Ken is the owner and operator of Helfrich River Outfitters. As a third generation guide and outfitter in the Helfrich family, Ken has been working and playing on the river his whole life.
“I was very lucky to grow up in a guiding family. When I was very young I was always excited when I got to float the river with my dad or grandfather. I always wanted to be a guide from the time I was very small. I started rowing my own boat down rivers in 1969 when I was 13. I rowed the McKenzie and John Day rivers that spring and started working as a swamper on the Middle Fork of the Salmon that summer. My next five summers I worked with my dad on the Black Water River in Canada, rowing a baggage boat and along with working on the Middle Fork of the Salmon as a swamper. I was 19 the firstyear I actually took clients down the Middle Fork. My passion for guiding and boating continued to grow and fly fishing and boating consumed all of my time. After my daughter Kelsey was born in 1985, I started my own one-day float trips on the McKenzie and ran day pontoon floats and fishing trips in the summer so I could be around when Kelsey was small. I took over the Lower Main Salmon River permit from my father in 1990 and then the Rogue River permit in 1995. Running the Middle Fork of the Salmon business has always been my main goal and in 2001 I was able to fulfill that goal by buying the permit from my dad. I am one of the lucky people in the world because I am doing the thing I always wanted to do and living my dreams.” --Ken