Henderson County

North Mills River

Here's a nice report from Donald Yelton on the North Mills River. I've wanted to fish the Mills for a long while, but somehow I never seem to get there. One of these days...
My dad and a friend and I got out to the NMR (North Carolina) yesterday. Dad and I met up with John at the camp ground area on the river just before noon. Although the parking lot had several cars, there were only a few other fishers there. Most of the other cars had bike racks on them and there were several groups of picnickers enjoying the beautiful day.

We started out a few hundred yards below the parking lot in a large pool where dad and I had had some success in the last couple off weeks. The fish were very cooperative and we were all soon into a trout or two. John's wife and daughter brought us lunch about 1:30 and while dad and john ate a leisurely repast, I scarfed down two sandwiches and went back to fishing.

I moved up towards a certain section right in the picnic area and started upstream. On the bank there was a large group of picnickers, parents, kids, grand parents and all, just getting started with their lunch. I could smell the bar-b-que wafting though the air, as I eased up to the spot that I new held a nice brown, parallel to where the picnickers were. The water is shallow on the left side of the stream, with a channel running down the right side. At the top of this channel is a small pool and that's where the brown likes to hold.

When I got near enough to make a long cast into the pool, I let rip and landed my #14 EHC right in the middle of the upper section of the pool and let it slowly drift back. As it neared the back of the pool, I could feel myself start to lean forward into that semi-crouch that many of us use when we know that a fish is about to strike. You know the one. Leaning forward, eyes intently focused on the fly, the whole world is just a few feet of water and one fly. The water exploded with action and I lifted the rod tip and felt Mr. Brown dodge to the left with his surprise at finding out that "lunch" bit back! My immediate thought was that I had him where I wanted him, in the shallow, slower current that came down the left side of the stream just in front of me. The next thing I know he's gotten himself into the heavier current and I thought " HA! Let him fight the stream for a while, that will slow him down some!" well he didn't fight the stream, he went downstream on be and fast! Smart fish! Old Donald starts to run, not walk, down stream. Fighting Mr. Brown and the footing and trying not to get the line caught in my feet. I don't want to pull a "Mike Ray" and fall in up to my hat!

It was right then that I thought "This is a great day! Even if I don't catch him, I won't soon forget this." I worked him hard and finally got back below him and got him just barely to the edge of the current and slipped my net behind him. Then I let him have just enough slack and he dropped back into the net. 16 inches of beautiful brown trout. As I lifted him up to remove the fly, I heard the clapping and cheers for the picnickers who had stopped their cooking and festivities to watch. I held up the trout briefly so they could see it and then lowered him back into the water and watched him swim off. I think he enjoyed the applause, I know I did.

The rest of the day was great, we caught several dozen fish each, but that brown, although not the largest I caught, was worth the efforts of the entire day. I new where he was, stalked him, fought him, caught him, and released him to be caught again.

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Last modified 17-December-1997