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For Release: Monday, September 21, 2015

I FISH NY Sponsors Fall Family Free Fishing Festival at Hempstead Lake State Park

Free Fishing, Rods and Bait, Pony Rides, Magic Show and Contests All Offered at Annual Long Island Event

The annual Fall Family Fishing Festival will be held on Saturday, October 17 at Hempstead Lake State Park from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Carrie Meek Gallagher announced today. The DEC's I FISH NY Program and Freshwater Fisheries Unit is sponsoring the event along with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).

"The annual Fall Family Free Fishing Festival provides a great way to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the great sport of freshwater fishing," Gallagher said. "The festival combines the opportunity to fish with a variety of children's activities to provide a rewarding family experience."

State Parks Long Island Regional Director Wayne Horsley said, "New York State Parks is proud to sponsor this program along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This partnership provides Long Islanders and our visitors with an outstanding recreational program that expands fishing opportunities on Long Island."

No fishing license is required for this event and admission and parking are free. Festival activities begin at 10 a.m. and offers fly-fishing instruction, casting practice, loaner rods, free bait, and fish cleaning services. Additionally, a display area will be set up by Trout Unlimited, DEC Environmental Education, New York State Parks as well as other fishing and environmental organizations.

Children's activities will also begin at 10 a.m. and will include pumpkin decorating, a magic show, pony rides and face painting. A casting contest where participants can catch a pumpkin or "hook" a prize will be held by the Knights of Columbus of Seaford. Casting contest prizes are provided by I FISH NY, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, The Fisherman Magazine, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Prior to the festival, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will stock South and McDonald Ponds in Hempstead Lake State Park with hundreds of brook and rainbow trout. DEC also stocks several water bodies in Nassau and Suffolk Counties including: Upper Twin Pond (Wantagh), Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Reservoir, and 12 other Suffolk County lakes with brown trout. These stockings will occur by October 20 and will provide excellent prospects for fall fishing. A second DEC stocking will occur by November 6.

For more information about the Festival or weather concerns, please call DEC's I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or Hempstead Lake State Park (516) 766-1029 for event status. There is no rain date for this event.

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 fall trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, call the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280. See DEC's website for general information on freshwater fishing on Long Island and fishing throughout New York State.

What: 2015 Fall Family Fishing Festival
Where: McDonald and South Ponds
Hempstead Lake State Park
West Hempstead, NY 11552
When: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Who: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP)
Details: Come out and enjoy a day of fishing with the entire family! Headlining the event is a children's "Casting for Pumpkins" contest. In addition, hundreds of trout will be stocked prior to the event.
Cost: None - Free Event Admission, and Free Parking
Sponsors: DEC's I FISH NY program & OPRHP
Contact: DEC's I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or email.
Directions: Take exit 18 off Southern State Parkway. Follow the drive into the Park. Make your second right into the ticket booths. Make an immediate left after the booths, for Field #3. Follow to the end of the parking lot. Walk along the path to McDonald and South Ponds.

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