Boaters - just curious how your summer is going

bagdropper

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Oct 17, 2002
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I'm here on the Mississippi pool 11 this morning. Utterly glorious for near mid July. Mostly calm, not a cloud in the sky, and the temps are outstanding (meaning, not oppressively hot and humid). And the river level are damn near perfect for this pool. Background...I got here about noon yesterday - and I have noticed something though that I did not think I would see given all of the above.

After 40 years, I know the traffic trends here pretty well. Good times or bad, the river here is usually "economy-proof"...people get their boats out always during summer. This time of year the river is always busy on weekends (yes, even on a sleepy Sunday morning) unless the river levels are so high that they swallow up the beaches.

So, I expected that the river would be jammed up this weekend - even given that it is the weekend after the 4th of July. However, yesterday late afternoon we had the typical 3pm to 6pm rush of traffic...but it was noticeably down numbers-wise...and the big and fast rigs were almost non-existent. No usual parades of big cruisers and speedboats - we'd get one here and there, but it was mostly more of the smaller cruiser/pleasure boat types that I'd term are more "economical".

And this morning, sheesh. You'd think it was a Tuesday morning, not a Sunday morning. Sunday mornings are usually busy with people from the sandbars down river ferrying campers and their gear up to the public ramp, along with fishermen, and those trying to get their last ride of the weekend in before the sun gets too high. The river is DEAD - I don't believe there's been 25 boats total gone by so far (been up since 530am), and usually by this time we're over 100.


I can only assume the reasons are the economy and gas prices. For example, my boat, which is pretty economical, a lock to lock run is about 8-10 gallons (5-7 mpg given wind, average speed, etc) - today, that's a $50 boat ride if not more. For the big rigs, it's double or even triple that.

So, just curious...has this summer's economy kept you off the water at all? Cause it sure's hell looks like it is keeping a LOT of boats parked around here.
 
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dekhawk

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Nov 14, 2001
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I'm here on the Mississippi pool 11 this morning. Utterly glorious for near mid July. Mostly calm, not a cloud in the sky, and the temps are outstanding (meaning, not oppressively hot and humid). And the river level are damn near perfect for this pool. Background...I got here about noon yesterday - and I have noticed something though that I did not think I would see given all of the above.

After 40 years, I know the traffic trends here pretty well. Good times or bad, the river here is usually "economy-proof"...people get their boats out always during summer. This time of year the river is always busy on weekends (yes, even on a sleepy Sunday morning) unless the river levels are so high that they swallow up the beaches.

So, I expected that the river would be jammed up this weekend - even given that it is the weekend after the 4th of July. However, yesterday late afternoon we had the typical 3pm to 6pm rush of traffic...but it was noticeably down numbers-wise...and the big and fast rigs were almost non-existent. No usual parades of big cruisers and speedboats - we'd get one here and there, but it was mostly more of the smaller cruiser/pleasure boat types that I'd term are more "economical".

And this morning, sheesh. You'd think it was a Tuesday morning, not a Sunday morning. Sunday mornings are usually busy with people from the sandbars down river ferrying campers and their gear up to the public ramp, along with fishermen, and those trying to get their last ride of the weekend in before the sun gets too high. The river is DEAD - I don't believe there's been 25 boats total gone by so far (been up since 530am), and usually by this time we're over 100.


I can only assume the reasons are the economy and gas prices. For example, my boat, which is pretty economical, a lock to lock run is about 8-10 gallons (5-7 mpg given wind, average speed, etc) - today, that's a $50 boat ride if not more. For the big rigs, it's double or even triple that.

So, just curious...has this summer's economy kept you off the water at all? Cause it sure's hell looks like it is keeping a LOT of boats parked around here.

Gas prices are high, economy is good. That’s part of the reason gas prices are high.
 

waterboy4582

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Nov 14, 2007
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cedar rapids
Went to Table Rock in June, many less jet skis and the big runners sitting in coves for extended periods of time. Probably tough to justify a $600 lake end to lake end trip
 
Feb 9, 2013
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The ole 25hp Evinrude doesn't tear thru it too much on the John boat. Went out yesterday morning and evening and don't need to worry about filling the 6 gallon tank for a while still
Yeah, the older I get the more I’m about simplicity and how much fun I can have at lowest cost. Much rather be kayaking down a creek than tearing across a bay in a 40ft center console with four 300hp outboards.
 

HawkeyeShawn

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Nov 9, 2001
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Good summer. We purchased a condo down at the LOTO, so this is my first summer not trailering the boat. Have a slip and a lift does wonders for my pre and post boating stress levels. Got in a solid week of boating /floating the last week of June and headed to the lake the last week of July.
 

bagdropper

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Oct 17, 2002
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The ole 25hp Evinrude doesn't tear thru it too much on the John boat. Went out yesterday morning and evening and don't need to worry about filling the 6 gallon tank for a while still

Yep. My first boat had a 20hp then 25hp Merc (1970's-1980's era engines) on a 14 foot jon boat - seemed like a tank of gas lasted forever. All I had in it (besides "trip gear") was a 6 gallon tank, life jacket, oars, and anchors. The boat weighed maybe tops 300 pounds total. A nice, simple boat that could go just about anywhere on the river...great for exploring.

My nephew now has it. He goes fishing every weekend in it. The boat is 51 years old now (a riveted Polar Craft extra wide extra deep flat bottom), he put a 1990's era 25 Merc on it. LOVES that boat.

One doesn't need a big ass fancy boat to have fun on many Iowa waters. The Mississippi is great for these types of boats, especially when it's not too busy and the wind isn't bad.
 
