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For Release: Friday, March 3, 2017

NYSDEC and Office of Parks Sponsor Free Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake

April 1 Festival Marks Start of New York's Spring Trout Stocking Program on Long Island

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will hold their annual Spring Family Fishing Festival on Saturday, April 1 at Belmont Lake State Park.

"Freshwater fishing is an activity the whole family can enjoy, especially on Long Island," DEC Regional Director Carrie M. Gallagher said. "The spring fishing festival at Belmont Lake State Park is an excellent way to kick off the fishing season and introduce the family to the sport. No license is needed to participate. Festival visitors can learn about freshwater fishing opportunities on Long Island and local fishing clubs, try fishing for trout, participate in the casting contest, and more."

Additional sponsors for the fishing festival include the Natural Heritage Trust, the Fisherman Magazine, and radio stations 106.1 WBLI and 102.3 WBAB.

The festival begins at 10 a.m. and is free of charge. Activities include open fishing, fishing instruction, fly casting demonstrations, and fish cleaning services. DEC and a number of local fishing clubs will have a display and demonstration area, and participants are urged to try their hand at fly casting. Loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants throughout the day. The supply of loaner rods is limited and participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing tackle if they have it.

Children's activities also begin at 10 a.m. and include an inflatable slide (weather dependent), the "Spring Fling" casting contest, and hands-on educational displays by DEC's Education Unit. Children participating in the casting contest will have a chance to win prizes supplied by DEC's I FISH NY Program, OPRHP, the Fisherman Magazine, and The Natural Heritage Trust.

To further encourage fishing in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in 2012 expanding the opportunity for free fishing clinics and allowing more New Yorkers to experience fishing for the first time with increased DEC free fishing clinics throughout the state. The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to enable more people to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer.

Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, under the 2016-17 budget, provides $3 million for State land access projects and $4 million for hunting and fishing infrastructure.

The Spring Fishing Festival is a designated Free Fishing Event, so the freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers age 16 and older is suspended for this event.

The festival highlights DEC's spring (March and April) trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Prior to the festival, DEC and OPRHP will stock Belmont Lake with close to 4,000 brown, brook, and rainbow trout. Upper Twin Pond in Wantagh, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Creek and Reservoir, as well as 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 event will be held rain or shine. Call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or Belmont Lake State Park at (631) 667-5055 for more information.

A vehicle use fee of $8 will be in effect. Parking is free for Empire Pass holders. The 2017 Empire Pass can be purchased at state park offices, online or by phone at (518) 474-0458.

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

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 page.

What: Spring Family Fishing Festival
Where: Belmont Lake State Park
When: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Who: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP)
Details: Enjoy a day of fishing with the whole family! Event activities include fishing instruction, fish cleaning services, environmental exhibits, an inflatable slide (weather dependent), temporary tattoos, and the "Spring Fling" children's casting contest. Loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants throughout the day. Prior to the event, Belmont Lake will be stocked with close to 4,000 trout by DEC and OPRHP. The freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers age 16 and older has been suspended for this event.
Cost: $8 parking fee; free with Empire Pass
Sponsors: DEC's I FISH NY Program, OPRHP, The Natural Heritage Trust, The Fisherman Magazine, 102.3WBAB, and 106.1WBLI
Contact: I FISH NY staff at (631) 444-0283 or e-mail

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