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For Release: Friday, April 1, 2016

DEC Announces First Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park

April 2 Festival Marks Start of New York's Spring Trout Stocking Program on Long Island

2016-17 New York Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide Now Available

On the opening day of trout and salmon fishing season, Basil Seggos, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced the first of the state's free fishing events across the state will begin tomorrow on Long Island. The annual Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park in Babylon, hosted by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), will take place Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, Anglers can now obtain the 2016-17 New York Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide at DEC offices, or any of the more than 1,200 license issuing agents across New York State.

"Freshwater fishing is an activity that the whole family can enjoy, and through the Governor's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative, we are making it easier for anglers to get started," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "The spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park and our new Fishing Regulations Guide provide everything anglers need to know before heading out on the water."

2016-17 New York Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide

This annual guide provides a comprehensive resource for all anglers to learn the seasonal guidelines, size and catch limits for the state from April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2017. In addition, the Fishing Regulations Guide also provides tips and techniques to enhance your fishing experience in New York, as well as provide information on where to fish. This year's guide highlights the incredible fishing opportunities that the New York City reservoirs in Southeastern New York provide, and showcase DEC's collaborative effort with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation to encourage more individuals to become involved in the sport of fishing.

Other features of the guide include:

  • Methods to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species;
  • Information and an entry form concerning the state's Angler Achievement Awards Program;
  • Catch and release guidelines and weight by length information for various sportfish species;
  • Updated fish consumption advisories;
  • Contact information for Environmental Conservation Officers;
  • DEC Fish Hatchery Information;
  • Answers to common questions concerning fishing regulations in New York State;
  • Highlights of projects and programs supported by State and Federal Funds.

Copies of the 2016-2017 Fishing Regulations Guide are available at any one of the license issuing agent locations, in the state, or can be found online or through the NY Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App.

Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park Details

Activities at the Belmont Fishing Festival and other clinics will include open fishing, fishing instruction, fly casting demonstrations and fish cleaning demonstrations. Organizers will be on hand to talk about freshwater fishing opportunities on Long Island and local fishing clubs, and kids can participate in a casting contest and other fun activities. Fishing rods and free bait will be available to participants throughout the day for most of these events, though participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing tackle if they have it.

The Spring Family Fishing Festival has been designated a 'Free Fishing Event' and license requirements for anglers age 16 and older have been suspended for this event. Children's activities run from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and will include an inflatable slide (weather dependent), the Spring Fling casting contest, as well as hands-on educational displays by the DEC's Education Unit. Children participating in the casting contest will have a chance to win several prizes, supplied by DEC's I FISH NY Program, OPRHP, the Fisherman Magazine, and The Natural Heritage Trust.

The Belmont festival highlights DEC's spring trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties conducted in March and April. Prior to the festival, Belmont Lake will be stocked with close to 4,000 brown, brook and rainbow trout by DEC and OPRHP. Upper Twin Pond in Wantagh, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Creek and Reservoir, and 17 other Long Island lakes will also be stocked with trout by DEC, providing excellent prospects for spring fishing in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.

This year the Festival will feature Newsday Outdoors columnist and On The Water associate editor, Tom Schlichter, giving a fun and informative trout fishing seminar at noon. Additional sponsors for the fishing festival include the Natural Heritage Trust, the Fisherman Magazine, and radio stations 106.1 WBLI and 102.3 WBAB.

In the event of inclement weather, call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or Belmont Lake State Park at (631) 667-5055. There is no rain date for this event.

A vehicle use fee of $8 will be in effect. Parking is free for Empire Pass holders. The 2016 Empire Pass can be purchased for $65 at state park offices, online at the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website or by phone at (518) 474-0458.

For more information about the festival, call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or visit the I FISH NY webpage at DEC's website.

For information about freshwater fishing on Long Island or the spring trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties, call the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280, e-mail or visit the Long Island/NYC Fishing webpage at DEC's website.

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