I use both. Understanding that cfs data is given in log scale hasn't been a problem for me, but I've been reading USGS discharge graphs since long before they were on the internet. In some cases like the Skagit I use both interchangeably because for many years I had dam releases in cfs and compared that to upper river gauges also in cfs, but my best real time access to middle and lower river gauges was only available in feet above msl.
When using cfs and height charts, I visit my local ditch and see what it's like, make notes - what flies swam right and caught fish, where they were hidin', how was the wadin', and what changes the streambed made that winter - then I put it down in print for future reference.
I have a favorite stream that is lights out when it's flowin' at certain rate and temperature.
When I see the water about to hit the "magical numbers"...I start gettin' the shakes.
Sometimes I think we just tend to over analyze. We almost opted not to float the Big Hole yesterday as my fishing buddy looked at the uptick on the graph. Neither of us particularly like rising water, but the 200 cfs increase on the gage chart had him thinking the river was coming up fast. Over the years, I really have not paid much attention to Montana river flow data because we were here on vacation and, well, we're here... fish the cards you're dealt. No doubt now that we live here, I'll pay a bit more attention to streamflow data, but not likely to the extent some seem too. For instance, I listen to some of the locals here talk about it such that I wonder if they ever get out at all... got to be just this or just that. Like I told my buddy yesterday; fuck it, it may not be optimum, but it's a gorgeous day and we're fishing.
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