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Children from Sullivan Elementary School viewing fish migration at the Fishway.

Robert E. Barrett Fishway

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An invitation to visit

Each spring when the shadbush blooms, New Englanders have the opportunity to view an incredible natural phenomenon. American Shad, Sea Lamprey, Atlantic Salmon and other anadromous fish swim up the Connecticut River as they begin their annual spring migration. Driven by their evolutionary instincts, adult fish return to spawn in the rivers of their birth.

The fishlift at HG&E’s Robert E. Barrett Fishway helps migrating fish over the dam. It was the first and most successful fish lift on the Atlantic coast.

It 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. After the fish are lifted, visitors can witness their migration as they swim by the viewing windows and continue their upriver journey. 


The Robert E. Barrett Fishway is staffed by knowledgeable and friendly guides who are available to share information about anadromous fish and restoration efforts.

The Barrett Fishway offers free educational programs for schools. Reservations for school groups are required.

Directions to the Fishway

Navigation System: 1 Bridge Street, Holyoke, MA

Traveling north or south on Rt. 91: Take exit 17 (Rte. 141 Holyoke Center/South Hadley) and follow signs to Rte. 141 East towards Holyoke. Stay on Rte. 141, bearing right at the second set of lights. Continue on Rte. 141 for six more lights, turning left at the 6th onto Main Street (Rte. 116N which becomes  Canal St). Follow Rt. 116N to the left toward South Hadley.  Turn left at the fishway sign just before the South Hadley Falls Bridge.

Traveling south on Rte. 116: Cross the South Hadley Falls Bridge. Take an immediate right into the fishway entrance.

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Contact Information

Robert E. Barrett Fishway
Closed for the season.
Email | (413)536-9460