Ramsey’s Draft is a wild brook trout stream west of Staunton that was once stocked by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, but a flood in 1985 changed the course of the flow and destroyed the access road in many places. The state then created the Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness around its namesake, to the pleasure of outdoor enthusiasts from Virginia and beyond. This is a great creek to check out if you want to hike in and find solitude; the Draft extends almost seven miles back into the wilderness!
Originating at the confluence of its left and right prongs, Ramsey’s offers native brookies averaging 6-8 inches throughout, with plenty of chances for bigger fish. Typical freestone hatches like the Quill Gordon, caddis, PMD’s, and yellow stoneflies occur here, but usually a stealthy approach and an accurate cast with your favorite attractor dry in the appropriate size will get you into fish. In early spring’s colder water, nymphs will get you more hookups, but don’t be afraid to throw dry flies even in winter; we have taken good numbers of brookies in the middle of sunny days in December, January, and February. Later in April the dry fly action gets hot; you can catch a lot of fish in a short section of creek during the prime season.
Local guide tip: Ramsey’s offers any type of freestone habitat you can find, and the trout use it all. Cast to any spot that looks fishy, no matter how small. Often the best native brook trout will be found in places you wouldn’t expect them to be! Pocket water can be your best friend here.
While dries and nymphs are always a good bet, don’t be afraid to throw bigger streamers like golden retrievers, kreelex, and crystal buggers for bigger fish; fish to 12-13 inches are caught here. Ramsey’s can be fished upstream from the public parking area or downstream until you hit private property. This is a favorite of many local anglers, especially in early spring when water levels are up. This creek can get low quickly in drought periods so take advantage of it when we have plenty of wet weather. We hope you enjoy this rugged wilderness fishery as much as we do, so get out and explore it!
Directions from Mossy Creek Fly Fishing
- Take Interstate 81 South to the Bridgewater exit
- Take Rt. 257 West to Bridgewater, and turn Left onto Rt. 42 South
- Follow 42 all the way to Churchville
- In Churchville, turn right onto Rt. 250 West and follow for about 15 miles
- You’ll eventually cross Ramsey’s Draft, but keep driving until you see the Mountain House picnic area on your right. You can fish at the picnic area or drive up a short gravel road to the trailhead that leads into the wilderness
- You can take 81 South to Rt 250 West as well if you prefer the highway over Rt 42.