Department of Environmental Conservation

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Alosa pseudoharengus

Alewife spends its adult life in the ocean and returns to coastal streams to spawn. It also lives in landlocked lakes where it has been introduced. In lakes it swims in schools and occupies both deep and shallow waters. Its native range as an ocean migrant includes the coastal streams of Long Island, Lower Hudson, Upper Hudson, Susquehanna, Chemung and Delaware watersheds. It was native to Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River, but modern populations extend far beyond those migratory boundaries because of introductions to upstream landlocked lakes. It was introduced to many medium-sized waters as a forage fish and it now constitutes a primary component the forage fishes of Lake Erie, the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario. It occurs in all but four watersheds.

Fish atlas map for Alewife.