Forecasting of river discharge is crucial in hydrology and hydraulic engineering owing to its use in the design and management of water resource projects. The problem is customarily settled with data-driven models. In this research, a novel hybrid model which combines continuity equation and fuzzy pattern-recognition concept with artificial neural network (ANN), is presented for downstream river discharge forecasting in a river network. Time-varying water storage in a river station and fuzzy feature of river flow are considered accordingly. To verify the proposed model, traditional ANN model, fuzzy pattern-recognition neural network model, and hydrological modeling network model have been employed as the benchmark models. The root mean squared error, Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient and accuracy are adopted as evaluation criteria. The proposed hybrid model is applied to compute downstream river discharge in the Yellow River, Georgia, USA. Results indicate that the proposed hybrid model delivers better performance, which can effectively improve forecasting capability at the studied station. It is, therefore, proposed as a novel model for downstream river discharge forecasting because of its highly nonlinear, fuzzy and non-stationary properties.