HOLYOKE — The first and most successful fish lift on the Atlantic Coast, the Robert E. Barrett Fishway at the Holyoke Dam, opens for its annual viewing season on Wednesday, May 10, with special Mother’s Day activities on Sunday, May 14. Admission is free.
The Barrett Fishway, owned and operated by Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E), consists of two elevators, or ‘lifts,’ which carry migrating fish up and over the Holyoke Dam. Visitors can watch the lifts in action from an observation deck overlooking the Connecticut River.
The fishway is open for self-guided tours during regular business hours. In addition, HG&E will provide a guided tour each Saturday and Sunday throughout the season at 1:30 p.m. This tour is free and open to the public. A knowledgeable and friendly guide will take guests on a 45-minute tour of the facility and share information about fish species of the Connecticut River. Additionally, the Barrett Fishway offers free educational programs for schools. Reservations for school groups are required; visit www.hged.com/tour for details.
Continuing a decade-old tradition, all mothers visiting the Fishway on May 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will receive a free carnation to commemorate Mother’s Day and the spirit of rebirth on the Connecticut River.
In addition, the 56th annual HG&E Shad Derby will be held the weekends of May 13-14 and 20-21, with a grand prize of $1,000 in cash for the first-place winner in the senior division (www.hged.com/shadderby).
Located off Bridge Street (Route 116) in Holyoke, the Holyoke Fishway’s 2023 season runs from May 10 through June 18. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The facility is closed on Monday and Tuesday, with the exception of Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day), when it will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.