Capturing adult anadromous fish that are ready to spawn from a self sustaining population and transferring them into a depleted system is a common fisheries enhancement tool. The behaviour of these transplanted fish, however, has not been fully evaluated. The movements of stocked and native anadromous alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus (Wilson), were monitored in the Ipswich River, Massachusetts, USA, to provide a scientific basis for this management tool. Radiotelemetry was used to examine the effect of origin (native or stocked) and release location (upstream or downstream) on distribution and movement during the spawning migration. Native fish remained in the river longer than stocked fish regardless of release location. Release location and origin influenced where fish spent time and how they moved. The spatial mosaic of available habitats and the entire trajectory of freshwater movements should be considered to restore effectively spawners that traverse tens of kilometres within coastal rivers.