My wife, the Admiral, calls me “Rain Man” cuz I’m always crunching numbers. None of that ‘new math’ stuff. No algebra, either. When I entered high school algebra was a requirement. A half century later I can attest the need for this course of study to find success in life was pure crap…and I worked for many years as a paramedic, requiring algebraic equations to assure correct dosage of meds.
But I was a paramedic–not a pharmacist or MD. The formulas could have bee easily memorized by a task-trained monkey. OK, so the Admiral’s nickname for me also has to deal with attitude.
A pessimist is an optimist with experience. Failure to plan for the worst invites disaster. Anything better than disaster is a good day on the water. Most days on the water are terrific.
This morning might have been an exception. I cancelled a trip because of exceptionally high water and 83% prediction of rain. The weatherman got the rain wrong, but the 35+ mph sustained wind correct.
A check of surface water temps revealed 45-47 degrees. Looks like my last blog was on target! Bass pretty much shut down at 53 degrees in the fall. Walleye action really picks up when water temps go below 48. We are now at this point.
Water clarity is good, given perpetually high water conditions. River levels are dropping slowly. Right now they are about 629 on Pool 9. Water is still coming through the trees. Fish don’t have edges to relate to, making it tougher to corral food. This will change markedly when the level drops to 627. Edges appear then, both above and below the water–back eddies and current breaks in which forage can hold, with predators hovering nearby.
Conditions get even better when the level drops to 625–and below. We should see this by the first week in November, barring more significant rain.
Here’s a positive thought: walleyes have had very little pressure ALL YEAR because of perpetual high water. The dominant year class of ‘eyes in the system which started 2018 just shy of the 15″ minimum keeper length are now fat, legal fish–with little discretion as winter comes knocking at the door.
But the Rain Man becomes the Ice Man when that magic number 32 appears on the thermometer. Fish will still be biting as long as the boat ramps allow access. Then it will be time to break out the buckets and short rods again.
Two years ago I quit guiding ice fishing. Too much work for this old river rat. Besides, a fishing guide is not a magician. A guide can’t make them eat, When water temps drop below 40 degrees the feeding window is short–often outside the window of a half-day guided trip.
Using basic math I crunched the numbers, concluding it costs $62 every time I launch the boat, based on 75 guide trips per year.
Beginning next year the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service is taxing Miss River fishing guides 3% of their gross income up front.
FWS personnel have never worked as fishing guided on Ol’ Man River. Most have probably never run a business. I’ve done BOTH for longer than most of ’em have been on the planet. But they feel compelled to tell me how to do both, and charge 3% of my gross income up to $500 annually with every cent of this tax going to ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES.
Doesn’t matter that the River has been at the ‘Action Stage’ perpetually every month this year since August. Doesn’t matter if the outboard blows up and you’re out of business for awhile.
A couple weeks ago I had a phone conversation with Tim Yager, assistant refuge mgr. for the FWS. Told him how much it cost to launch the boat, based on 75 trips/yr and how this year’s work didn’t even come close to that.
Yager said “how can you afford to run a business?” gotta say, he’s mighty sharp for a college boy. Believe my life’s work of teaching folks about the joys and wonders of the River are about done.
Only the Creator knows where the numbers go from this point forward. God is the ultimate Rain Man