WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (FOX 5 NY) - Thousands of fish are being offloaded into small trucks to be distributed into ponds, lakes, and rivers throughout Long Island as part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's stocking program to enhance recreational fishing.
Brown and rainbow trout raised in their upstate hatchery are brought down to replenish the supply for avid anglers.
"On Long Island, a lot of people don't realize how many freshwater spots there are to fish and we just want to make it better than it already is," said Heidi O'Riordan, the manager of DEC's freshwater fisheries.
Belmont Lake State Park, which is one of the most heavily fished bodies of water, is getting 2,500 fish in time for the spring season.
"It's a put-and-take fishery. We don't expect them to catch and release really but usually we teach them to take fish if they'll consume them," O'Riordan said. "But really these fish are to enhance fishing for fishermen."
Patience paid off for Tom Perrone of Bay Shore who managed to find the catch of the day.
"I come out almost every day if I can," he said. "Especially when they stock."
The money people spend on the state fishing license goes towards raising the fish in the hatcheries.
"You get a lot of bass, a lot of chain pickerel, carp in the lake," said Joseph Brodtman, the manager of Belmont Lake State Park.
April 1 was the unofficial start to the fishing season. Belmont Lake State Park alone attracts hundreds of fishermen and women each summer.