Frequently Asked Questions

Middle Fork of the Salmon Frequently Asked Questions

What separates your company from other river companies?

It starts with our guides. We are told time and time again the guides were the best part of the trip and they really made their experience special. MFRT has been family owned and operated by the Porters since its inception in 1980. We only run the Middle Fork; therefore all of our time, energy and effort go into making sure this is the best river trip you’ll experience. Our guides don’t move around during the summer working different rivers with different crews—they work together all summer, year in and year out and their experience, professionalism and cohesiveness show. MFRT is very particular about keeping top of the line equipment in the best shape for our guides and guests. Then there is the food, which has been featured on the television program Great Chef’s outdoor feature. Our food continually exceeds expectations. Quite simply, we love what we do. We are here because we love the Middle Fork, we love the experience we provide and we love to share it with you.

What is the youngest/oldest person you will take
down the Middle Fork?

Safety is very important to us. In general we say we take folks from 8 years old to 80 years old—this is during late June through the rest of the summer. Early season (June 2–20) our minimum age is 12 years old due to the higher flows. Not all years have high water, so sometimes those June trips are suitable for 8-year-olds too. If you have a child that is 7 years old and has spent time in the outdoors, we will make exceptions from time to time. If you have any questions about this, please give us a call to discuss particulars on age.

Can beginners go on your trip?

Absolutely. The Middle Fork is a class III+ river and is great for people of all experience levels, including beginners. You can choose your degree of participation based on your comfort level. We will have all types of craft available, and when we are off the water you can choose to join other activities or not. It’s all up to you. This is your trip, and we will give you the options to make it the best experience possible.

When is the best time to go?

This depends on the type of trip you are looking for. The Middle Fork is a free flowing river system (not dam controlled), which means June will usually have more exciting whitewater. In early July you’ll experience medium to medium-low flows and then low water levels in August. We usually limit the minimum age to 12 years old through the June 20 launch due to the higher flows. June 28 and on the minimum age is 8 years old, but we have been know to make exceptions based on water levels and the experience of the child. If you are really looking forward to the fishing we recommend July 14 or later, since it really starts to heat up later in the season. There is always a point when we will have to start flying our groups into the river because the top of the river is too low, regardless of how much snow pack we have in the spring. We usually don't have to start flying our groups in until August 7 and later, but snow pack and spring heat will determine this. Typically, a river level of 2 feet or lower will necessitate a fly-in trip.

Do I need to bring cash?

You may want to bring some extra money on the river for ice cream, postcards, or other items that can be purchased at the Flying B Ranch on the 4th day of the trip. The Flying B is one of only two commercial ranches along the river (grandfathered in when it became the Wilderness Area). You may also want to bring cash or a check as a gratuity for the guides given at the end of the trip (usually back in Stanley).

What about tipping the guide staff?

Our guides work really hard to provide great service. Gratuities are certainly appreciated and normally range between 10%– 20% of the trip cost. Gratuities are typically given to the lead guide back in Stanley when we say our farewells.

Do you have a place to store suitcases or other items that we don’t want to bring on the river?

We have storage available at the hotel we’ll be staying in the night before the trip. You can leave a suitcase containing all your travel gear there the morning we depart. Consider packing a duffle bag to put inside our dry bags as it’s easier to pull out of the dry bag and alleviates the need to leave behind a suitcase.

Can I bring my cell phone or satellite phone?

Fortunately, cell phones do not work along the Middle Fork. It’s one of the reasons this experience is so wonderful. We discourage the use of satellite phones, but you can get a satellite signal in the wilderness. If you must bring one please do not use the phone openly around the group. We carry a satellite phone with us for emergencies, and it’s used at the discretion of our guide crew.

What about sanitation and toilet facilities?

We encourage our guests to keep their hands clean, and we will always have a hand wash system at lunch and in camp at the kitchen and near the toilet. Regarding the toilets, there are no flush toilets or pit outhouses allowed along the Middle Fork. All human waste has to be taken out with us. We are happy to preserve the banks and camps along the river and provide the best available tank portable toilets for our group.

Are the mosquitoes or bugs bad?

No, there are very few mosquitoes or other bugs on the Middle Fork. We’ll see a few mosquitoes the first night in the high alpine section but after that we move into the high desert and canyon, and it is arid country with few bugs or mosquitoes. Later in the summer we start to see yellow jacket wasps, so if you are allergic to wasp or bee stings please let us know.

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"The guides were all fabulous, knowledgeable, friendly, interesting
and showed concern
for guests. They made
the trip!"

Suze Williams