Island Hopping

Free fishing festival at Hempstead Lake Park

The Fall Family Fishing and Children’s Festival is returning to Hempstead Lake State Park this month.

The annual event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, invites children and families to learn the joys of fishing.

Organized by the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s I FISH NY Program, its Freshwater Fisheries Unit and the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the festival includes fishing with free loaner rods and bait, fishing instruction, casting instruction, and fish-cleaning services. 

In addition to fishing opportunities, the festival features a children’s casting for pumpkins contest, live animal show, magician, pumpkin decorating, fish printing, and a children’s slide.

“The festival is a great opportunity for both children and families to learn and experience the joys of fishing, and check out all the new trails and amenities that Hempstead Lake has to offer,” State Parks Long Island Regional Director George Gorman said in a written statement.

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.

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