Todd Kaplan of Hailey has experienced the Great Recession as a fly fishing guide working for Silver Creek Outfitters in Ketchum, and he thinks the worst is behind him.
Bookings plummeted by about two-thirds last summer, but this year, things are looking up.
He expects his guiding income to increase about 40 percent over last year, based on initial bookings and projections.
"I'm seeing that really big uptick, and it's really come on strong the last six weeks," Kaplan said.
Most of his clients are higher-income earners from cities like Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. When banks were on the verge of collapse and stock markets plunged, their wallets clammed up.
They were still coming to Sun Valley last summer, he said, but weren't spending much money. Now Kaplan is seeing his clients returning and some splurging on more expensive trips.
He has a three-day horse pack and fishing trip booked this summer in the upper Little Wood drainage, and he didn't have any last year.
"They just want to go out and do those things again," Kaplan said. "And before, it was too scary for them."
That could be good news for Idaho's tourism industry, which generates more than $3 billion annually, employs about 26,000 Idahoans and provides up to $500 million annually in taxes, according to the Idaho Department of Commerce
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