Originally Posted by carvedog
You need to look at the number of applicants too. On some days there are 500 to 600 applicants for two or three permits.
I took a few minutes to look at the 2013 stats for the Middle Fork and Main and the odds are never in your favor. If you look at the month of July you'll find that chances of drawing a permit (on average) were 1 in 173 for the Middle and 1 in 109 for the Main. The worst single day the odds were 1 in 203 for the Main (7/15 - 3 permits avail) and 1 in 430 for the Middle (7/08 - 2 permit avail). The average odds in June and Aug are better, but only because # of permits for those months (early and late seasons) drop considerably. Keep in mind these numbers include all choices (1st-4th).
Now I need to go back and find stats from years before the lottery was run through rec.gov - back when you could only submit one application. The odds back then were somewhat better, but there were fewer boaters back then too. In 18 years of applying for a permit, I've only drawn once.