Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DEC 'I FISH NY' Hosts Fall Family Fishing Festival at Hempstead Lake State Park

Annual Event Features Free Fishing, Rods and Bait, and Raptor Project Show

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) I FISH NY Program's annual Fall Family Fishing Festival will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at Hempstead Lake State Park from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., DEC Regional Director Carrie Meek Gallagher announced today. 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 Fall Family Fishing Festival is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and learn something about the great fun of freshwater fishing," Regional Director Gallagher said. "The festival combines the opportunity to fish with a variety of activities for children to guarantee a fun outdoor experience for families."

A fishing license is not required to fish at this event and admissions and parking are free. The festival begins at 10 a.m. with casting practice, loaner rods, free bait, and fish-cleaning services. The festival will also feature displays by Trout Unlimited, DEC Environmental Education, OPRHP, as well as other fishing and environmental organizations.

Children's activities will begin at 10 a.m. and include pumpkin decorating, the Raptor Project Show, a bounce slide, and face painting. Participants can catch a pumpkin or "hook" a prize in a casting contest held by the Knights of Columbus of Seaford. Casting contest prizes are provided by I FISH NY, OPRHP, The Fisherman Magazine, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Prior to the festival, OPRHP will stock South and McDonald ponds in Hempstead Lake State Park with hundreds of brook and rainbow trout. DEC stocks several water bodies in Nassau and Suffolk counties with brown trout in October, including: Upper Twin Pond, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Reservoir, and 12 other Suffolk County lakes. Completed by October 15, these stockings will provide excellent prospects for fall fishing. A second DEC stocking will occur by November 5.

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.

For more information about the fall trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties, call the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280. General information on freshwater fishing on Long Island can be on the links to the right of this page.

NY's Open for Fishing and Hunting

Under the 2016-17 budget, Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative provides $3 million for State land access projects and $4 million for hunting and fishing infrastructure. The 2015-16 budget also created a new capital account, which, along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds, will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat and will improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation. This year's commitment builds on the previous $6 million in funding for 50 new projects to provide access to approximately 380,000 acres of existing State lands for recreation, including boat launches, bird-watching areas, trails and hunting blinds, and $8 million for upgrades and improvements to fish hatcheries statewide.

What: 2016 Fall Family Fishing Festival and More!
Where: McDonald and South Ponds
Hempstead Lake State Park
West Hempstead, NY 11552
When: Saturday, October 15, 2016
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 and fun with the entire family! Headlining the event is a children's "Casting for Pumpkins" contest. In addition, more than 1,000 trout will be stocked prior to the event.
Cost: No cost-Free Event Admission and Parking
Sponsors: DEC's I FISH NY program & OPRHP
Contact: DEC's I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or ifishny@dec.ny.gov
Directions: Take Exit 18 off Southern State Parkway. Follow the drive into the Hempstead Lake Park. Take the 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.

  • Important Links
  • Links Leaving DEC's Website
  • Contact for this Page
  • Region 1 Office of Communications
    50 Circle Road
    Stony Brook, NY 11790
    631-444-0350
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Region 1