I was raised along the banks of the McKenzie River in Oregon. As a kid I spent a lot of time exploring and fishing small streams. My family had boys’ fly-fishing camps that I would participate and work in during the summers. I started helping my dad as a swamper on the Middle Fork of the Salmon trips when I was 13. I started guiding as soon as I was able to get a guides’ license. Being on a river has always been a passion of mine. Coming from a river running and fishing family, I was able to learn river skills at a young age. My life experiences running rivers has been spectacular. Hard to believe that I have been working on these astonishing rivers for over 55 years. Read More
Hi, I am Sherill Helfrich, often referred to as the river mom, the glue or the rock of the Helfrich clan and crew. Kenny and I have been married since 1980 and we are the proud parents of Kelsey and grandparents to our adorable Miss Fallon and Miss Quinn. I am also happy to be Kidd’s “mom”!
I grew up in Junction City, Oregon and spent a lot of time on the river with my family. Thanks to my Dad, he taught me to fly fish and love the outdoors. I knew that when I first met Kenny and found out that he had a drift boat and loved to fish that he was a real catch!
I enjoyed a 31year career as a Lane County Oregon Land Use Planner. I have been “retired” since 2008 and love Read More
I feel so lucky to have been born into the Helfrich Family. As a fourth generation guide in Idaho and fifth generation in Oregon, the river is in my blood. As the managing partner in the business, I love dedicating my time to furthering this amazing company that my family has dedicated their lives to since 1922. I get to spend my time working alongside my parents, my husband and some of my best friends as we all working together towards the common goal of providing the best experience we can for our guests. Running a boat and the opportunity to introduce people to the beautiful rivers of the Northwest is a true passion for me.
I grew up along the banks of the Read More
I started guiding for Helfrich River Outfitters about a year after I met Kelsey, the love of my life and the mother of my two beautiful daughters, Fallon and Quinn.
I had never worked on a river crew, I had never rowed a boat and I really didn’t even know the difference between an oar and a paddle. But with great teachers and mentors like my father-in-law Ken Helfrich, his dad Dave and my wife Kelsey, I was able to learn the tricks of the trade.
I was born into and raised in the outfitting industry. My dad, Dusty Youren, was a hunting outfitter in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and British Columbia. He was also a 5th generation Idaho rancher and a true Read More
The History of Guiding in the Helfrich Family
The Helfrich Family river journey began in 1922 with Prince Helfrich, who revolutionized guiding on the McKenzie River. He differentiated himself from other fishing guides by providing exceptional experiences, like preparing the day’s catch on the riverbank and offering homemade pies baked by his wife Marjorie during lunch. This approach of adding unique elements to our trips has been a key feature of our services for over 100 years, defining the Helfrich standard or as we call it, “the Helfrich Way”.
Prince’s passion and vision of outfitted river trips also shown through in his role in the invention and perfection of the McKenzie River Drift boat. As they built different designs, Prince and his close friends would use these boats on their river trips to see how they ran. At the end of their expeditions, they would return to the shop and perfect the design before heading out on their next adventure. Prince pioneered more than twenty rivers around the Pacific Northwest alongside his good friends Woodie Heinman and Veltie Pruitt
Through time, the family business has been passed down through four generations. Dave Helfrich, Prince’s oldest son, along with his brothers, carried on their father’s legacy with pride. Dave, a truly amazing boatman, was also know for his innovations that made Helfrich trips top of the line.
Once Dave was ready to retire from outfitting, his son Ken proudly stepped in and purchased ownership of the Middle Fork of the Salmon and Rogue River permits. Before taking over the family business, Ken had already started his own outfitting business, successfully operating on multiple rivers around the Pacific Northwest. He took on the challenge and grew the business into a thriving operation. Ken, like his father thrives on innovations that advance not only the quality of Helfrich trips, but the outdoor industry as a whole. He has been quietly responsible for many key inventions that are now standard parts of the river industry.
Now as we move into the fourth generation of the Helfrich family taking over ownership, we remain dedicated to continually improving and elevating our trips. Kelsey Helfrich, the fourth generation owner, has been proudly guiding along side her dad and grandad from a very young age. She quickly took to the oars like a natural and holds a true passion for the outdoors and the opportunity to introduce people to these amazing natural places. Her vision for the future of the business and industry will drive her as she carries on the success of the Helfrich Family legacy for years to come.