The Maine Department of Marine Resources manages this system for a commercial escapement of 35 fish per acre. The spawning escapement need for this system is 39,655 river herring passed upstream through three closed days per week during the fishery. The management plan has achieved returns to meet the target escapement developed for this system for 95% of the years during the past 20-year period or passed the entire run upstream. Only a portion of historic spawning habitat in the Orland River Watershed is accessible to river herring. Access to many of the historic spawning habitats are excluded due to conflicts with sport fish species. There is no expectation that additional habitat will reopen in the near future. The State of Massachusetts granted the municipality of Orland exclusive harvest rights in 1805. Orland is one of two fisheries that DMR permits to use tidal weirs to fish for river herring due to the size of the river at the fishing location. Like the smaller box traps, these fish capture the entire run during the open fishing days. Once river herring pass the fishery they are prevented from falling back below the weir because the weir spans the entire river at low tide, preventing them from reentering the fishery. The Orland River before it was dammed likely contained runs of American shad and Atlantic salmon. There are no observations of either species at this location by field staff.
The Orland fishery captures blueback herring in the alewife fishery toward the end of the fishing season. Blueback herring account for 2-5% of the annual river herring catch. There is no spawning below the tidal fishways on the Orland River. The first dam on the Orland River has two Alaska Steep Pass fishways. Neither of these passages are available during two hours on either side of low tide.