My family and I recently spent a magical weekend at Turon Gates. Despite not being considered a top trout water, the Turon River is apparently stocked with around 7000 brown trout fry per year (according to unreliable sources). The river is better known for it’s carp population, and also holds the odd bass.
In preparation for the trip, and at the advice of local fishermen, I invested in a pair gaiters to protect me from the various venomous creatures Australia has on offer, and bought a fresh supply of dries, nymphs, and other trout flies. A new trout net sadly eluded me.
We arrived at Turon Gates at 10pm on Friday evening, and I got my first glimpse of the river as we crossed the rickety wooden in the dark. The river appeared thin, which was to be expected considering the ongoing drought. Admittedly I had never seen the river, and could only see a few meters in each direction, but the river bank told a dire story. That said, the water was at least flowing which gave me a glimmer of hope.
I opted not to fish the next morning, and to rather spend some time with the family. So by 4pm, just as the heat of the day was dissipating, I was itching to go. I pulled on my gaiters, packed the snakebite kit, and headed out with my 20 brand new flies.
Having driven a stretch of the river earlier in the day, as well as having gone for a swim in one of the more popular holes, I planned to head upstream to a deeper pool. Sadly this plan was quickly ruined by swimmers and their dogs. As such I turned around and headed for a long, deep stretch of water downstream of our cabin. My only concern with this area was the thick bush on the banks, which was going to make accessing the water difficult.
I was lucky to discover a wide track, which appeared to be used for horse rides, running along the far bank, making my walk downstream and through the forest far easier.
Eventually I found a beach near some deeper water, and finally got a fly into the water. I was immediately put to shame as a group of 3 gents wandered past me, wading through the thick ground cover in nothing but thongs and shorts, leaving me hiding my gaiters in shame. So much for being a tough African?! I had a quick chat with them about their morning session, which was unfortunately unsuccessful.
I fished the slow run for a while without so much as a bump. I also saw no rises, nor any other signs of fish. Eventually I pushed on downstream in search of deeper water (and fish). In truth the water felt far too warm to me for the trout to have survived the low levels caused by the drought. I was already starting to look for cruising carp or bass from higher ground.
I spent short periods of time roll casting from between trees, when I could access the bank, without any luck. Eventually, frustrated with the tough conditions, I decided to head back to the deeper pool I’d originally planned to fish, in the hope of finding it deserted.
On route I passed our cabin, and was spotted by my 2 eagle-eyed daughters. They came running down to me, and we spent the next few hours swimming in the river. I may have caught no fish, but I’d loved every minute of my afternoon.
The next morning I took my eldest daughter down to the river with her spinning rod – she was beaming from ear to ear. I snuck a quick few casts into the deep pool I’d planned to fish the day before, sadly with no luck. We then switched to her rod, and I spent the next hour teaching her how to cast. We caught nothing, but it was a magical moment.
I can’t recommend Turon Gates as a fly fishing venue. I can however recommend it as a magical venue for a weekend’s getaway. I’ll definitely head back, potentially with the tent next time. And who knows, maybe once the drought has subsided the trout will return. Oh, and I have heard stories of brown trout coming out…so there’s always a chance. You can’t catch a fish without a line in the water.