This is no normal spring in Idaho. Because of public health concerns related to COVID-19, events are being postponed, education interrupted, and work schedules modified to fit our new daily routine. At the Idaho Conservation League, we’re fortunate to be able to  work from home.  

However, many Idahoans have found themselves without work. Local communities have shown their support by encouraging take-out orders and purchasing gift cards or merchandise to help restaurants, bars, and other businesses. Another industry that’s being hit hard from COVID-19 is the outdoor guiding and outfitting community.  

In a normal year, guides and outfitters spend the spring getting ready to provide visitors with incredible experiences in Idaho’s backcountry while fishing, rafting, and hunting. This year, many outfitters are finding bookings have come to a halt and cancellations have started to pour in. For businesses that rely on already dismal runs of salmon and steelhead, this is a blow that some may not be able to weather. In a business where the majority of income is made between May and October, the loss of an entire season could be the last straw.

Guides will struggle to make ends meet, too. River, hunting, and fishing guides have a very specialized skill set that often does not translate cleanly to other types of work with similar compensation.

How you can help

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you’re planning a trip with an outfitter, wait and see how the spring unfolds before you consider cancelling.
  • Inquire with outfitters about their rescheduling policies. Many outfitters are adapting their policies to better address COVID-19 concerns.
  • If you or folks you know are interested in outfitted recreation, but are unsure about this summer, book for 2021.
  • Do you or friends have a favorite outfitter from trips past? Buy some merchandise! 
  • Consider hiring a guide who is out of work, even if it’s a seasonal agreement. Many guides are great risk managers, naturalists and cooks. By trade, they are charismatic and work hard.

It’s important that we take care of each other while things remain uncertain. What better way to get away from the chaos than to have a hunting, fishing, or river-based adventure to look forward to? Outfitters are inherently good risk managers, and are already taking precautions that they deem necessary, including cancellation and improvements on already robust sanitation practices.

If you have the resources to support our guides and outfitters, this is the time. They’re stewards and experts in Idaho’s backcountry. Once COVID-19 passes, we want to make sure that we still have the things that make Idaho, Idaho.

Here are some outfitters that have supported ICL in the past.  Please consider giving them your support.

Single and Multi-Day River Trips


Hughes River Expeditions

SOAR Northwest

Wilderness River Outfitters

Middle Fork Wilderness Outfitters

White Cloud Outfitters

Wapiti River Guides

Rocky Mountain River Tours

ROW Adventures

Salmon River Experience

Hunting and Fishing

Pioneer Outfitters

Idaho Angler

Lost River Outfitters

Silver Creek Outfitters

White Cloud Outfitters

Winter/Hut Trips

Sun Valley Trekking


Sawtooth Flying Service

Arnold Aviation