Signs of Spring – Migrating Alewives

Every May and June, rivers and streams all around the state are busy with migrating fish. Guided by their sense of smell, Alewives are members of the hearing family and these fish live in the western North Atlantic Ocean. They are also known as river herring because they swim up rivers and streams from the ocean to their spawning grounds in ponds and lakes. These incredible and persistent swimmers face many challenges along the way dodging hungry predators and human-made obstacles.

Identifying Alewife

 A mature alewife is about 11 inches long and weighs only 9 ounces (only .5 lbs) They have deep, slim bodies and are easily recognized by their silver bodies, sharp bellies, and the dark spots on their side. 

There are many ways to celebrate Alewife this year. Check into the resources below



For additional information, activity ideas and locations for where you can see these incredible fish, visit our google drive learning resource folder

Join in on Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s #Billionsoffish photo celebration. For more on how you can participate, click here.

Join our education coordinator for a reading of “Swimming Home” by Susan Hand Shetterly, beautifully illustrated by Rebekah Raye. Listen to a story about how a brave fish named Pesca leads her school of alewives through many obstacles to their spawning ground, Lilly Lake.