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Outfitters & Guides predict banner whitewater season

STANLEY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A snow filled winter will lead to an outstanding year for fishing and whitewater boating in Idaho this summer, according to the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association.  
 
Across the state, snowpack is measured at 98 to 180 percent of normal this spring. 
 
Key river basins, including the Salmon, Snake, Lochsa, Owyhee, Bruneau, Payette, Henry's Fork, St. Joe, and Moyie are expected to enjoy a full season.
 
With snow pack at 135 percent of normal, outfitters on the Middle Fork of the Salmon predict a "great" whitewater season.  
 
Middle Fork River Tours owner Clint Frank said water levels will be high when the summer season starts in June.  But he believes river trips will be manageable.
 
"I'd love to have a year like this every year," he said. "All of it is super manageable. You just want to make sure you go with experienced guides who have the skills and equipment to ensure you'll have a safe trip." 
 
Outfitters said it is unclear exactly when the peak runoff will occur but say they have strict guidelines to protect guests.
 
On the fishing side, guides at Three Rivers Ranch in eastern Idaho are expecting a good year as well.
 
"A good water year means it's going to be good for bug hatches," says B.J. Gerhart, a fishing guide for Three Rivers. Insect hatches are important for fly fishing, and the Henrys Fork, South Fork Snake River, Teton River and other streams in the area are popular for fly fishing. 
 
Gerhart said rainbow trout are spawning now under ideal conditions below Island Park Reservoir. 
 
Natural Resources Conservation Service water supply specialist Ron Abromovich said the region's highest water flows will depend on how warm it gets in April and May.
 
"Things are good, and they keep getting better," said Abromovich. "My advice is to be patient, know your limits, and enjoy the summer when it gets here."  

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