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Hydro & Robert E. Barrett Fishway FAQs

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When is the Fishway open for viewing?

The fishway is open to the public for six weeks each spring, during the annual migration of anadromous fish.  Visit HG&E's Fishway page for details.

How much does it cost to visit the Fishway?

Admission is free to the public. 

Do you offer group tours at the Fishway?

Yes, we offer the opportunity for groups to visit the Fishway during the time we are open for public viewing in May and June.  For more information, visit our tour page.

What is the river flow?

River flow is constantly changing.  To get the latest river flow information please visit the USGS Water Resources

Can you stop the river from flowing?

No.  We are required by our operating license to continually provide water downstream of the project.

How much water do you store?

We are a Run-of-River Project.  Which means that we do not have any storage capacity and must pass water continually downstream of the project by either generation of electricity or spill over the dam.

How do I arrange for a canoe portage?

We want to assist you in your journey down the river, for more information review Canoe Portage information.

When is HG&E's Annual Shad Derby?

The annual HG&E Shad Derby is typically held on the second and third weekend in May.  When the dates are released, they will be updated on the Shad Derby page.  

How much does it cost to enter the shad derby?

The Shad Derby is free to all participants.  However, a valid Fishing License must be shown when submitting any shad for derby prize.


When was the dam built?

The log crib dam was completed in 1849 and the present stone dam was finished in 1900.  The dam is 1080 feet in length and 30 feet high.  The black part on top of the dam is an adjustable, inflatable rubber bladder replacing the wooden flash boards.  It helps divert water behind the dam to pass through the turbines to generate electricity.

How do you count the fish that get lifted over the dam?

HG&E gives migrating fish a lift, quite literally.  The Robert E. Barrett Fishway consists of two lifts, or elevators, that bring migrating fish up and over the Holyoke Dam. HG&E employs interns from HCC to identify and count every fish that is lifted over the dam.  To find out more, visit the Fishway page or come for a tour in the spring.  

How do I get 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.

Do I need permit to have a dock on the river?

Yes, you will need a dock permit from Holyoke Gas & Electric and Department of Environmental Protection.  

How long is the river and how far is the dam from the ocean?

The Connecticut River is 410 miles long and begins on the Canadian border.  The dam is 86 miles from the ocean. 

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