Low-cost, low-power wireless sensor networks (mote networks) have the potential to revolutionize data collection methods in hydrology. They promise the ability to monitor catchments at very high spatial and temporal resolution with flexible sampling schemes, real time data processing and high levels of quality control. We operated an experimental network of 41 motes monitoring seven different parameters each at 15 min intervals for 10 months in a small forested catchment in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, to determine if this emerging technology is suitable for use by hydrologists in its current form. Our particular interests were ease of setup, sampling reliability, power consumption, and hardware resilience. We found that while motes gave the ability to monitor a catchment at resolution levels that were previously impossible, they still need to evolve into an easier to use, more reliable platform before they can replace traditional data collection methods.