The Law of Averages: Snow Pack, Trout Size and The Pedantic Ass

by Mark McGlothlin on March 11, 2013

in Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Monday morning always seems to bring with it a schizophrenic array of tasks, messages, memos and media.

Riffling through my inbox and to do list this morning, looking for anything fishy and therefore inconsequential more interesting suitably distracting, I ran across an email query from a guy we know.

He’s a guy who tends to surface every several years when he gets an itch to fish Montana; this gentleman has very little interest in any aspect of our lives otherwise, views himself as an aristocratic intellectual type and is notably well-heeled. We’ve christened him the ‘pedantic ass’ (PA for short) for reasons that aren’t really that important here.

In typical fashion he posed two questions (coupled with a threat to occupy our guest room), which I actually answered via email as he disdains the reading of blogs written by amateurs.

…what is the average size of trout in Montana this year?

Ignoring how insanely idiotic the question was to begin with, given PA’s tendencies to be a quibbling dink I should have asked him what he really meant when he said ‘average’, the term ‘average’ describing a measure of central tendency. Did he want the arithmetic mean, the geometric mean, the harmonic mean, the mode, median or even the midrange?

Instead I actually told him a Central Russian trout parasite had devastated Montana’s trout numbers over the past two years and the ‘average size’ of trout in the state was now down to 6.5 inches and might not recover for years.

I then provided him a link to Colorado’s blue ribbon fishery page and several high-dollar lodges to house, feed and entertain his entourage.

…how’s the snowpack looking this year?

Sadly, it wasn’t much of a stretch to say that snowpack was drifting down below average for this time of year for several of our fave waters. I might have reported much worse numbers to him that actually demonstrated on the graphs below, recognizing he may go and check these for himself. Nobody tell him there’s still time for wet spring storms to dump for another couple of months to come.




Tags: Inquiring Minds Want to Know