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.”
Festival activities begin at 10 a.m., and are free of charge. Activities include open fishing, fishing instruction, fly casting demonstrations, and fish cleaning services. 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.
Governor Andrew 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. 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.
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.
This event will be held rain or shine. A vehicle use fee of $8 will be in effect. Parking is free for Empire Passport holders. For more information call I FISH NY at 631-444-0283 or Belmont Lake State Park at 631-667-5055, or visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/44804.html.
—Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation