Valley Stream residents did something this past weekend that hasn’t been done in decades — they cast their fishing lines at the Hendrickson Park lake.
The village and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation hosted a fishing weekend at the park on June 29 and 30, and nearly 700 residents took advantage of the opportunity. It was a catch-and-release program, meaning any fish reeled in had to be returned to the lake. People caught carp, catfish and even and eel.
“Everybody seemed to have a great time,” said Deputy Clerk Richard DeAngelis, who organized the event. “They were able to enjoy having a beautiful day with their family.”
Not everyone caught a fish, DeAngelis said, but that is the nature of the sport. “They call it fishing,” he said. “If it were that easy, they would call it catching.”
There were 100 fishing stations set up along both sides of the lake, and residents were given 20 feet of shoreline to use. Each group received a two-hour time slot. Numerous volunteers and Recreation Department employees assisted the fishermen and women.
DeAngelis said that most of the people there had never fished before, but he expects many of them have found a new hobby. “There’s going to be a lot of fishing poles and tackle boxes purchased for birthdays and holidays,” he said.
Adrian Ramnauth brought his children Karina, 6, and Christopher, 3, to the park on Sunday to fish. He said he found out about the event when signing up for the pool, and thought it would be a great chance to spend time with his kids.
Ramnauth said they caught three fish during their two and a half hours fishing. It would have been four, he said, but a big fish got away by snapping the line. The kids loved the experience,” he said. “They had a great time and can’t wait to go fishing again. Even if we didn’t catch a fish, we would have still had a blast.”
He added that he enjoyed meeting other residents of Valley Stream, and hopes this will be an annual event.
DeAngelis said village officials want to continue this every June, and added that the DEC, which provided fishing rods and bait, would like to continue this partnership. Even the weather was just right. “I thought it went as good as it could have gone,” he said.