Formed by numerous feeder creeks high along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the South Mills River becomes fishable for fly anglers by the time it enters the Cradle of Forestry Historic Area off Hwy. 276. There, this candidate for federal Wild & Scenic River designation is packed with beaver ponds full of small, wild brown trout. But below the old gauging station on FS 476, the river widens as it drops over several beautiful cascades, including scenic High Falls. If backcountry fishing for spooky wild browns and rainbows is your idea of nirvana, the South Mills is heaven on earth. Access to the interior of the roadless area is via the 12-mile long South Mills River Trail. The stream is classified Wild Trout and has no closed season.
Directions from Brevard: There are two ways to access this fishing area. The first is from Pink Beds located near the Cradle of Forestry. From the Pink Beds trailhead, take the right fork of the trail to reach the fishing waters more quickly. The other option is to head to Turkey Pen Area of Pisgah National Forest. From downtown, take NC-280 East towards Asheville. After passing the intersection for the main entrance to Pisgah National Forest, continue on 280 for approximately 5.8 miles to a left onto Turkey Pen Road. The road is gravel, and is often quite rutted, so super low clearance vehicles might have trouble depending on the current road condition. Follow the gravel for about 1.2 miles to the parking lot at the end. The trail starts up the steps to the left of the parking lot and leads down to the South Fork Mills River where fishing options are abundant both up and downstream of the swinging bridge.