Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) Tip


It occurred to me that I have never mentioned CFS before.  CFS stands for cubic feet per second.  It is a very simple thing, but CFS is very important aspect of my fishing preparation.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS),, has put flow meters in many of the main rivers and tributaries within American watersheds.  I personally use check these almost every week for my local waters to get a good feel for how healthy the streams look.  Add in my prior experiences, and I can estimate whether or not a particular day will be easy or hard to fish.

This past week, we had so much rain, I thought my local waters would be unfishable.  Driving an hour, only to find out a river is blown out, is not my idea of fun.  So I went to the website to check the CFS, and here is what I found:

CFS Kinni

Notice the flow peaked on 10th, and then had another peak on the 11th.  This was due to the rain storms we had.  Fortunately for me, the river recovered very quickly, and by the 13th, it was ready to be fished again.  Some of the best fishing I have experience has been during the downward progression about 10-20 CFS above average,

Without this tool, I would have decided not to fish this weekend.   Even though it is slightly above average, this looks very fishable to me, but I will let you know how it goes.

If you are not using the USGS water flow readings, maybe it’s time to start.  You can easily enter a google search with your river name and the words USGS and CFS.  And if you really want to improve your “fly fishing IQ”, keep track of which water levels produce the most amounts of fish at certain times of the year and maybe you will be able to duplicate your successful days.


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