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Experience Nature at her best with a fishing trip on the Middle Fork


A major headwaters section of the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states. Designated by Congress in 1968 as a Wild and Scenic River, bounded by four National Forests and the Idaho Primitive Area, it is truly great to experience Nature at her best. It boasts the second-deepest canyon of any North American river. From our put-in below Dagger Falls, at Boundary Creek*, to our take-out on The Main Salmon, at Cache Bar, 100 miles later, the river drops over 3,000 feet. From riffles to falls, there are 341 rapids sufficiently exciting to have designations—23 Class III, seven Class IV.

You may choose to run the river in a McKenzie drift boat where you and another guest will enjoy a deluxe fishing trip with a professional guide. The drift boat allows a fly fisherman to stand comfortably to fish. For those who want to learn, our full-time guides are excellent instructors. The fishing is catch and release, and experienced anglers have caught as many as 100 fish in a day. Or, you may choose to ride in an oar-powered raft in which the guests relax and enjoy the rapids and scenery while the guide rows them down the river. Or, you may choose a paddle raft in which the guests help get the raft through the rapids with our expert guidance. Each craft is designed with safety and comfort in mind.

You’ll see osprey, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, cliff swallows, dippers, killdeer, kingfishers, merganser, chukar, grouse, doves, owls, and humming birds. Our guides will help you spot bighorn sheep, otters, pika, and colorful ground squirrels. We occasionally see (or see evidence of) black bear, mule deer, elk, moose, coyote, cougar, bobcat, and mountain goat.

Its spectacular scenery, breathtaking rapids, beautiful campsites, caves and falls and hot springs, rich history of miners, military, and Indians, ancient pictographs, great hiking trails, fantastic fishing—all of the river’s features are well known to our guides and are happily shared with our guests. With all the beauty and excitement that Nature affords, many of our guests’ most pleasant memories of their Helfrich Middle Fork adventures are of the care with which they were treated by our guides—the setting up of camp, happy hour, and those fabulous meals. We feature the finest in outdoor cooking: menus featuring steak, chops, Dutch-oven biscuits and desserts, and fresh salads, served in fine Western manner.

If you look for excitement, relaxation, solitude, companionship and fun in a trip, The Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho, has it all. This is truly the premier whitewater trip of the Northwest. It’s called “The River of No Return,” but you’ll want to return many times.

Air service provided by Sawtooth Flying Service , and car shuttles provided by River Shuttles are available when you arrive in Idaho. Shuttle fee and plane fare are not included in the trip cost.

The night prior to the start of the trip should be spent in Stanley to assure an early start the next morning. We recommend Mountain Village Lodge (800-843-5475). Advance reservations are required.

* We leave Stanley as close to 9:00 AM as possible. Water levels determine our launch point. If we bus to Boundary Creek, we cover the transport costs. If we must fly in to another launch site, each person must cover his own airfare, usually around $125 per person.


Suggested Personal Equipment Middle Fork of the Salmon

  • Water Repellent Duffel Bag
  • Warm Coat & Sun Hat
  • Personal Toilet Articles & Towel
  • Light Hiking Boots, Sandals, or Tennis Shoes
  • Light Sleeping Bag (Sleeping Pad & Cot Furnished)
  • A small pillow
  • Rain Suit (2 Piece Mandatory)
  • Two Changes of Light Clothing
  • Swim Suit and Shorts
  • Small Flashlight
  • Dark Glasses and Sunscreen
  • Camera (Check Batteries)
  • Binoculars Optional
  • Water Bottle
  • Social Beverages and Mix
  • Fishing License (5 Day, we do not fish day 6)
  • 3 or 4 Weight Rod if you are bringing your own
  • Insect Repellent
  • Total Weight not to exceed 30 Lbs per person
  • Pack a small waterproof day pack for your boat. Each boat carries water and cold drinks

We Provide:

  • Fishing Tackle Furnished
  • Folding Chairs and eating tables
  • Deluxe tents, cots, and sleeping pads are furnished


  • Waders, hip boots, firearms, electronics, fireworks, or expensive jewelry

Gratuities average 15%.

John Day River 2018

The execution of Aaron’s team in all areas was flawless - the food superlative - and the fishing FUN, FUN, FUN.  Being able to share it with such an auspicious group - including our excellent hosts - is what really...MORE »

Middle Fork 2017

Hi Aaron, I wanted to take a  moment to thank you for organizing and executing such an awesome trip for all of us! Your team was incredible, and I am still dreaming about the food (big fan of the cornbread...MORE »

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