Ramsey's Draft is a great stream for "natives", "specks", or what Yankees and fly fisherman call wild brook trout. This is an especially good stream to fish if the water is too high on the bigger water. You can fish upstream or downstream from the parking area. The trail was rehabbed last summer as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act (The Stimulus Bill), so access is a lot easier than it was a year ago.
My favorite time to fish Ramsey's Draft is in the early spring, when it gets tremendous Quill hatches and the brookies are near suicidal.
I've been fishing here more than anywhere this spring. Tremendous hatches of Quills and March Browns. I've been averaging about 4 +9" fish every outing and dozens of smaller fish. It's an absolute must to debarb your hooks to cut down on mortality with these little guys. Dino Capuzzo supplied this picture of his recent success:
I was worried about fishing the Draft after last year's drought. When I hiked there in July 2010, there was no, zero, water flowing in the stream near the parking lot. But the trout survived, although I suspect their numbers are suppressed. The mayfly hatch seemed especially affected compared to last year at this time. But, nevertheless, I caught about a dozen fish on quill comparadun patterns upstream from the parking lot. The biggest fish was 10". (See youtube video below). Worried as I was about fish survival, I walked downstream from the restroom parking area to the first big bend pool before I left. And I was quite relieved to see trout hugging the bottom.
- Take US 250 west of Staunton. It's faster to take Rt 262 (the Staunton ring road) than going through Staunton.
- Drive about 15 miles west, through Churchville, into the national forest.
- Ramsey's Draft has an obvious parking lot to the right of 250.