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For Release: Friday, February 16, 2018

Free Ice Fishing Clinic Set For Wednesday, Feb. 21 at Glimmerglass State Park

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (Parks) will co-host a free ice fishing clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at Glimmerglass State Park in the town of Springfield, Otsego County, DEC Region 4 Director Keith Goertz announced today.

"This event is a great opportunity for the public to learn more about the unique sport of ice fishing and how to better enjoy New York's natural resources in the winter," Goertz said. "This event is non-competitive and geared toward anglers of any age that are new to the sport of ice fishing."

Anglers can expect to catch yellow perch and chain pickerel. Sunfish, black crappie, rock bass, black bass, walleye and lake trout are also present in Otsego Lake. A warming area and refreshments will be available. DEC will supply most of the bait and tackle but experienced anglers are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear. There will be a short lesson on the basics of ice fishing and filleting your catch, and DEC and Parks staff will be on hand throughout the day to assist participants on the ice.

Pre-registration is appreciated but not required. Participants can pre-register by calling NYS Parks at 607-547-8662.

While a DEC fishing license is not required for this event, all other statewide and special regulations for Otsego Lake remain in effect. Normally, anyone age 16 or older is required to obtain a fishing license to fish or assist with fishing in fresh waters of New York State.

Ice fishing is an example of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, 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, $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.

Ice fishing continues to increase in popularity in New York State. Unlike the open water season, when an angler usually needs a boat to access good fishing locations, no boat is required to access these locations once a water is covered with safe ice. It's also a great sport for families, as they can mix in skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or other activities during an ice fishing trip to keep everyone interested and happy.

As part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative February 17-18, 2018, has been designated as a free fishing weekend. The requirement for a fishing license is waived during this period. This is a great opportunity to try ice fishing for the first time or for experienced anglers to take friends ice fishing for the first time. Beginning ice anglers are encouraged to download the Ice Fishing Chapter of DEC's new I FISH NY Beginners' Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started ice fishing. Additional information, including a list of waters open to ice fishing, can found on the DEC ice fishing web page and the Public Lakes and Ponds map.

Anglers are reminded that four inches of ice is usually safe for accessing ice on foot. Double that thickness for traveling on white ice. Ice thickness can vary on ever body of water or even within the same body of water. Anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness if ice can easily be done with an auger or ice spud at various spots.

To learn more about New York's aquatic resources, visit DEC's fishing website.

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