Barehanded fishing in frigid waters, wacky sled race competition, and some good ol’ fashion ice fishing. What an awesome way to spend a weekend in South Korea as I miss my Canadian winters.
This weekend I decided to go on a group trip to see the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival. It started off early with waking up at 6am on Saturday in order to get to Hongdae University to catch the bus. There were about 25 people in the group, but it was a quiet 2.5 hour ride to get to Hwacheon. It was a great windless winter day with perfectly blue skies. The first activity on the agenda was ice fishing. They stock the river with thousands of Sancheoneo (River Trout) that they truck in, so it’s not uncommon to see people with 2-4 fish each. Before you are ushered onto the foreigner only area (VIP treatment or segregation?) they hand you a little plastic “fishing rod” with a basic lure attached. Then you claim your hole out of the hundreds drilled in the ice, and will get some pointers from volunteers on the proper technique for catching the fish. They are really helpful, but also really critical of your form, so make sure you listen carefully! Unfortunately for us, we didn’t catch any fish, but I joked to my girlfriend, Jen, that I was just saving my luck for the other events we had lined up for the day.