South Korea's Ice Fishing Festival


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Every year, during the month of January, the normally quiet village of Hwacheon, South Korea suddenly becomes a hub of activity, as thousands of ice fishing enthusiasts descend to the region, to participate in what is probably the world's largest ice fishing festival

The 'fishermen' gather on the surface of a frozen river that resembles a soccer field and compete with each other, to see who can catch the most Sancheoneo or Cherry Salmon, a mountain trout fish, found primarily in North East Asia. Some peer down one of the 9,000 holes that have been cut across the 16-inch sheet of ice and try hook the fish with their rods, whilst others, simply grab the fish with their bare hands!

The more experienced fishermen move from hole to hole, trying to follow the fish that have a tendency to move around in groups. To ensure that the river does not run out of fish, the organizers replete the waters with over 3 tons of Sancheoneo, daily.

While some participants come to compete, others simply fish for fun and that includes kids who are often seen peering curiously down the holes. For those who simply cannot wait to taste their fresh catch, there are is even an area where the fish can be grilled to perfection and enjoyed instantly!

And, if fishing gets a little boring there is plenty of other fun stuff to do - like sledding, ice soccer, ice hockey and even a snowman-building contest.

The festival was started eight years ago by South Korea's Tourism Board to attract more people to this cold and arid part of the country, where the resident population is less than 30,000.

As is apparent from the pictures, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams - It is estimated that over one million people come to the region during the three-week festival season. In fact, it has become so busy that people who wish to fish are advised to reserve their fishing 'hole' in advance! To read more about the festival and see some fun pictures check out,,,

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  • south koreanWednesday, October 7, 2015 at 9:59 pm
    I am from South Korea! Awesome!!!!!!!
    • turtlenicole
      turtlenicoleSunday, August 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm
      • cbear5
        cbear5Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 8:44 am
        I was there when I lived in Korea. But then I live in US now. My family and I got zero! Can you believe it? Zero! But then a kind man gave us one fish. It was really cold!
        • hockeyk1d
          hockeyk1dMonday, December 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm
          was there lots of people
        • HaTuesday, May 13, 2014 at 8:57 am
          I icefish all the time you guys are so crazy like"I fish but not to touch them" you have to touch them to get it of the hook
          • headream100
            headream100Friday, October 18, 2013 at 3:34 am
            I went there! It was amazing!!!
            • sem16
              sem16Friday, May 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm
              I think its kind of interesting that they went ice fishing in the ice cold weather.
              • delila
                delilaFriday, April 12, 2013 at 10:37 am
                • graceFriday, January 11, 2013 at 8:04 am
                  I went there before
                  • minastarica
                    minastaricaTuesday, April 10, 2012 at 8:05 am
                    Oh, I been there in Korea!
                    • NikiTuesday, April 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm
                      so am i... i am korean too!!