Catch your own trout at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice FestivalGangwon-do Province, South Korea
To celebrate the beauty of winter and Gangwon-do Province’s abundance of mountain trout, tonnes of the plump silver swimmers are released into the river during January to be captured and cooked at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival. Dubbed one of the “seven wonders of winter” by Lonely Planet, this South Korean festival lures hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with sledding, snow slides, ice hockey and fish, glorious fish.
If wielding a rod isn’t thrilling enough, wade into a frigid pond wearing a T-shirt and shorts and test your skills on a barehanded hunt. Once you’ve snagged the Queen of the Valley, swap your catch with a vendor serving sashimi or trout that’s been cleaned and cooked. Devour with plenty of warming soju (rice liquor).
- Fishing with a rod is one thing, but nothing beats catching a trout by hand
- Defrosting with a warm foot bath after you’ve had your three-minute splash in the hand-fishing pool
- Trying all the different activities like ice soccer, zip-lining and curling
- The ‘exclusive’ fishing site for foreigners – it’s far more fun to mingle with the locals
- Nabbing one of those suckers for lunch isn’t quite as easy as it sounds
The bus ride costs US$12 and takes two hours and forty minutes from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Hwacheon Bus Terminal.
Admission to the fishing zone costs about US$10 and includes about US$5 worth of coupons that you can spend on having your fish prepared. If you catch lots of fish it costs less than US$2 to have each one sliced to eat raw or grilled.
You can bring your own fishing equipment, or you can buy some at the festival if you haven’t lugged it overseas with you.