I still fish the Farmington only for a handful of reasons: it does have some of largest wild brown trout in the state and it is a bottom draw tailwater that stays cold in the summer. A few days ago Mike Carl invited me out in the morning and I jumped on the opportunity. I don't often get up there early in the day and the chance to fish streamers and dries in some of my favorite water there before some idiot stepped on all the good lies, and that had me pretty certain of a good morning.
I started with dries in a shallow riffle with some rising fish. There were way too many bugs in and on and around the water to really pin down a specific hatch at the time so I went with an easy choice for non-selective risers: Sturdy's Fancy. Two small wild browns landed and a few missed later I was satisfied and ready to throw big streamers.
I moved up into some pocket water with what I call "good bank holds". A good bank hold has to be 1-4ft deep, have some shade nearby, some riffle, and moderate-fast current. These are the places I feel most confident will result in an aggressive take on a large streamer.
This time I got two very aggressive surface hits very quickly casting upstream into bank lies that I knew never had fish any other time I'd fished them. Why? Anglers had stood in them at some point during the day to nymph the pockets further out. Too many anglers still stand in the water they should be casting to.
Further up I hooked and landed a nice fat little brown, once again within feet of the bank.
I released that fish and then walked back up into position to work the next lie when I heard what I thought was another angler coming down to the water's edge. I was ready to reprimand somebody for thinking it was okay to jump in right next to me when there was easily 100 yards on either side of me with nobody fishing when I saw something black and fuzzy. It was a little bear, probably no more than 30 or 40lbs heavier than me, clearly very healthy. He popped out of the grass about 15 feet away, clearly oblivious to my presence. I said "Heeeey Bear!" and he calmly sauntered off. I kept fishing just as if he hadn't been there and caught another fat brown that stayed airborne for most of the fight.
I had pretty much exhausted the water I wanted to fish up there and so went down to the flat water where pods of trout were rising to little black caddis. It wasn't easy pickings, flat water never is, but we fooled a few before breakfast.