It's a great event especially for the kids. Every kid leaves with a "prize". Here is a little History on the Derby - or you can go to http://www.crappiederby.com/ for more information
The History of the Almost-Annual New York State Crappie DerbyThe New York State Crappie Derby was founded in late 1973 when two members of the Whitney Point Sportsmens Association were enjoying a "beverage" while discussing the excellent ice fishing at, what was then known as the Whitney Point Reservoir. Crappies were responding well to bait being offered by the local anglers. The weather was also very nice and the discussion led to "why not . . .". A few phone calls were made and the event was on. In a few weeks time, a $150 purse was assembled and some posters were distributed. In early 1974, 197 people gathered on the ice and had a lot of fun. A lot of fish were taken and all went away satisfied. That's when the invention started. The Whitney Point Sportsmens Association decided that it should be made an annual event.
Over the course of the next couple of years, it evolved into what is known today as the "party derby". Ice derbys at that time typically registered anglers at the beginning of the day and weighed and measured their fish at the end of the day. People had fun but we wanted to add a little excitement. We evolved an event whereby a judging area with a Public Address system was set up in the middle of the ice and prizes were awarded each 15 minute period from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This encouraged a lot of coming and going across the ice. The rules were kept at a minimum and we added additional prizes to the event.
The lake, now called Whitney Point Lake, lent itself well to this event structure. Whitney Point Lake is about 3 1/2 miles long and 3/4 miles wide. The lake was developed as a flood control reservoir and impounded the Otselic River. The impoundment is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A river channel about 20' deep follows along the West side of the lake. The crappies (Calico Bass) thrived and multiplied. A county park (Dorchester Park) was developed at the southeast area and provided a base of operations with excellent parking. Broome County Department of Parks and Recreation saw this event as a way to promote the park during the off-season. The parks department joined us in a joint venture. Now it really took off.
Prizes, from the beginning, were solicited from local merchants. They took the form of cash, merchandise and gift certificates. The prizes were distributed across the 28 derbys (15 minute segments, 8 AM to 3 PM) and more significant prizes were awarded for the biggest crappie of the day (1st, 2nd & 3rd). Additional prizes were awarded for the first caught (or biggest) of numerous fish species.
Until 1977, we had been blessed with good weather which helped the event catch on. Then it happened. In 1977 mother nature decided to throw us a curve. On derby day, the weather never climbed above zero and the winds were raging. 20-30 MPH winds were blowing people across the ice. There was 28 inches of ice to drill through but 301 very brave souls ventured forth. It was, by far, the most demanding day in the history of our event to date.
By 1978, the purse expanded to $1,000.00 and we saw over 1,000 participants register. by 1985, the purse had expanded to over $2,000.00. Unfortunately, little information exists for the 1987, 88 and 89 events. By 1995, the purse exceeded $5,000.00 and in 2000 the purse exceeded $10,000.00.