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For Release: Thursday, August 27, 2015

DEC Announces Free Fishing Event at South Bay Fishing Pier on Lake Champlain

Event Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the ADA

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a free fishing event from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 5 at John A. Brooks Memorial Fishing Pier at South Bay on Lake Champlain. The clinic is part of Governor Cuomo's New York Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative and DEC's I FISH NY program.

DEC fisheries staff will be available to teach participants about fish identification, angling equipment and techniques, safety and angling ethics. Fishing rods and adaptive fishing equipment, will be available to borrow and bait will be provided. Supplies may become limited so if you have any fishing tackle we encourage you to bring it.

The South Bay Fishing Pier is a 300-foot-long universally accessible fishing pier located on Lake Champlain off State Route 22, near Whitehall, Washington County. Accessible parking is also available at the site.

The universal design of the South Bay Fishing Pier provides people of all ages and abilities with barrier-free access from the parking area to the fishing rail. The pier allows visitors to choose from a variety of places to fish through shallow water and out toward the deepest channel of the bay. Benches are provided along the pier, and the covered pavilion area over the end of the pier provides shelter from the sun and inclement weather. The pier is located near an existing DEC boat launch facility which has additional parking and an accessible privy.

Free sportfishing clinics allow participants to fish for free where no freshwater fishing license or enrollment in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry is required. Participants should note that all applicable fishing laws and regulations remain in effect during the event. Free sportfishing clinics are held throughout the state. Information on conducting a clinic and the list of current clinics scheduled, is on DEC's website.

Ordinarily, anyone 16 years of age and older who desires to fish in New York must have a New York State fishing license. New York State reduced license fees in 2014 for both resident and non-resident anglers, making fishing in New York more affordable than ever. Buying a license has also been made more convenient. Anglers can purchase their license and print them for immediate use on their home computer from DEC's website.

Anglers can also purchase their license by phone by calling 1-866-933-2257, or from the numerous license issuing agents across the state. Those purchasing by phone will receive a confirmation number that can be used as proof of purchase until they receive their actual license by mail. Annual fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Anglers interested in purchasing a lifetime fishing license should consider a New York State Adventure license which is incorporated on their NY Drivers' License. Additional information can be found at the NY License Center website (leaves DEC website).

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.

For more information about the event and Free Fishing Program contact event organizer Joelle Ernst at 518-402-8891 or email at

For more information on universally accessible recreational opportunities on DEC lands and waters visit DEC's Accessible Recreation webpage.

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