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Parental guidance: Preschoolers and fishing

The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium,

The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium, in Cold Spring Harbor, held its annual spring fair. Fishing is one of the available activities and Adriana Senior along with her daughter Chloe, 3, looks to catch one. (April 24, 2010) Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Q. My son is 4 years old, and I would like to take him fishing. Do you have a suggestion?

A. If you want to be pretty sure he'll catch a fish, try the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium at 1660 Rte. 25A in Cold Spring Harbor. Its pond is stocked with brook and rainbow trout raised there.

"You're not guaranteed, though most people do catch fish," says Krissy Forman, environmental educator.

Two caveats: The fishing isn't free, and you have to take home what you catch. Sessions are 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. daily except Wednesdays and Thursdays. On weekends, there's an additional 4 to 6 p.m. session. Admission is $6 per adult and $4 per child ages 3 to 12 and senior citizens. Then it's $5 to fish, $2 to rent a pole and $2 for a dozen worms. Each fish caught is $4.

For more information, call 516-692-6768 or visit cshfha.org.

Matthew Krug, environmental conservation officer at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in Stony Brook, recommends a freshwater pond.

"Freshwater fishing is usually a little safer. You don't have to worry about the surf, you don't have to go out in a boat. There's usually a little more action," he says.

Check www.dec.ny.gov for regulations on catch and release vs. keeping fish and a list of where to fish. Kids under 16 don't need a license, but if you're fishing as well, you need to purchase a $29 annual license at sporting goods stores or online, he says.

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