BONNERS FERRY — The wide variety of outdoor activities in North Idaho is one of its main attractions. From hiking, wildlife watching, to water recreation and fishing, there are options for everyone to enjoy.
However, visitors may not have the knowledge of where to go, or didn’t have the luggage space to bring their boat and/or fishing gear, and that is where Long Drift Outfitters have stepped in.
Long Drift Outfitters offers floating and fishing tours on the Kootenai River, specializing in floating and fly fishing adventures, and it also offers stand-up paddleboard trips as well.
“With Long Drift Outfitters, I hope to provide a service to our community and surrounding area and encourage people to get out and explore the Kootenai River,” said owner Aaron Gordon.
Gordon and his wife’s love for fly fishing and outdoor activities stem from their upbringing and continued to be a passion for the duo. At 18, Gordon began guiding tours on rivers in Colorado, making the occupation one that can span over a lifetime.
The couple moved to the region about 13 years ago after spending their honeymoon floating and fishing the Flaming Gorge of the Green River and falling in love with the areas. Since then, Gordon has spent time obtaining certification followed by guiding people on the Kootenai, Clark Fork, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, the Main Salmon, the Lochsa and the Coeur d’Alene rivers. Now, they specialize in tours on the Kootenai River, boasting scenic floats, fishing and stand-up paddleboard trips.
Speaking about how business has progressed throughout the warm months, Gordon said, “Things have been pretty busy in July and I expect August to fill up as it is a great time to fish and be on the water.”
The couple is directing their two young daughters to love the outdoors as well, in both summer and winter activities.
About two years ago, they came across a McKenzie River Wooden drift boat in dire need of repair. These boats are a version of an open water dory, just crafted for river use. The McKenzie designs can be noted by a wide, flat bottom and flared sides, a narrow, flat bow and a pointed stern. Since the boat will be going downstream, the design makes it so the waves easily move around the boat and there is less chance for tipping with the wide bottom.
“What began as an attempt to get our young family fishing together on the river, grew into the dream to share this adventure with others,” said Rachel Gordon. “The project of restoring this boat, and experiencing its beautiful craftsmanship and smoothness on the water, led Aaron to his decision to start Long Drift Outfitters. The beauty, and elegance of a classic wood drift boat is the perfect match for fly fishing on the Kootenai River.”
With the Kootenai River and its surroundings being picturesque, having the ability to view wildlife as one floats calmly down the river, and having the opportunity to catch dinner for the night, the Outfitters bring the opportunity and knowledge for anyone to go on an adventure.
“I look forward to working with the community and hope that we can bring some much due attention to the fabulous fishery that we have on the Kootenai River,” Gordon said. “The Idaho Section is a wonderful place and a true hidden gem in North Idaho.”
For more information, visit their website at www.longdriftoutfitters.com or call 303-917-2822.