As for the Chilko testimonial, it comes naturally. I can only speak to the first weeks of July, but.... As a result of my geezerhood, my first experience fishing western rivers with a flyrod was the late fifties, and seriously since about 1962 or so. I managed at least a month of wandering in whatever old crate I owned every summer from that time until around 1980 when they had deteriorated so much that I no longer had the fire to spend weeks living out of my trunk to fish them.
The Yellowstone, Gallatin, South fork, Henry's fork, and Big Horn etc. were old friends in those early days, and now I don't even bother. They are getting better, they tell me, but the days when a 3 to 4 pound rainbow on a dry fly was commonplace are gone. And when you do fish them you share the water with a mass of humanity. This isn't just an old coots failing memory, but a genuine, though sad, history.
Which brings me to the Chilko. Except for the years immediately following the fire, the Chilko fishes like the great rivers all used to. Healthy populations of large, mature, vital, and very fit river rainbow trout are a great rarity today, and the Chilko has had them in abundance, especially for the last few years. Even more tantalizing, they aren't just taking drys, but relative small ones. The two best fish I have seen taken in the last two years [24"+] have been taken on size 14ish caddis [darn you Pat Boland] and once they key on the stoneflies the fishing is terrific.
The fish become very aggressive and gullible. That is why this is the ideal river for both the novice, and the codger who wants to relive the early days. In addition, you share the water with a very small number of colleagues. Most days, it's just the guests of the Tsylos Park Lodge on the river, and when others do appear it's very seldom more than one or two. That's the reason that I keep coming back, year after year, and seeing many of the same fanatical faces each time.
The lodge is a comfortable and cozy place, the food is good, and the staff are friendly, competent and enthusiastic, but frankly I'd make this long trip if I were in my own tent and cooking my own food..... the fishing is that good.