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For Release: Wednesday, September 29, 2021

DEC's 'I FISH NY' to Host Annual Fall Family Fishing Festival Oct. 16 at Hempstead Lake State Park

Free Fishing, Rods and Bait, Live Animal Show, Contests, and Activities for Children at Annual Long Island Event

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) I FISH NY Program and Freshwater Fisheries Unit and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced the annual Fall Family Fishing and Children's Festival at Hempstead Lake State Park will be held Saturday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"The Fall Family Fishing and Children's Festival is one of our most popular events because it's a great way to enjoy the autumn weather and learn about the fun of freshwater fishing," DEC Acting Regional Director Merlange Genece said. "The festival combines fishing with a variety of children's activities, and provides a rewarding family experience."

"Hempstead Lake State Park is proud to host the annual Fall Family Fishing Festival," said State Parks Long Island Regional Director George Gorman. "With an abundance of activities to explore throughout the day, the festival provides a great introduction for both children and families to learn and experience all that fishing has to offer."

Festival activities include fishing with free loaner rods and bait, fishing instruction, casting instruction, and fish-cleaning services. In addition to fishing opportunities, there will be a children's casting for pumpkins contest, live animal show, magician, pumpkin decorating, fish printing, and children's slide, in addition to DEC and State Parks displays.

The fishing license requirement for all anglers over the age of 16 is suspended for this festival, and admission and parking are free.

The children's casting for pumpkins contest will be held for as long as pumpkins last, during which kids can "catch" a pumpkin and "hook" a prize. Casting contest prizes are provided by I FISH NY and State Parks.

Prior to the festival, State Parks will stock South and McDonald ponds in Hempstead Lake State Park with brook and rainbow trout. DEC also stocks brown trout in several other waterbodies in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including Upper Twin Pond, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Reservoir, and 12 additional Suffolk County lakes. These stockings will occur by Oct. 30, and provide excellent prospects for fall fishing. A second DEC stocking will occur in early November.

For more information about the festival, call DEC's I FISH NY Program at (631) 444-0283 or Hempstead Lake State Park (516) 766-1029 for event status. There is no rain date for this event.

For more information about the fall trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties, call the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280. General information on freshwater fishing on Long Island can be found at DEC's Long Island/NYC Fishing webpage and more info at DEC's Fishing webpage.

What: 2021 Fall Family Fishing and Children's Festival

Where: McDonald and South Ponds
Hempstead Lake State Park
West Hempstead, NY 11552

When:Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021

Time:10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Who:New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks)

Details: Come out and enjoy a day of fishing with the entire family! Headlining the event is a children's "Casting for Pumpkins" contest. In addition, more than 1,000 trout will be stocked prior to the event.

Cost: None - Free Event Admission, and Free Parking

Sponsors: DEC's I FISH NY program and State Parks

Contact: DEC's I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or

Directions: Take exit 18 off Southern State Parkway. Follow the drive into the Hempstead Lake Park. Make your second right at the ticket booth. Make an immediate left after the booth, for Field #3. Follow to the end of the parking lot. Walk along the paved path to McDonald and South ponds.

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