Hendersonville: Best Kept Secret For Trout Anglers in Western North Carolina

Fish Hendersonville North Carolina

Over the years, much has been written about the Western North Carolina trout waters of Brevard, Sylva and Cherokee. And for good reason – each of those areas possesses popular waters regularly stocked by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

One place that has traditionally flown under the radar is Hendersonville. If you’re looking for a new spot to fish in the NC mountains, or simply prefer fishing less-crowded waters, Hendersonville and Henderson County offer a nice supply of stocked and native streams that are not as well-known.

North Mills River is the prime trout fishing venue in Henderson County. The river has a four-mile section of delayed harvest waters that receives an annual infusion of 11,000 trout from NC Wildlife. May is a great time to fly fish the delayed harvest waters of North Mills River because no trout have been harvested since Sept. 30, and it’s designated only for artificial, single-hook lures at that time.

Beginning at noon the first Saturday in June and running through Sept. 30, the waters are open to all anglers with no bait restrictions, with a creel limit of seven trout per day.

Another nice thing about fishing North Mills River is its location. It is part of the North Mills River Recreation Area of the Pisgah National Forest, which offers camping and miles of wild trout waters, along with hiking trails, biking trails and picnic shelters.

North Mills River Campground is open year-round with 31 standard sites, plus one site with full hook-up. There are tent pads, fire pits and bathhouses with hot showers and flush toilets. The campground is adjacent to the delayed harvest section of North Mills River, and also a short drive from the more well-known Davidson River trout waters near Brevard.

Other well-kept secrets for fishing in Henderson County are three streams on the eastern side of the county, about 20 to 30 minutes from downtown Hendersonville. Rocky Broad River has a 1.2-mile stretch of hatchery support waters from Rocky River Lane to the Rutherford County line near Chimney Rock, while Cane Creek, near the Fletcher community, has 1.5-mile stretch of hatchery supported waters.

For those who really want an undiscovered gem, there’s an eight-mile stretch of hatchery supported waters of Clear Creek that flows through the hills and valleys of Henderson County’s apple orchards in the shadows of Bearwallow Mountain.

Of course, many anglers like to fish secluded areas, while sleeping in more comfortable quarters, and there is no shortage of lodging in Hendersonville. Everything from economy to deluxe hotels, from rental cabins to vacation rentals to bed-and-breakfast inns are available in Hendersonville.

And when the fishing is done, Hendersonville provides plenty of options for exploring the outdoors, listening to music, sipping craft beverages and enjoying great meals.

DuPont State Recreational Forest lies just southwest of Hendersonville. The forest includes more than 10,000 acres of woods and trails for hiking and biking. The most popular attractions within the forest are waterfalls. Triple Falls has a vertical drop of 120 feet with three distinct cascades. DuPont’s pristine falls and forests attracted film crews from “Last of the Mohicans” and “The Hunger Games.”

An awesome view of the Mills River Valley is available from Jump Off Rock, one of the more easily accessible grand views in the North Carolina mountains. Less than 15 minutes from Hendersonville’s Main Street, Jump Off Rock features a small park leading to a granite rock with spectacular panoramic views of the river valley framed by the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. On a clear day, four states — North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee — are visible from this spot.

Hendersonville’s music scene thrives with support from its summer concert series. Music on Main Street brings a live band downtown every Friday night from mid-June to mid-August. The concerts take place on the permanent stage in the Visitor Center parking lot. People kick back in lawn chairs as the sun sets. A classic car show is held each evening in conjunction with the concert.

Meanwhile, the Rhythm & Brews concert series combines the local beverage scene with live music once a month from May through September. The concerts take place on the third Thursday and include a variety of music, food, beer, wine and cider.

A stroll through the pedestrian-friendly downtown, with its wide, winding sidewalks, reveals bear statues painted by local artists. The Bearfootin’ Art Walk begins in May when 20 bears are placed downtown and concludes with a charity auction in October when the bears find their permanent homes.

The abundance of orchards makes Henderson County an ideal location for the emerging hard cider market. Three cideries now operate in the county: Flat Rock Ciderworks on Main Street, Bold Rock Hard Cider in Mills River and Appalachian Ridge Artisan Ciders in a 1940s-era barn-turned-cidery. The Cheers! Trail brings together cideries, wineries and breweries for a countywide tasting experience. Two vineyards produce high-quality wines from European varietals. Burntshirt Vineyards also makes an apple wine. Sierra Nevada’s new state-of-the-art brewery and taproom is a mecca for craft-beer aficionados.

Downtown Hendersonville boasts 25 independent restaurants, and several of them offer alfresco dining on the sidewalks. Never Blue, a tapas-style restaurant with worldly flavors, rolls up its garage-door front on pleasant evenings. Diners enjoy small plate delicacies, creative tacos and decadent desserts.

Postero, another Main Street standout, presents New American fare that is both familiar, yet innovative. The chicken and waffles dish is garnished with foie gras maple syrup, and kimchi rémoulade tops the lunchtime burger. The menu changes seasonally and showcases local ingredients. Another downtown hot spot is Mezzaluna, specializing in wood-fired pizzas and homemade pastas. Mezzaluna has a chef-drive menu with Italian influences complemented by a craft beer lineup that is heavy on local labels. Just up the street, Umi serves fresh sushi and sashimi, and several bento boxes for those who want to try a little of everything.

For Hendersonville information and lodging details, call 800-828-4244 or go to: www.VisitHendersonvilleNC.org

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