Trace Ridge-North Mills River, Mills River


From Airport Rd/ NC-280. Continue to  follow NC-280 South.  Turn right onto N. Mills River Rd (at the Ingles Grocery store).   Follow road for approx..6.5 miles to the N. Mills River Campground area. Immediately after the first parking lot, take a right on forest road 5000 and bear left at Wash Creek.  You will dead-end at the Trace Ridge trailhead.  From here you could take one of the many trails DOWN to the river.

River Information

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.

What to Use

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.

Area Information and Shared Recreation

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.