We went on a one-day expedition to our neighbours in Austria on the famous section of the Traun River.
The trout season in the Czech Republic is slowly but surely coming to an end, but fly fishermen can nowadays extend their season in several ways. Whether it is fishing on off-trout grounds (if the weather and water conditions allow it), commercial trout ponds or going fly fishing abroad in places where the end of the fishing season is not limited to the last day of November.
Rivers that are open until the end of the year are often designated grayling grounds, as historically grayling fishing has been concentrated in the second half of the year and in England, for example, grayling fishing is often associated with winter fishing.
One of the possible destinations where you can go for a one-day fishing trip from our homeland during the winter is Austria, especially the easily accessible Salzkammergut region, whose imaginary axis is the famous Traun river.
The Traun offers three main sections for fly fishing (Goiserer Traun, Ischler Traun and Gmundner Traun), of which the first two sections are the most suitable for fishing at the very end of the season, especially because of the still solid grayling population.
My friend Michal and I chose a one-day November fishing on the Goiserer Traun and you can find some experiences in the following lines.
Clothes - clothes are essential for winter fly fishing, especially on a bigger river, where from our (Czech) point of view the Goiserer Traun can be classified. Those who don't want to take risks should choose neoprene waders, those who want to take risks can fish in goretex waders, but then I recommend two good quality thermal layers for the legs. And of course the essential little thing for winter fishing - fishing gloves.
Methods of fishing - for winter grayling fishing definitely nymphs and on the Goiserer Traun it is ideal to fish with a euro nymphing style or a long nymph (if you prefer fishing with a classic fly line). Short nymphing (Czech Nymphing) is considerably less effective in my opinion, the clear water makes the angler much more noticeable and short nymphing is not the best.
Equipment - a longer nymphing rod (ideally 10 feet or more). An AFMA easily a class or two higher than on our waters (AFTMA 4-5), as you can catch grayling up to 50 cm on the Goiserer Traun, as well as fighting rainbows.
Flies - tungsten nymphs again a bit heavier than used on most of our waters. For the end of the season be sure to have nymphs with a distinctive pink head, which both grayling and rainbows respond well to.
Patience - winter fly fishing is not often about large numbers of fish. The best fishing is often during a relatively short period of time (between 10am and 2pm) and if you don't know the area, it takes a while to figure out where the fish are and what method is the most effective. In our case, we were completely burnt out on the local winter grayling habitats (deep pools) and only found the fish in the more current shallower water.
Permits and guides - permits for the Goiserer Traun are easily purchased online in advance (https://www.hurch.eu/Tageskarte-Goiserer-Traun) and if you are not confident about the river, it is possible to arrange a guide, ideally a local one (https://www.facebook.com/jan.kubala.92)
So how did Michal and I do in November? Lousy weather (rain all day), few fish - more rainbows than medium-sized grayling and water in my right leg since lunch. Well, a great day by the water, topped off with a deer schnitzel and a first class Apfelstrudel on the way back home. We simply must go to Austria more often!
Equipment and flies for Goiserer Traun:
Rod: Guideline LPX Nymph 10.8ft AFTMA 3
Top Fly: Roza's Pink Hare's Ear Jig