“After fishing all day in a 12 ft raft to rising Cutthroats, we ate a gourmet meal of salmon and garlic potatoes. We then made the 1 mile trek to soak ourselves in a perfectly heated natural hot pot with an equally warm waterfall acting as a shower up Loon Creek. The rest of the night consisted of a little Texas Hold Em and good conversation. As I retired to bed, I realized that we were witnessing a perfectly formed utopia where white water rafting met fantastic fishing; an outdoor paradise they call the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.”
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River flows 106 miles through some of the wildest country left in the lower 48 states, directly through the heart of Idaho’s 2.4 million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Consequently there are no roads into the area; access is either gained by a hike, a horse ride, flight in by bush plane or by floating all or part of its 106 miles. However the effort exerted will be well worth it as the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is one of the premier fly fishing rivers in the Continental U.S. for native Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout. In order to float this wild & scenic river, one either has to obtain a permit via the Idaho 4 River lottery system or go as a member of a commercially guided trip with any of many licensed outfitters. The Middle Fork Outfitters Association web page is a great reference tool to find an outfitter. Many of the outfitters offer fishing specific trips.
For those that wish to drive directly to the river, the Boundary Creek boat launch area and campground are approximately 50 miles from the town of Stanley. To get there from Stanley take SR 21 Northwest 20 miles to Bear Valley Rd (between mile post 109 and 110) then 26 miles on dirt road until you reach Boundary Creek. From Boundary Creek you can fish either up or down stream. (Dagger Falls is located just upstream. There is also another campground located at Dagger Falls.)
Fly Fishing on the Middle Fork is best from early July through September. (During an average water year, there will simply be too much water to fish effectively before mid July.) I prefer to float the river at water levels between 2 and 2.5 feet. These levels are typically found in late July/early August. Fish will range in size from 10-21 inches with the average fish being in the 12 to 15 inch range. If you float the river, the fish will get bigger as the river increases its flow beneath Big Creek (Big Creek itself is a fantastic fishery). Assuming that the fish cooperate a little, it is not uncommon for the skilled angler to frequently catch more than 50 trout in a day. On this river, even a less than ideal cast can bring a vigorous rise and the crystal clear water allows the angler to watch the underwater action. The fish are willing to take flies on top of water whether there is a hatch on or not. Consequently, the Middle Fork Salmon River is an excellent place to introduce the young or novice angler to the sport of fly fishing.
Spring is in the air and the Rocky Crew is busy organizing gear, stocking food, and getting ready for our first trip of the season. As summer approaches, the frequency of calls and emails increase as the last minute travel planners are scouring the web for the ultimate family adventure. Here is a quick update for our potential guests and all our friends and past customers that continue to recommend our small group river trips through Idaho’s Wilderness.
Middle Fork of the Salmon
Thanks to our loyal guests, great guides and amazing food, our trips consistently sell out year after year. Due to Rocky’s reputation for great guides and amazing trips, our Middle Fork trips are sold out through July 30th. Act quickly… Rocky’s Peak Season Middle Fork Trip on August 2-7th only has a few seats remaining.
The combination of Sawtooth Adventure Company’s reputation for offering the best family adventure available mixed with Rocky’s tradition of great guides and amazing food has our Wild & Scenic Salmon trips in high demand. This trip is perfect for families looking to escape and reconnect with their family & friends as they retrace Lewis & Clark’s footsteps on Idaho’s famous Wild & Scenic Salmon River of No Return.
It is an exciting time in the Rocky home office as the Idaho Rafting season is quickly approaching. The phone is ringing with excited guests as they plan and prepare for their magical journey down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon.
As I talk with guests about our world-class rafting trips and I find myself constantly being poised against our desert counterpart, the majestic Grand Canyon. This comes as no surprise as It is common knowledge that the Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Grand Canyon are America’s (and the world’s) “must-do” river trips. Both have world-renowned whitewater, amazing scenery and great history…but in our humble opinion, it’s not even a contest.
The obvious reason…the Middle Fork is untouched by mankind. In a world where mankind’s fingerprints have touched nearly everything, it is refreshing to find a place that is the same today as when the Shoshone and Sheepeater Indians called it there home. This fact seems especially poignant with the timing of Earth Day and America’s one day reminder to take their shoes off, walk barefoot in the grass, take a deep breath of fresh air, listen to the birds, and appreciate our natural world. On the Middle Fork, Earth Day is every day. This amazing free-flowing river runs the same course as it did when the dinosaurs roamed. You won’t find National Parks, dams and man-made floods. The Middle Fork has very few endangered species ad even fewer invasive species. What you will find is towering Yellow Pines, cascading crystal clear creeks, native West-Slope cutthroat, returning spawning Salmon and hardly the fingerprint of man. Simply put….like no other place on earth.
Lovers (and future lovers) of the Middle Fork owe this ageless gift to the former US senator from Idaho, Frank Forrester Church III. Senator Church was extremely influential securing protection for the unparalleled wilds of central Idaho. Frank Church lead the charge for the Wilderness Act of 1968, The Wild & Scenic River Act, and the Frank Church –River of No Return Wilderness. The result of these three historic pieces of legislature created the majestic Middle Fork of the Salmon. Nowhere else can one find a designated Wild & Scenic River that slices through the largest protected Wilderness Area in the lower 48.
The Middle Fork remains one of the last places in the United States where young generations can visit and experience wilderness in its pure form. It is no surprise Rocky Mountain River Tours has such a large number of returning clients each summer. Once you experience the magic of the Middle Fork you will swear to return, and share it with your closest family and friends. As a steward of the Frank Church Wilderness and and partner with the US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain River Tours is committed to continuing the legacy of the amazing Frank Church Wilderness and the wild Middle Fork of the Salmon for future generations to visit and enjoy.
Our 2013 trips are filling fast. Give us a call to reserve your week in the wilderness and to learn more about our world-class Idaho river trips.
Jared, Roni & Maya Hopkinson founded Sawtooth Adventure Company in 2001. SAC’s safety record, great guides and excellent service has set the standard for 1-day family raft trips on the Upper Salmon River and Wild & Scenic Main Salmon. Jared & Roni met at the University of Utah while pursuing a degree in Commercial Recreation Management & Marketing. Jared has recently returned to the U teaching Electronic Marketing & Management in the Outdoor Industry while obtaining a graduate degree in Adventure & Outdoor Planning. Jared’s heart is in Idaho and served as the President of the Stanley Chamber of Commerce from 06’ to 12’ . See more about Jared’s experience on LinkedIn
Jared, Roni & Maya are proud to announce the receipt of TripAdvisor.com’s 2012 Certificate of Excellence for their family rafting trips with Sawtooth Adventure Company, the highest service award available by the web’s leading travel resource. Jared and Roni will bring their experience offering the nation’s best family rafting adventures to maintain and build on Rocky’s tradition and exceptional service on the magical Middle Fork.
Good things seem to all happen at once. In addition to Jared & Roni’s expansion to the Middle Fork they are excited to expand their family with the arrival of a jr Middle Fork guide this August. Ironically, Maya was born the same year Sawtooth Adventure Company was founded and has been the motivating factor behind creating the Ultimate Family Adventure ever since. Wonder what the next jr guide will bring?