State budget cuts leak into fly fishing information resources

In what could only be considered a human fly fishing travesty, the New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection is suffering budget cuts, and part of their solution is to close a number of river flow gauges in the Delaware and Hudson river basins. I’m not sure how folks in the tri-state area feel about that, but if the same thing were to happen out West we’d have a new plume of automotive-induced smog rising within minutes of the decision.

See…those river gauges serve an important environmental purpose beyond just water conservation – they also keep tons of recreational enthusiasts from wasting their time driving to far away destinations only to find waterways un-wadeable, un-boatable, or otherwise unusable for the fun and games they had envisioned. Pointing to fly fishers, you might think the logic all wrong – when the waters are determined fishable as a result of flow information people come in greater droves, right? Well I don’t think so. It’s my belief that the angling crowd is going to try and fish any chance they get (I know I do), and this information serves more to deter them from heading out when the time is not right, versus just assuming every time is right.

I watch the USGS data like a hawk during the prime season, and while it’s forced a little hooky play as a substitute for a crowded weekend jaunt, when I know its going to be shoulder-to-shoulder I simply work over weekend instead. Further, flow data has kept me away from the water on days I knew the bugs were thick. Had I not known the water was suitable for cruise liner navigation, I would have wasted the time and effort, as well as the petrol.

On a brighter note, the USGS has made some snazzy improvements to their flow information – a while back I noticed they started putting pictures of the flow gauge locations up…


Now there’s a visual perspective to go along with my use of long/lat data to figure out what flows are where, and how different tributaries might alter the data I’m looking at as compared to where I might fish. A nice touch indeed.

MG signing off (to check the flows).

Editor’s note: As the scholar and gentleman Jean-Paul “B.A. Baracus Carpus” Lipton has noted, the rivers are swelling in North Dakota and beyond, gauges or not, and there are plenty of fine folks risking life and limb to help with what seems to be a full-on crisis. If you are in the area, and capable, lend a helping hand to a neighbor wherever possible. Thanks!


I’d be super pissed if they started shutting down gauging stations over here. Like you, it is my life blood to getting on to some of the rivers around here. It may also save me the 120 mile RT from discovering the river is blown out.

You said it rough:

It may also save me the 120 mile RT from discovering the river is blown out.

Now double the mileage, and you’d have our dilemma.

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