How to Set Up USGS Text Alerts for River Data

Bass Knuckles Fishing gives you a step-by-step on how to set up USGS notifications for a safer trip.

Every kayak fisherman worth their weight in fish knows about the USGS and that one can, at a minimum, check water height and flow rates for just about any stretch of river in the United States. Did you know that you can also get notifications through email or text messages from the USGS by setting parameters for gage stations every day or every hour? Yeah, no kidding. Pretty awesome, right? 

Nick and I use this feature on the Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Dam (Graford, Texas USGS) for flow rate, and, recently, we have been feeling the AT&T text love from the USGS. We have a text notification set to tell us when the Graford, Texas USGS station is registering a flow rate greater than 400 CFS. This is pretty handy information to have, given that the Possum Kingdom Dam is 93 miles from our house, and it would really suck to show up to find the river is a swirling vortex of doom!

Interested? Let’s use the Graford, Texas USGS Station as an example, then you can go nuts setting these notifications up for your favorite river stretches. Now, the Graford, Texas location only offers two pieces of information: gage height and cubic feet per second (CFS). You can set notifications on either or both, the steps are the same.  We will do a notification for CFS.

Pull up your USGS Station. You will note that under each graph there is text that reads, “Subscribe to Water Alert,” highlighted in yellow here.


Click on the WaterAlert hyperlink, and you will get the following screen. Simply complete the subscription form, check the acknowledgement box and submit.

Pretty darn painless, and it saves you a pain in the butt by setting up these notifications. Give it a try and see what you think, you can always unsubscribe from the notification that the USGS sends.

To see more kayak fishing content from Brent and Nick, check out their website.