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InsaneHawkJJP

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Apr 1, 2013
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Decorah
I didn't realize people still boated on the river.
Lots of rednecks love to pollute the water and the land. They can make the river unbearable at times, but it’s a big draw up here in the northeastern part of the state. I don’t get it but I know lots of people who have “cabins” on the river.
 

jberesford

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Dec 1, 2001
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I think the biggest contributing factor is how these marinas have turned into summer residences for people. Personally I think it's idiotic to live in a camper in a marina all summer, but hey, not my world.

So every day and night there's a raging party going on. These boater groups basically just meet up with each other at a remote location anyways, so with gas prices being stupid high, people aren't even taking their boats out and just staying at the marina and drinking at the campers or even on their parked boats.
 

onlyTheObvious

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Jan 3, 2021
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Lots of rednecks love to pollute the water and the land. They can make the river unbearable at times, but it’s a big draw up here in the northeastern part of the state. I don’t get it but I know lots of people who have “cabins” on the river.
Gross. Muddy water, smells, snakes, and mosquitoes.

oh look big logs floating in it also
 
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SalAunese

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Jul 11, 2002
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My uncle put a $110k pontoon on the Shell Rock River. Why? No clue but his kids seem to enjoy it. I haven’t had time to put my boat out on the lake yet, it’s still sitting in the marina but we’ve been super busy the last 4-5 weeks too.
 

SF HAWKEYE

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Jan 11, 2003
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Been a good boating season for us. Only been to Saylorville once which is a headache and gas sucker. We’ve mostly been going on a little no wake lake and fishing and swimming off it. Been up to white fish in Brainerd and Lake Panorama for the 4th.
hope to make it over to Pool 10-11 in August. Pull some eyes out of Mud Henn and the backwaters. Love it up there in the fall.
How have the weeds been in pool 11?
My uncle has a “cabin” near harpers ferry and sometimes the water gets so low we have to pole our way out of his backwater.
 

Daggerfoot

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Sep 22, 2002
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Santa Cruz
Running a saltwater guide boat is my job, and when I'm not doing that, I fish solo commercial halibut. Being in California has magnified the impact of high fuel prices which I've had to pass on to both my guide clients and my retail fish buyers. I haven't had any fall off in bookings, in fact, I'm doing more guide trips this year than I ever have. Depending on the type of trip, I burn through 15-30 gallons every day. And so even though I've raised my prices, it doesn't fully off-set the increase in costs to run the boat.
 

Mike Zierath

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Jun 3, 2002
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Been a good boating season for us. Only been to Saylorville once which is a headache and gas sucker. We’ve mostly been going on a little no wake lake and fishing and swimming off it. Been up to white fish in Brainerd and Lake Panorama for the 4th.
hope to make it over to Pool 10-11 in August. Pull some eyes out of Mud Henn and the backwaters. Love it up there in the fall.
How have the weeds been in pool 11?
My uncle has a “cabin” near harpers ferry and sometimes the water gets so low we have to pole our way out of his backwater.
Never had that problem in pools 9, 10 or 11. Hard to throw a crank bait when it’s like that….so I don’t!
 
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ICWestfan

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May 26, 2005
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We drove out to Solon yesterday and Maheffey Bridge boat ramp was noticebly "empty". Lot's of open parking spots and that was around 3 p.m. Boat traffic looked down as well especially for such a glorious day that was yesterday.

We have a pontoon with a 90 horse Merc at our place in Lansing. We use it every time we are up there. One thing we noticed is that every weekend all of the rental houseboats at SS Marina are out but mostly parked on beaches.
 

seminoledq

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Aug 1, 2005
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Boat ramps here always seem full on the weekends. Definitely no shortage pf people getting out on the water. We tried to get out on the kayaks yesterday in South St. Pete but the wind wouldn't cooperate. A lot of boats were on the water but they had to stay inshore doe to the wind. Sandbars are always packed too so not much of a boating drop-off where I'm at in Florida.
 

bluestarhwk

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Jul 28, 2015
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Yep. My first boat had a 20hp then 25hp Merc (1970's-1980's era engines) on a 14 foot jon boat - seemed like a tank of gas lasted forever. All I had in it (besides "trip gear") was a 6 gallon tank, life jacket, oars, and anchors. The boat weighed maybe tops 300 pounds total. A nice, simple boat that could go just about anywhere on the river...great for exploring.

My nephew now has it. He goes fishing every weekend in it. The boat is 51 years old now (a riveted Polar Craft extra wide extra deep flat bottom), he put a 1990's era 25 Merc on it. LOVES that boat.

One doesn't need a big ass fancy boat to have fun on many Iowa waters. The Mississippi is great for these types of boats, especially when it's not too busy and the wind isn't bad.
Totally agree. My boat (as my screen name implies) is an early 1950's Blue Star Super Chief, made in Miami, OK. Solid build, 15 foot v-bottom pushed by a 35hp 1980's Johnson. Boat's registration number is so low, it has a single letter.
Port at Buenie and fish all day from Cassville to Guttenberg on 6 gallons. Usually stayed off the water on weekends to avoid the crazies. Best time to be on the river was in the evening during the week. Quiet and water smooth as glass.
 

HawkMachine

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Jul 6, 2020
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Heard a guy on Lake Delhi got picked up about a week ago.

Blew like a .24 or something with kids on board.

OWI and child endangerment.

Ouch.
 
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Dorrman

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Oct 1, 2001
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Not a boater but I was with some boaters this weekend who said that DNR has been out enforce this year after last year's accident. They said they have barely been out this year because they felt that everyone is being harassed.
 

SF HAWKEYE

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In all of my years boating and fishing I've never been approached by DNR. But my uncle said my cousin and her husband came back to the dock one day and walked up to the cabin, a few minutes later there was a knock at the door and DNR was there asking for their fishing license...They both had them and he thanked them and walked back down to the dock and left. I thought that was pretty crazy.