Stream: North Mills River
Guide: Tony Brooks
What to expect: N. Mills is at median for this time of year and running clear. That’s just a touch skinny but normal for this time of year. Hold-over fish “gone wild” have been found rising to winter stoneflies on the surface film using a dry/dropper set up.
Stream Flow: 180 CFS – Median 180 CFS
Water Temp: Low 40’s
Clarity: Gin Clear
General Overview: Dry/Dropper with a size 16 dry Stone and a small mayfly nymph pattern, squirmy worm or micro egg pattern have triggered strikes.
Best Advice: Go after 10am and be done by 4pm. Using a Euro/Tightline set up, fish at some distance away (25 – 30 feet) with light entry casts and 2.5′ – 4′ of 6x tippet (Fluro) from the dry to a nymph or two. A cast of three flies covering multiple layers of the column works in slow seams and tailouts with a couple feet of depth. Start initial drifts keeping the dry suspended in the air. Subsequent drifts working the dry down to the surface and dabbing the dry up and down some off of the surface a few inches or so.
Winter Stoneflies (14-18)
Go To Patterns:
Black Mop Girdle Bug with Black Legs (10-12)
Dry Stripper Stone (16)
Walt’s Worm (14-16)
Chartreuse Mop (10-12)
Tan Squirmy Worm (10-14)
Miscellaneous: N. Mills is only minutes away from Asheville Regional Airport and can see a fair amount of pressure due to its proximity to the greater Asheville Area. Mid-week trips have had surprisingly little angling pressure throughout the watershed. Dabbing the dry up and down can get rising fish to lift their heads several inches out of the water. Kind of fun the tease them a bit!