USGS River Levels

These are the current USGS river levels on some of the rivers we fish.

These levels are provided by the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey).  The levels are real-time and are refreshed every 15 – 60 minutes.  We often depend on this information, especially when we are monitoring a river due to excessive rain or during times we have gone long stretches without rain.  Based on our experience on the river, we can often tell if the river level is too low to or too high to fish.  High water is not a bad thing, but if the visibility is effected, then it can turn a great fishing trip into a long boat ride on the water.


Skykomish River

  • Flow: 622 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 4.38 ft


Snohomish River

  • Flow: 1930 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 0.94 ft


Skagit River

  • Water Level: 4.23 ft


Cowlitz River

  • Flow: 2580 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 9.90 ft

USGS River Level Information

Current data typically are recorded at 15- to 60-minute intervals, stored onsite, and then transmitted to USGS offices every 1 to 4 hours, depending on the data relay technique used. Recording and transmission times may be more frequent during critical events.

Data from current sites are relayed to USGS offices via satellite, telephone, and/or radio telemetry and are available for viewing within minutes of arrival.  Sometimes you will find a site displaying, Graph Request Failed.  This is not a problem with your computer. Something is wrong with the site.  They generally have it up and working within 24 hours.

Aside from the USGS river levels we keep track of the tides in Puget Sound.  Our Puget Sound rivers are tidal in the lower rivers.  Some rivers are tidal for many miles, while other rivers can be tidal for just a few miles.  While not a crucial factor, the tidal conditions used in conjunction with other river conditions, such as flow, gauge height, temperature and visibility, it can indicate if new fish are moving into the river from the saltwater.  It takes years of careful observation to make sense of all of all of it.  With that said, it sometimes does not matter given how many salmon or steelhead want to come up river due to the run timing.



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