Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ramsey's Draft Wilderness, GWNF, May 15, 2013

Day two of my Plan B instead of fishing in NY's Catskills.

The night before I met up with fellow Bill Wills Southeastern VA Chapter of TU member John Crosby and his lovely wife Karen.  We had a nice long breakfast, solved a few world problems, and then got our act together to fish.

First we stopped at the South River Fly shop in Waynesboro to get the skinny.  Owner Kevin Little is a very nice guy and I highly recommend if you're in the area that you stop in for a good deal on 3wt. Echo rods, some key flies (restocked my stimulator arsenal) and the best intel.  After consulting with the experts, and discussing the sad state of high water conditions, we decided to go back to the George Washington National Forest, and fish the Ramsey's Draft Wilderness Area.  David Nash (   had fished that stream the week before and had done well so we were off!

We dinked around so we didn't get to the stream until afternoon.  

We agreed to follow the same strategy of moving upstream for a distance in the hopes of finding less-pressured water.  We walked for about 45 minutes, got off the trail somehow (following the steam bank) and started our fishing moving upstream as we went.  The first section we fished looked like this.

 John nymphing.

I spied this blowdown and decided to try my luck casting up and underneath the downed trees.  

Perseverance was rewarded with what turned out to be the biggest brookie of the day.  He took the stimulator.

Casting to the head of this pool from the upstream side, I landed an errant cast into the debris, so as I scootched out the log to retrieve my fly, I spotted a snake (water snake?) slithering up and along the upper log.  I quickly retrieved the fly, and then got a 6th sense feeling and looked to my left to spot another sibling.  Yikes!  I made hast to amscraa!

 On another errant cast, I was retrieving the fly from a snag-bush and noticed this casing.  What monster hatched out of this inch and a half shell!

I lost track of John, but on I went upstream fishing riffle and pool until my heart's content.  Scenes like this drew me ever upward.

There were small black caddis flies flitting around so I tied on a size 14, but I couldn't even see the damned thing.  Old eyes suck!  The wind was blowing in gusts, so, not being an expert in terrestrial flies or fishing, I decided to put on an ant, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to see the black ants either, so I put on a beetle with a poof of chartreuse on it.  No hits, so I went back to the black ant.  I still couldn't see it but set the hook on any surface activity and got a few small brookies this way.     


 Not having seen John in a while, I started back down the trail at 6 pm.  This time it was easy to follow and, calling his name all the way, made my way downstream taking pictures along the way. 

 I found this interesting rack wall with water dripping down its face.  The leaky faucet gave it a cool covering of mosses and plants.


 More snakes on the path.  This one a harmless garter snake.

May apples in bloom along the trail....

Wild geraniums aka "cranesbill".  In this frame, a little bit of pleasure and pain!

The trail was flanked with flowers everywhere you looked!

When I got back to the parking lot, thankfully, I found John - fishing while he waited for me.  Here he is plying one last run.

We steered the car west and made our way around the traffic piling up at the Blue Ridge intersection on Rt. 64.  John's backroad knowledge beats Siri or GPS any day!

I threw my stuff in the back of the car and left Charlottesville at about 8:30 pm.  I hit road construction about every 10 miles heading east on route 64, but at least the traffic was moving late on a weekday night.  Got home to my loved ones just after midnight and hit the pillow like a rock, but couldn't help dream of VA's terrific trout streams, the hospitality of good friends, and the blessings of the day.   

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