Meet the Team that Makes Helfrich River Outfitters the Best in the Northwest!
I met Kelsey and the Helfrich family while Kelsey and I were going to school at Oregon State University. We had the same major, Recreation Resource Management in the College of Forestry. Both of us will tell you that we couldn’t have made it through college on time, or have had as much fun, without each other. From forestry classes to swing dancing, Kevin and Kelsey are a great team and could make any class or project fun.
As a guide, I really just enjoy showing people how good of time we can have out there. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner or world travelled angler, I will always work hard to ensure that you not only have a good day of fishing but a fun day on the river as well.
After 7 seasons in Wyoming the lore of steelhead got the best of me and off to the Pacific Northwest I went. We had steelhead in the Great Lakes, which where almost the demise of my college career as I spent more time in waders with a fly rod than in class. But, I always wanted to catch the real deal. Oregon it was. I started guiding the Deschutes in ’98. Ultimately owning and operating my own outfitting business on the Deschutes for 8 seasons. Along the way I had the opportunity to guide a bunch of the premiere Oregon fisheries for trout and steelhead. In the falls I would guide waterfowl hunts as well. Winters found me working in the ski industry.
I still guide the Deschutes, it is home, and a token appearance during the salmon fly hatch is fun. But the stories about the boating and fishing from guide buddies that would go to Idaho and work for the Helfriches on the Middle Fork got the best of me. I contacted Ken and I got my shot to work for this amazing crew. Idaho and the Middle Fork will get in your blood and keep calling you back.
Now it’s Idaho for the summer, Rogue for the fall, and ski patrolling at Mt Bachelor for the winter. Not a bad schedule, amazing rivers and boating to skiing pow.
I grew up camping, boating, and fishing the lakes of Minnesota. My parents instilled a love of all things outdoors in me and my two brothers. Annual vacations out west only enhanced my love of mountains and rivers and in 1983 I followed that love of the west to my new hometown Read Moreof Burley, Idaho. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born in Idaho, but I’m darned sure going to die in Idaho.
I moved to Idaho with a degree in drafting and a few years of experience in construction. After four more years of construction, I returned to school and earned a B.S. in Mathematics Education and later a Masters of Natural Science in Geology from Idaho State University in Pocatello. 1990 was an important year for me. That is the year that I began my teaching career at Burley High School and the year I kicked off my boating career. The two jobs go hand in hand together and I still love watching my students and guests learn and expand their knowledge, in the classroom or on the river.
My boating career started on the Main Salmon River, tagging along on a trip to help out and learn the routine. By the second day I was hooked, and I haven’t missed a season of guiding on the Main Salmon or Middle Fork since. I worked for Warren River Expeditions for 20 years before starting on the Helfrich River Outfitters crew in 2011. In 1994, while guiding on the Main Salmon I met my best friend, Marilyn on a Salmon River trip and we were married a year later on the river. We enjoy many outdoor adventures together both on and off the river. We raised two kids and have four granddaughters! When I’m not teaching or guiding, I can also be found chasing elk with my muzzleloader, target shooting, hiking, camping, and traveling.
I love working on the Helfrich Crew! I can’t imagine a better river trip than that offered by Helfrich River Outfitters. I feel fortunate to work with such a great group of people. As a geology teacher, I love talking about rocks and river canyons, expecially on my favorite river, the Middle Fork of the Salmon!
I began working for Helfrich River Outfitters in 2006 and I now guide the Middle Fork and Main Salmon, Rogue and McKenzie Rivers for HRO. My first Middle Fork trip was in 2002 and I’m excited for many more seasons to come! I also guides on the John Day, Alsea, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Elk, Sixes, Willamette and Santiam Rivers. In my down time I continues to pursue my ardor for fishing and drift boats. I have named all my drift boats “Miss Kay” in honor of my grandmother, who let me row a boat as soon as I was able. I spent hours and hours rowing my Grandma Kay around Puget Sound.
