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For Release: Friday, February 16, 2018

DEC Encourages Public to Participate in Free Ice Fishing Clinic on Feb. 21 at Casterline Pond, Cortland County

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a free ice fishing clinic from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, at Casterline Pond in Cortland County, DEC Regional Director Matthew Marko announced today.

"Ice fishing provides an excellent opportunity to be immersed in New York's diverse winter recreation opportunities, and with the upcoming school vacation, it's the perfect time for a family outing to learn more about the sport," Marko said. "I encourage anglers of all ages, especially those new to ice fishing, to take part in this free, non-competitive ice fishing clinic."

Weather permitting, the event will be held at the Casterline Pond fishing access parking area on Route 11, just north of Homer. Please visit DEC's Central New York Fishing Hotline webpage on Feb. 21 to confirm event status. DEC will supply bait, tackle, and the drilling of holes. There will be a short lesson on the basics of ice fishing and DEC will be on hand throughout the event to assist participants on the ice. Casterline Pond has brown and rainbow trout, along with bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish.

In addition to this free fishing clinic, Governor Cuomo designated Feb. 17-18, 2018, as a free fishing weekend, during which the requirements for a fishing license will be suspended. While a DEC fishing license is not required for this event, all other statewide and special regulations 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. Children under age 16 must be supervised.

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 every 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 of ice can easily be done with an auger or ice spud at various spots.

For ice fishing information, please view the Introduction to Ice Fishing chapter of the I FISH NY Beginners Guide to Freshwater Fishing on DEC's website.

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