North Mills River

The North Mills River is located just a few miles west of the Asheville airport and its close proximity to town makes it a favorite among anglers, hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and campers alike. In spite of this, it is very possible to spend a weekday fishing there and have the stream to yourself.

The river can be broken into three sections. The lower section runs through the picnic area and campground and follows Forest Service Road 1206 (Co. Rd. 1345)–this area receives a lot of stocked fish and a lot of fishing pressure.

The middle section begins a little west of the campground area where the river takes a turn to the northwest and passes under the road. Access to this area is by a trail along the stream and it is stocked. In addition, trout move around in the stream a lot and once stocking has begun they will move into this stretch from upstream and downstream.

The final section is accessed by driving up Forest Service Road 5000 and taking the first left across the low water bridge. Go to the end of the road and park at the kiosk. Walk down the lower gated road until you reach an access trail leading to the stream. This section extends upstream to the dam and is well stocked but also receives a lot of fishing pressure.

All three sections are managed under the delayed harvest catch and release program from October 1 until the first Saturday in June.

The lower and upper section of North Mills River is certainly a very popular fishing area for good reason.  This river is conveniently located to Asheville, has easy access and fishes very well into winter.

The lower section consists of the area that runs through the campground and picnic area.  This area is the most popular and can be crowded during peak times.

The upper sections starts where the river makes a sharp right bend past the campground and can be accessed by a trail that runs along the river.  The trail will follow along the river for approx. 2 miles up to the Hendersonville Reservoir.

Rods:  7-9 ft, 3wt – 5wt

Leaders/Tippet: 7.5-9” leaders, 4-5x is perfectly adequate.  6x for low water.

Flies: Attractor patterns, flashy nymphs, eggs, San Juan style worms and small baitfish patters work great up to two weeks after a stocking.  Go to a more natural selection of flies after the fish become more acclimated to their new environment.  During spring, look for hatches and rising fish, usually in the late afternoon.

Elevation:  2,200+/- feet.  Camping. Horseback, Hiking and Mountain biking trails.  The camping area is open year-round with limited services from November-March.  Camping peak season is from March 27th, 2014 through October 16th, 2014.

I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution.

John Gierach