Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

DEC and State Parks to Sponsor Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake on April 6

Stocking Events are Planned in Conjunction with the Festival

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) will hold the agencies' annual Spring Family Fishing Festival on Saturday, April 6, 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. At this festival, you can learn about freshwater fishing opportunities on Long Island and about local fishing clubs, try your hand at fishing for trout, and the kids can participate in the casting contest and other fun activities."

"Fishing is a great way for New Yorkers to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the environment," said Acting State Parks Long Island Regional Director George Gorman Jr. "I encourage anglers of all ages to discover what a great place Belmont Lake State Park is to try fishing."

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 informational displays. Loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants, and 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 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. This event will be held rain or shine.

The Spring Fishing Festival has been designated a Free Fishing Event, so the freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers ages 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.

A vehicle use fee of $8 will be in effect. Parking is free for Empire Pass holders. The 2019 Empire Pass can be purchased (link leaves DEC website) for $80 at state park offices or online.

The festival highlights DEC's spring (March and April) trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Prior to the festival, DEC will stock Belmont Lake with nearly 1,000 brown and brook trout. Additional brook and rainbow trout will be stocked by State Parks. DEC will also stock Upper Twin Pond in Wantagh, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Creek and Reservoir, along with 12 other Long Island lakes with trout before March 17, providing excellent prospects for spring fishing in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. In total, DEC's spring stocking program, which is conducted by regional freshwater fisheries staff, staff from DEC's Catskill Fish Hatchery and volunteers, will place 20,000 brown trout and rainbow trout in ponds and streams in Nassau and Suffolk counties. A complete list of DEC fish stockings can be found on DEC's website.

Governor Cuomo created the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative 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. Governor Cuomo signed legislation in 2012 expanding the number of free clinics that can be held throughout the state, allowing more New Yorkers to experience fishing for the first time. The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to participate in the incredible fishing New York has to offer.

Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative (PDF, 10 MB), DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. This initiative is supporting improvements ranging from enhancements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. To date, a total of $17 million in NY Works funding has been allocated to infrastructure repair and modernization of DEC's hatchery system.

Anglers are reminded that trout fishing season on Long Island is year-round for most lakes and streams, and that there is a daily limit of three fish per person. Spring trout stocking begins in mid-March and will be completed by early May. For more information call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or Belmont Lake State Park at (631) 667-5055, or visit DEC's Lean to Fish webpage.

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, or e-mail the regional fisheries office.

DEC and State Parks receive assistance in running the fishing festival from:

  • Knights of Columbus - Seaford
  • Trout Unlimited - Art Flick
  • Trout Unlimited - Long Island
  • Knights of Columbus - Ronkonkoma
  • Long Island Flyrodders
  • Long Island Bass Masters
  • Suffolk Alliance of Sportsmen, Inc. (SASI) / Nassau County Fish and Game Association (NCFGA)
  • And other individual volunteers

What: Spring Family Fishing Festival
Where: Belmont Lake State Park
When: Saturday, April 6, 2019
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,
102.3 WBAB, and 106.1 WBLI

Contact: I FISH NY staff at (631) 444-0283 or email the regional fisheries office