Department of Environmental Conservation

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For Release: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

DEC and State Parks to Sponsor Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake

April 7 Festival Marks Start of New York's Spring Trout Stocking Program on Long Island

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) will hold their annual Spring Family Fishing Festival on Saturday, April 7, at Belmont Lake State Park. Additional sponsors for the fishing festival include the Natural Heritage Trust, the Fisherman Magazine, Renewal by Andersen, Suez Water, Dick's Sporting Goods and radio stations 106.1 WBLI and 102.3 WBAB.

"Freshwater fishing is an activity the whole family can enjoy, especially on Long Island," 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 your family to the sport with no license needed to participate. At this festival, you can learn about freshwater fishing opportunities on Long Island and local fishing clubs, try your hand at fishing for trout, and the kids can participate in the casting contest and other fun activities."

Festival activities begin at 10 a.m., and are provided free of charge. Activities include open fishing, fishing instruction, fly casting demonstrations, and fish cleaning services. DEC and local fishing clubs will also set up information displays. Loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants throughout the day. As the supply of loaner rods is limited, participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing tackle if possible.

Children's activities include the "Spring Fling" casting contest, as well as hands-on educational displays by the DEC's Education Unit. Children participating in the casting contest will have a chance to win some great prizes supplied by DEC's I FISH NY Program and The Natural Heritage Trust.

Governor Cuomo has expanded recreational opportunities of residents and tourists, positioning New York State as a recreation destination, connecting communities to state lands, and improving the quality of life. Governor Cuomo's 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 includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing, and increasing hunting opportunities in the 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.

The Spring Fishing Festival has been designated a Free Fishing Event, so the freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers age 16 and older has been suspended for this event only. After 4 p.m., anglers will need a valid NYS freshwater fishing license to legally fish.

The festival highlights DEC's spring (March and April) trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Prior to the festival, Belmont Lake will be stocked with close to 1,000 brown, brook and rainbow trout by DEC. Additional brook and rainbow trout will be stocked by State Parks. Upper Twin Pond in Wantagh, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Creek and Reservoir, along with 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.

To further encourage fishing, Governor Cuomo signed legislation in 2012 expanding 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 Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York has to offer.

This event will be held rain or shine. For more information call or visit DEC's I FISH NY website at (631) 444-0283 or contact Belmont Lake State Park at (631) 667-5055.

A vehicle use fee of $8 will be in effect. Parking is free for Empire Passport holders. The 2018 Empire Passport can be purchased for $65 at state park offices, or online.

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, email or visit DEC's Long Island/NYC fishing page.

What: Spring Family Fishing Festival
Where: Belmont Lake State Park
When: Saturday, April 7, 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 (State Parks).
Details: Enjoy a day of fishing with the whole family! Event activities include fishing instruction, fish cleaning services, environmental exhibits, 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 State Parks. 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, State Parks, The Natural Heritage Trust, The Fisherman Magazine, Renewal by Anderson, Suez Water, Dick's Sporting Goods, 102.3WBAB, and 106.1WBLI
Contact: I FISH NY staff at (631) 444-0283 or