Five great spots for a family fishing trip

Howard Smith, of Flushing, Queens, fishes with his

Howard Smith, of Flushing, Queens, fishes with his grandson, Sebastian Smith, 7, of Manhattan, at Leonard Park in Mount Kisco. (June 14, 2012) (Credit: Faye Murman)

Looking for a way to spend a day in the great outdoors? Think fishing, an activity as fun for the kids as it is for Mom and Dad.

Ken Rose, who ran the popular "Get Hooked on Fishing" children's derby in Poughkeepsie for 25 years and now coordinates fishing activities for the Federation of Dutchess County Fish and Game Clubs, has watched kids grow up, fishing the entire time. Beyond the simple pleasure of spending a relaxing morning or afternoon out in nature, he said it's a great sport, too, because it's so accessible. And the low cost to get started doesn't hurt.

"It's not a really expensive sport if you don't want to make it that way," Rose says. "You can buy a little ten dollar fishing pole, you get some worms and go have some fun."

Ready to get started? Here are five kid-friendly fishing spots in Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley, along with info on what you might catch and where you can get bait nearby.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville

In-season fishing is permitted in Swan Lake and the Pocantico River, both located in this 1,400-acre state park, which is also a popular spot for birders and hikers. After fishing, take little animal lovers to see what feathered friends are visiting the park's bird feeder, located near the visitor center.

When: Daily from dawn to dusk

What you might catch: Small and large mouth bass, trout, sunfish, perch, pickerel and carp

Suggested bait: Night crawlers, mealworms, breadcrumbs or artificial lures; try Shu Fly Tackle & Fly Shop (156 Main St., Nanuet; 845-215-5470)

Info: Rockefeller State Park Preserve, 125 Phelps Way, Pleasantville; 914-631-1470; nysparks.com; $6 parking fee; free parking for Empire Passport holders; a free Rockefeller State Park fishing tag is required, which you can get at the park by presenting your NYS DEC fishing license

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River

Catch-and-release fly-fishing is permitted at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Westchester's largest park. Try your luck at either of the two streams that run through the reservation, Cross River or Stone Hill River. Outside of fishing, the park is also home to the Trailside Nature Museum, where the whole family will enjoy exhibits including the butterfly and moth hatcheries.

When: Daily from 8 a.m. to dusk

What you might catch: Stocked or native trout and other species

Bait: Artificial lures only; try Cross River Bait & Tackle (759 Route 35, Cross River; 914-763-6083)

Info: Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Route 35 and 121 South, Cross River; 914-864-7317; parks.westchestergov.com/ward-pound-ridge-reservation; $5 parking fee for Westchester County park pass holders, $10 for those without a pass, $1 for seniors.

Chadwick Lake Park in Newburgh

Created by damming Quassaick Creek in 1926, Chadwick Lake Park is a reservoir that supplies water to the town of Newburgh. The park is open to the public and offers a number of recreational activities and facilities, including three picnic shelters, a playground, walking trails, basketball courts and a roller rink.

When: Daily from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (June and July); check the park's website for hours at other times

What you might catch: Large mouth bass, trout and crappies

Bait: Night crawlers, mealworms or spinners; try Montgomery Sporting Goods & Paintball (32 Union St., Montgomery; 845-457-4678)

Info: Chadwick Lake Park, 1702 Route 300, Newburgh; 845-564-0608; www.townofnewburgh.org; $5 daily parking for residents, $10 daily parking for non-residents

Bear Mountain State Park in Bear Mountain

Set in the mountains on the west bank of the Hudson River, this park offers fishing access to both the river and Hessian Lake. Besides fishing, kids can enjoy the park's zoo, swimming pool and carousel for additional fees. Boat rentals are available.

When: Daily from 8 a.m. to dusk

What you might catch: White perch, sunfish, bass and trout

Bait: Spinners, night crawlers or minnows; try O & H Bait Shop (209 Meadow Ave., Chester; 845-469-2566)

Info: Bear Mountain State Park, Seven Lakes Dr., Bear Mountain; 845-786-2701 ext. 242; nysparks.com; $8 parking fee, free parking for Empire Passport holders; $5 per person per hour for boat rentals

Morgan Lake in Poughkeepsie

You can go shore fishing or pier fishing at this man-made lake, which was the site of the annual "Get Hooked on Fishing" children's fishing derby for 25 years. The lake is stocked with trout throughout the year, making it a great spot for kids and beginners to make their first catch. The once-neglected urban park is undergoing a revitalization effort, so Morgan Lake is also a great place for families to volunteer together during the monthly "Scavenger Hunt for Litter" events.

When: Daily from dawn to dusk

What you might catch: Trout, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, common carp and panfish

Bait: Night crawlers or phoebe lures; try Stewart's Shops (85 Creek Rd., Poughkeepsie; 845-471-9014)

Info: Morgan Lake, 17 Creek Rd., Poughkeepsie; 845-451-4113; www.morganlakepark.org; call 845-418-0016 to volunteer for the revitalization projects

Know before you go

Before grabbing the rod and reel, be sure you know the rules: Call the parks or visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website for fishing regulations, including licensing, permit or registration requirements, seasons and catch limits (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html).

You can register or purchase a fishing license by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257) or get one online at https://nyfgisales.appsolgrp.com/fgnyia/html/index.jsp. Licenses are also available at most town clerks' offices and at many sporting goods stores. The DEC has provided a Google map with licensing locations: https://maps.google.com/?q=http://www.dec.ny.gov/maps/gmliasouth.kmz

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