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For Release: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DEC Free Fishing Event at South Bay Fishing Pier

Will Be Held on Saturday, June 30th

As part of the I FISH NY program, a "Free Fishing Event" will be held on Saturday, June 30, from 10 2 p.m. at the John A. Brooks Memorial Fishing Pier at South Bay on Lake Champlain, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Participants will not need a fishing license during the event.

"Free fishing events provide the perfect chance for families to learn how to fish," said DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann. "This event is a great opportunity for those young and old to try fishing for the first time."

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.

Bait, tackle, fishing rods, and adaptive fishing equipment will be available to participants. However, the amount is limited so participants are encouraged to bring their own gear if possible.

DEC Fish Biologists, Environmental Conservation Officers and members of the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs will provide instruction on the use of gear, fishing techniques, and information on aquatic biology and fish identification.

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.

Everyone is invited to participate in this event, whether they have a fishing license or not. Ordinarily, anyone age 16 or older is required to obtain a license when fishing or helping another person to fish. Participants should note that all applicable fishing laws and regulations are still in effect during the event.

The Free Fishing program began in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer. The weekend of June 23-24 is a "Free Fishing Weekend" in New York State. Residents and visitors are encouraged to try fishing this weekend, attend one of several Free Fishing Clinics to be held during the weekend and attend participate in one of the many other free fishing events scheduled throughout the summer.

To further encourage fishing in New York State, in early March Governor Cuomo proposed legislation to expand the opportunity for free fishing clinics, allowing more New Yorkers to experience fishing for the first time by enabling DEC to increase the number of free clinics that can be held throughout the state. The legislation passed in both the Senate and Assembly. New York's sport fishing industry generates an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity annually, supporting nearly 17,000 jobs.

For more information about the event and Free Fishing Program contact event organizer Joelle Ernst at 518-402-8891. Visit the DEC website for a listing of currently posted free fishing events, and be sure to check back periodically in the future as events may be added.

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