Those responsible for organizing the New York State Crappie Derby are expressing optimism that there will be sufficient ice to hold the event later this month.

The fishing competition on Whitney Point Lake has been a winter tradition that attracted thousands of people. But the event can't be held unless ice on the lake is thick enough to ensure the safety of participants and spectators.

Coordinator Dave Hughes says this will be the 41st attempt to hold the Crappie Derby.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Hughes said the event could not be held ten times because of inadequate ice on the lake.

With the cold weather in recent days, Hughes said he believes there's a 50-50 chance that conditions will permit the derby to take place as scheduled on January 25.

Hughes said he suspects a policy of raising the water levels in the lake in recent years may be a factor in the lack of sufficient ice for the event. He said although the water volume in the lake now is much greater than in the past, experts have said that's not the reason for ice growth issue.

Hughes said: "We'll see what this year brings."

There's more information about the event at the Crappie Derby website.