Here in the south, we don't have snowmelt runoff and in many areas floods are uncommon, and locally we have no outfitters. We are very dependent on gauges and visuals of river levels to know which rivers are at good levels. We do have a lot of runs without gauges, but you often get some idea by a nearby gauge in the adjacent watershed.
The whitewater runs that don't have gauges rarely get run unless the whitewater is particularly good -- I can think of a handful of creeky runs where the locals ask for visuals.
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