The Bourndale Herring (Alewives) have come here to spawn for centuries. They travel from the ocean and then through the Cape Cod Canal(salt water), up through the Herring Run Motel and the weir, and finally end in the fresh water ponds behind the motel that stretch for many miles.

After the canal destroyed the natural run into Herring Pond, local engineers created this artificial watercourse so that herring could enter at spawning time. Access from Route 6, about a mile south of the Sagamore bridge.

Ocean-dwellers most of their lives, each year, they return to the freshwater systems in which they were born to spawn-a wonderful signal of Spring on the Cape. Arriving in April and early May, vast schools make the cross from the ocean into freshwater ponds and brooks via herring runs. Along these natural and artificial courses, you'll see dark pools of fish awaiting their turn to cross-over, then, amid the mighty rush of the water, flashes of silver as the herring leap the "ladders" that assist them in the final leg of their journey.

After spawning, the female alewife lays up to 100,000 eggs, then the adults set off for the return journey to the ocean. Meanwhile, after drifting for two to three days, the eggs finally sink and stick to rock and debris, then hatch two to three days later. By autumn, the young follow the adults' path to sea to become part of the return journey the following year.

A Historic Recreation Area

Fishing during the herring run

Herring running

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Herring Run Motel at Buzzards Bay - 825 Scenic Highway, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532
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