder. The results are something they can all be proud of. The dam officially opened with a rush of water April 18, 2021.

Plans are in the works for a park and footbridge to be added. The alewives will be running soon! Watching them make their way up the ladder is rather humbling and awe inspiring all at once. It is a must see this spring!

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