by Chris Grech
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) are pleased to announce the annual Fall Family Fishing & Children's Festival at Hempstead Lake State Park on Saturday, October 21, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Festival activities include spin-casting and fly-fishing instruction, casting practice, loaner rods, free bait and fish-cleaning services. In addition to fishing opportunities, there will be face painting, a children's casting for pumpkins contest, live animal show, and much more. A display area will be set up by DEC Environmental Education, New York State Parks, as well as other fishing and environmental organizations.
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 ongoing or as long as pumpkins last, during which kids can catch a pumpkin or "hook" a prize. Casting contest prizes are provided by I FISH NY, State Parks, The Fisherman Magazine, Knights of Columbus of Seaford, and Dick's Sporting Goods.
Prior to the festival, State Parks will stock South and McDonald Ponds in the park with hundreds of brook and rainbow trout. DEC also stocks several water bodies in Nassau and Suffolk counties including Upper Twin Pond, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Reservoir, and 12 other Suffolk County lakes with brown trout. These stockings will occur by Oct. 18, and will provide excellent prospects for fall fishing. A second DEC stocking will occur by Nov. 9.
For more information about the festival or weather concerns, please call DEC's I FISH NY 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 on DEC's Long Island/NYC Fishing and general fishing pages.