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April storms have Idaho river guides and outfitters excited for summer

Posted at 7:24 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 21:24:35-04

BOISE, Idaho — This winter had Idaho Outfitter and Guides Association a little worried, but with all the snow this April guides are preparing for a long summer of taking people down the river.

Since April 1, the Payette River basin jumped up 18 percent reaching 84 percent of average in the snow water equivalent for this time of year, the Salmon River basin came up 12 percent to 89 and the Clearwater Basin rose 16 percent and is now at 101 percent of average.

Most of Idaho, especially the southern half remains below average but this last spike should be good enough to ensure a good season for Idaho guides.

"With every dropping snowflake, the stoke level rises for river rafting and jet boat season," said Aaron Lieberman of the Idaho Outfitter and Guides Association. "Water outlook should be in that perfect spot where it is not too high that we get pushed out of early-season runs by high water, but high enough that we shouldn’t have to worry about those low low water conditions that can sometimes ruin that river rafting trip."

Idaho is the Whitewater State with huge rapids and big thrills on the Payette or the Lochsa for rafting, outfitters will take you on some incredible fishing expeditions for sturgeon, salmon or steelhead and for those that just want to enjoy the scenery, guides feature jet boat rides down the Snake through Hells Canyon or a scenic float on rafts down the river of no return.

Idaho also has some of the best multi-day rivers in the country including the Main Salmon, the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Selway and Hells Canyon.

"We have more navigable river miles than any other state in the country and we have some other records to boot the Salmon River is the longest undammed river in the continental United States, said Lieberman. "There is quite a bit of variety in Idaho depending on what your interest or thrill level is.”

Going with experienced guides is also the safest way to enjoy Idaho rivers, but we also learned that trips are booking up quickly a trend that started during the pandemic so if an epic river trip is on your wishlist for the summer the time to start planning is now.

"There are still opportunities and there are still openings with multiple different avenues across the state you are just going to have to zero in on where you want to go and what you want to do," said Lieberman. "Then start reaching out to outfitters in that area to see if they can get you on something."