Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will hold their annual Spring Family Fishing Festival on Saturday, April 13 at Belmont Lake State Park as part of the Governor's New York Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative. Governor Cuomo introduced the initiative in his 30-day Executive Budget amendments to support tourism and benefit sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the state. Additional sponsors for the fishing festival include the Natural Heritage Trust, the Fisherman Magazine, Dick's Sporting Goods, and radio stations 106.1 WBLI and 102.3 WBAB.
"Freshwater fishing is an activity that the whole family can enjoy, especially on Long Island," Governor Cuomo said. "The spring fishing festival at Belmont Lake State Park is an excellent way to kick off the fishing season and introduce the whole 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."
This year, Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget proposes the New York Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative to streamline hunting and fishing licenses and reduce fees to support tourism opportunities and benefit sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the state. The plan would reduce fees paid by hundreds of thousands of hunters, anglers and trappers while maintaining support for New York's fish and wildlife programs.
Festival activities begin at 10 a.m. and are provided free of charge. Activities will include open fishing, fishing instruction, fly casting demonstrations and fish cleaning services. Additionally, a display area will be set up by state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and local fishing clubs. Participants are urged to try their hands at fly casting, as demonstrations will be on-going. 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 they have it.
Children's activities also begin at 10 a.m. and will include an inflatable slide (weather dependent), 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, which will be supplied by DEC's I FISH NY Program, OPRHP and The Natural Heritage Trust.
The freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers age 16 and older has been suspended for this event.
To further encourage fishing in New York State, Governor Cuomo signed legislation last year 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 State has to offer.
The festival highlights DEC's spring trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Prior to the festival, Belmont Lake will be stocked with close to 4,000 brown, brook and rainbow trout by DEC and OPRHP. Upper Twin Pond in Wantagh, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Creek and Reservoir, as well as 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.
In the event of inclement weather, call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or Belmont Lake State Park at (631) 667-5055. There is no rain date for this event.
A vehicle use fee of $8 will be in effect. Parking is free for Empire Pass holders. The 2013 Empire Pass can be purchased for $65 at state park offices, online at http://nysparks.com/admission/empire-passport/, or by phone at 518-474-0458.
For more information about the New York Open for Fishing and Hunting proposal, go to http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/02202013-ny-open-for-fishing-and-hunting. For more information about the festival, call I FISH NY at (631) 444-0283 or visit DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/44804.html. 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, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7951.html.