WHITNEY POINT (WBNG) — The “Almost Annual Crappie Derby” ice fishing tournament scheduled for Saturday, February 16 has been canceled, according to the event’s organizers.
“It is what its is,” said Tom Decker, Crappie Derby Treasurer. “Mother nature always wins.”
Decker, who has been involved in the fishing tournament for more than 20 years highlighted the fluctuating temperatures as a cause for inconsistencies in the ice. He said when the ice quickly freezes, when it’s exposed to a larger range of temperatures, it causes the ice to be weaker due to air bubbles that are trapped inside.
“We really don’t have a lot of that on the lake right now, but there is some,” said Decker about ice with air bubbles.
Another concern has been the elevating water levels. The Whitney Point Reservoir is not only home to the Crappie Derby, but has flood gates. It controls flooding in the area. When the layer of ice rises and lowers with the water level it causes cracking and separation from the shore, exposing water.
“Just getting on the ice right now is bad that’s the main reason we’re cancelling it we just don’t want anybody coming off the edges at the park, or anywhere around, and stepping in and getting in the water,” explained Decker.
12 News noticed the shores of the reservoir had a lot of ice chucks, which had what Decker called “jagged and sharp” edges.
Decker advises you to always go ice fishing with someone who is experienced, adding that being on the ice is always a risk.
Coordinators were hopeful in an interview with 12 News on February 1.
“As of right now it looks like it’s going to be probably a go,” Crappie Derby Event Coordinator Chuck Sweet said at the time. “But, here again, Mother Nature, makes the ultimate decision.”
Organizers announced Monday that it won’t happen this year. Last year’s derby was successful after a two year drought without it.
There will be no postpone date, according to the event’s website.