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For Release: Friday, July 24, 2015

DEC and State Parks Offer Free Fishing Clinic

Fun for the Whole Family at Hempstead Lake State Park

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) I FISH NY program, in cooperation with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation, will offer a free freshwater fishing clinic on Saturday, August 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hempstead Lake State Park, McDonald Pond.

"Under Governor Cuomo's NY is Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, the popularity of free freshwater fishing clinics continue to grow throughout Long Island," DEC Acting Regional Director Ajay Shah said. "Free fishing clinics offer a perfect opportunity for people to learn about this popular sport and enjoy a day in the great outdoors."

Free clinics of this nature are opportunities where families can truly rediscover what their local area has to offer and potentially develop freshwater fishing into a hobby that provides a lifetime of fun and relaxation."

Free loaner fishing rods supplied by I FISH NY will be available for use at the clinic. Bait will be supplied by New York State Parks. The event begins with basic instruction on freshwater fish species, fishing regulations and casting techniques. The standard $8 parking fee for Hempstead Lake State Park will remain in effect, but access is free with the Empire Passport.

Space is limited; please call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 to pre-register. Visit DEC's website for more information the I FISH NY program. For information about freshwater fishing on Long Island, call the Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280.

This is a Free Fishing Clinic so no fishing license is needed for this event.

The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 allowing all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer. New York State designates the last full weekend in June as Free Fishing Days. During those two days, anyone can fish New York State waters, and no fishing license is required. In addition to the June statewide free fishing weekend, legislation signed by Governor Cuomo now allows for an increase in the number of authorized yearly statewide free fishing days. This year, Veteran's Day, November 11, has also been designated as a free fishing day.

Governor Cuomo has expanded recreational opportunities of residents and tourists, positioning New York State as a recreation destination, connecting communicates to state lands, and improving the quality of life. Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, last year $10 million in NY Works funding has been dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.

Under the initiative, the 2015-16 Enacted Budget included an additional $8 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for the state's hatcheries in NY Works funding. The Budget also creates a new capital account which along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.

What: Freshwater Fishing Clinic
Where: Hempstead Lake State Park, McDonald Pond
When: Saturday, August 1, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Who: I FISH NY, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation
Details: This event begins with basic instruction on freshwater fish species, fishing regulations, and casting techniques. Loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants. Pre-registration is required.
Cost: $8 parking fee; free with Empire Passport
Sponsors: I FISH NY, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation
Contact: I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283

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