A little more about myself, I grew up in Springfield, Oregon and was an avid outdoorsman and athlete. I attended Montana State University Billings where I obtained my Criminal Justice degree back in the spring 2018. I was able to play collegiate baseball where I was a pitcher. Since graduation I have been focusing more of my free time looking for shed antlers, playing golf, or hunting. I’m still jumping from state to state so haven’t found the right place to call “home,” yet
I started “swamping” for my grandfather, Dean, when I was 10 years old. I swamped for a handful of trips every year until I turned 16 and was able to be an employee for my mom’s rafting company so I did that for a year. At 17 I was able to get my Idaho guides license and haven’t missed a season since. In 2019 my grandfather sold our side of the family business to Ken and Kelsey and they gave me the opportunity to come join the fun. Since then I have worked the Middle Fork and the Rogue for HRO and have loved every second of it. The guides I get to work with, the clients, and the experience we get to share is phenomenal.
My friends and I look forward to sharing a river experience with you and your group or family! See you on the river!
Growing up in Utah, I spent my winters ski racing and summers mountain biking, hiking, camping, and rafting. I remember asking my ski coach, “What do you do for work during the summers?” He told me he was a river guide, and that intrigued me. I started college at Montana State University where I majored in Exercise Science and Psychology and also started river guiding in the summers. I spent the next four summers guiding on the Yampa Canyon and the Gates of Lodore on the Green River. I fell in love with seeing families, especially kids, feel the freedom the outdoors brings out in people.
I’m also known as Safety Officer Mel on the river. I wanted to make the move to Idaho and guide longer trips, so I got a job on the Middle Fork. Spending summers in the Frank Church Wilderness is the best, and I look forward to exploring more of Oregon in the Fall! I spend my winters ski patrolling in Montana. When I’m not in the mountains or on the rivers, you can find me traveling in my camper or flying to other countries. See you on the river!
I graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology. Go Ducks! When I’m not guiding, I still spend my free time in the outdoors fishing and hunting. In the off season I work part time at an engineering firm. I look forward to spending a day on the water with you out in some of God’s greatest places.
By the time he tagged along with Helfrich River Outfitters on the Middle Fork at age 19, he was already an accomplished boatman, fisherman, and kayaker. Kris has guided on the Deschutes, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Main Salmon, Rogue, and Owyhee Rivers, in addition to exploring rivers by kayak in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Montana, California, and South America.
There is certainly more to come for Kris and we are so excited to have him as a key part of our team. Starting this season, Kris will be managing operations for our new set of Middle Fork launches and second crew. With the help and support of our rockstar guides, Kris will be in charge of the day to day activities on and off the water pertaining to his set of trips.
Lucky for us, Kris also comes as a package deal with his awesome wife and adorable little boy. In 2017 we were ecstatic to welcome his new wife Jordan into our HRO family and recently the couple had their first son, Kolter Finn, who has already been stacking his river resume. Like his father, we expect great things from this little fisherman. With a nod to the next generation, we want to congratulate Kris on his many accomplishments. His commitment to providing a great experience, his work ethic and unique, lovable character have set him apart over the years. We’ve watched Kris grow into a truly phenomenal person, father and guide. We are proud to announce his promotion to Middle Fork Manager and look forward to being a continued part of Kris’ river legacy, career and family for years to come.
Taylor is a second generation river guide, who grew up next to the Potomac River in Maryland. He first rafted the Salmon when he was 5 and has been hooked ever since. “I’ve filled my life with the most fun thing I can possibly find to do each season. I spend every fall exploring 3rd world countries on the back of a motorcycle, then winters in Alta, UT caretakeing a cabin and skiing every day, before kite surfing each spring in the Dominican Republic, and making my way to the Middle Fork each summer.” Read More
I was 4 years old when my parents tossed me and my two brothers into the family raft for our first river trip on the John Day River in Oregon. Since then, I have explored rivers all across the West Coast, adventures into the last frontier on the Tatshenshini River up in Alaska, and traveled abroad to guide on rivers such as the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. In addition to my rafting experience, I began whitewater kayaking when I was 15 years old and spend the majority of the off season kayaking on rivers throughout the Pacific North West. Read More
I was born in Eugene Oregon but by the time I was 3, I moved up to Portland where I have grown up. As a kid my parents exposed me to a wide variety of outdoor sports such as skiing, rafting, climbing, kayaking, and surfing. I am currently a Senior at the University of Oregon majoring in Spatial Data Science and Geography and I hope to use this knowledge to help protect and conserve rivers across the country. Outside of the outdoors, my interests involve cartography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and college football. (Go ducks!) I had shoulder surgery in the fall of 2019, and I was forced to take last summer off, so I am excited to get on the water again this summer! Can’t wait to see you out there.