LOCATION AND SURROUNDINGS
The River Traun is a typical prealpine Austrian river, originating in the Styrian Salzkammergut region and joining the River Danube after a flow of 95 miles (153 km) through the foothills of the Alps and the Upper Austrian plain. Three main tributaries, Grundlseer Traun, Altausseer Traun and Kainisch Traun, unite at the village of Bad Aussee, forming the so called Koppentraun. A few miles downstream the river forces its way through the wildly romantic Koppen Gorge into the fjordlike Lake Hallstaettersee. After leaving the lake at Steeg, the River Traun turns to the north, on its course passing the towns Bad Goisern, Lauffen and Bad Ischl, before it finally reaches Lake Traunsee. Exquisitely set in beautiful alpine scenery and bordered in the east by the towering rock face and craggy limestone cliffs of Mount Traunstein, the clear and deep blue lake stretches almost eight miles to the north, where the charming rural city of Gmunden is situated and where the River Traun finally leaves the foothills of the Alps.
THE GMUNDNER TRAUN
The most famous stretch of the river, the beat named “Gmundner Traun”, begins below Theresienthal power station, about a mile downstream of Gmunden. The fishery management for this beat has been taken over by the “Friends of the Gmundner Traun” in January, 2006. The fishing includes about nine miles (more than 14 km) of highly diverse and well-structured river, home to trout and grayling, with huge pike lurking under the banks in smooth and glassy glides. The lower section is marked by a wild and beautiful waterfall, the Traunfall near the small village Viecht. Formerly a daunting obstacle to all boats occupied in the salt trade, this section represents nowadays a challenging feature characterized by strong currents, bottomless pools and bizarre conglomerate boulders, that allow for stalking big fish and experience “pocket fishing” of the best.
Particularly attractive and challenging, aside from the mere width of the mighty river, is the fascinating and rapidly changing structure of the riverbed, creating long, deep pools and flows, fast ripple sections and shingle banks alternating with wooded or rocky shores. Impounded areas upstream of several weirs form excellent habitat for trophy fish. The steep wooded sides of the river valley provide shade and sufficient shelter by overhanging trees and form excellent lies for big fish, that are gorging themselves on mayflies and dropping terrestrials. Most parts of the Gmundner Traun can be waded with breast waders, the size of the river, however, calls for some precaution (and a wading staff). Especially in the case of high water level during the snowmelt or periods of heavy rainfall wearing of an inflatable lifejacket is recommended for those not intimately acquainted with alpine rivers.
Gin clear water is almost guaranteed: The lakes upstream the river function as a perfect filter, which means that the Gmundner Traun – even after sustained rainfall – is rarely coloured. The more experienced fly fisherman will find that an appropriate choice of position at high water level will result in fantastic fishing opportunities on this huge river.
The area surrounding the ancient city of Gmunden has much to offer for the nonfishing accompanying guest. Enjoy a stroll through the picturesque town (around 15,000 inhabitants), a walk to Lake Castle Orth (location of the television series “Castle Hotel Orth”) or around the beautiful Tuscany Park, where art and nature merge into a vivid impression of Salzkammergut cultural inheritance and scenery. A trip on the historical paddle steamer Gisela may be just as interesting as a visit to the famous traditional Gmundner Ceramics Factory. Once a year, there is an international fair, and monthly antiques sales and a rarities market offer interesting opportunities for shopping and entertainment. The towering rock face of majestic Mount Traunstein (5,564 ft / 1,696 m a.s.l.) provides a sensational tour for expert mountaineers, while the wooded Gruenberg (Green Mountain) is accessible by cable car. From the top station it is just a short hike to Laudachsee, an idyllically situated mountain lake surrounded by romantic forest.
The nearby villages of Altmuenster and Traunkirchen are equally enchanting. The imperial city of Bad Ischl can be reached within about half an hour by car or train, and half an hour more brings you to Salzburg, the home of Mozart and the Muses north of the Alps. Fishing or no fishing – there’s not even the slightest chance for feeling bored!