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For Release: Monday, June 9, 2014

Experience Fishing Fun at DEC's Family Free Fishing Clinic at Ellicott Creek County Park

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs will conduct a free Family Fishing Clinic on Saturday, June 14, from 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at Ellicott Creek County Park, Pavilion #9, located in Tonawanda, NY, Erie County.

"Under Governor Cuomo's New York is Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative, this clinic will allow New Yorkers to experience fishing for the first time," DEC Regional Director Abby Snyder said. "The clinic will offer guidance so those with no fishing experience can learn about the sport."

This is a DEC-sponsored event where participants can learn about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, fisheries management, angling ethics and aquatic ecology. The event is free, and no fishing license is required to fish during the program. Fishing rods are available to borrow, or bring your own. Bait and educational materials will be provided. The event is catch and release only. Children under age 16 must be supervised.

The clinic will consist of five education stations presented by DEC and Erie County Sportsmen and women. Instruction will be offered in casting, knot tying, common fishing tackle and techniques, fish identification and aquatic ecology. During the second portion of the event, participants will practice basic fishing skills in Ellicott Creek. For more information please contact Michael Todd of DEC's Fisheries Division at (716) 851-7010.

The 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 initiative 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, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 allowing all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer. New York State designates the last full weekend in June as Free Fishing Days. During those two days, anyone can fish New York State waters, and no fishing license is required. Since no license is required, it is the perfect time to take a friend or relative fishing. In 2014, New York State's Free Fishing Days are Saturday and Sunday, June 28 & 29. Additional statewide free fishing dates will be announced this summer.

For information contact Michael Todd of DEC's Fisheries Division at (716) 851-7010.

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