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For Release: Friday, March 18, 2022

DEC and State Parks to Sponsor Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake on April 2

Trout Stocking Events Planned throughout Long Island in March and April

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) will hold the annual Spring Family Fishing Festival on Saturday, April 2, at Belmont Lake State Park. Additional sponsors for the fishing festival include the Natural Heritage Trust, The Fisherman Magazine, New York Life, Seaford Knights of Columbus Fishing Club, Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited, 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 Cathy Haas said. "The Spring Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park is an excellent way to kick off the fishing season and introduce family and friends to the sport with no license needed. Festival attendees can learn about freshwater fishing opportunities on Long Island and try their hand at fishing for trout while 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 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, casting instruction, rod use, fish identification, fishing instruction, fly-casting demonstrations, and a fish cleaning station. DEC and local fishing clubs will host informational displays and loaner rods and free bait will be available to participants. The supply of loaner rods is limited and 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 prizes supplied by DEC's I FISH NY Program. This event will be held rain or shine.

The Spring Fishing Festival is designated as a Free Fishing Event, so the freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers ages 16 and older is suspended for this event only. After 4 p.m., anglers will need a valid State freshwater fishing license to legally fish. All fishing regulations will continue to apply.

A vehicle use fee of $8 will be in effect. Parking is free for Empire Pass holders. The 2022 Empire Pass can be purchased (leaves DEC's website) for $80 at State Park offices or online.

The festival highlights DEC's spring 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, and Massapequa Creek and Reservoir, along with 14 other Long Island lakes with trout before April 1, providing excellent prospects for spring fishing. In total, DEC's spring stocking program, 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 stocking can be found on DEC's website.

Anglers are reminded that trout fishing season on Long Island is year-round for most lakes and streams. 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 Learn 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.

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