Lake Norman & Mooresville

Fishing with Gus: Georgia trip brings new scenery, great trout fishing

Gus Gustafson holds a trophy rainbow trout.
Gus Gustafson holds a trophy rainbow trout.

Every now and then, it’s nice to fish different places. When my brother, Ken Gustafson of Charleston suggested a fly-fishing trip for trophy rainbow trout, I jumped at the opportunity.

Ken had developed a friendship with fishing and hunting guide Marc Thompson (, who has access to more than 4,000 acres of private hunting and fishing grounds. We fished a stream full of rainbow trout, some longer than 30 inches, on the Chestatee River near Dahlonega, Ga. The land and area surrounding section of the river is known as Frog Hollow.

Our fishing expedition began with a 20-inch rainbow on the first cast. As a rule, to catch a fish on the first cast is a bad omen, but not on this day. Ken landed three fish from a pool beside a set of beautiful rapids before I had my first strike.

All the while, the three of us marveled at the beauty of the North Georgia foothills and the Chestatee River Valley’s fabulous fishing.

Like any fishing trip, catching them is only a small part of the total experience. We stayed in a 100-year-old log cabin nestled on the side of a mountain. Two hundred feet below was a fast-moving stream. This sparsely populated area had an abundance of wildlife. We saw numerous deer during our stay.

But the most exciting moment came when Marc was grilling on the deck and two bears came to eat the seeds from the bird feeder.

The second morning started much like the first, with Ken catching the first two and me taking pictures of his success. The final rainbow was hooked10:30 a.m. and we bid farewell to each other and to Frog Hollow.

Stocking stuffers

▪ Filet knife with sheath: $9.99 and up

▪ Fishing cap: $7.99 and up

▪ Fishing pliers: $7.99 and up

▪ Plastic fishing tackle storage boxes: $3.99 and up

▪ Sabiki flies: $1.99 per package and up

▪ The Angler Magazine: Free. Available at tackle shops and sporting goods stores

Tips from Capt. Gus

To see fish and objects under water, wear a good pair of polarized sunglasses.

Hot spots of the week

Spotted bass and hybrids are feeding on the surface early and late. Others are suspended in water to 60 feet wherever they find bait fish during the day. When fishing deep, baits of choice are drop-shot rigs, jigging spoons, bucktails and Alabama rigs.

Anglers with live baits are catching their share on shad, herring and shiners (bass minnows). White perch are hitting small minnows and Sabiki rigs, as usual, in the same areas where spotted bass and hybrids are feeding.

Good starting spots are in the old river channel between markers 18 to 24, or Hicks and Stumpy Creeks above the N.C. 150 bridge. Farther south are concentrations of fish in Mountain, Little, Reed and Davidson Creeks. That’s a lot of water to cover, so to save time, watch for diving sea birds and clusters of boats fishing in deep water.

Lake conditions

Lake Norman is about 2.5 feet below full pond and 1.8 feet below at Mountain Island Lake. The water surface temperature is in the high 50s and low 60s.

Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and a professional fishing guide: