Ice Fishing: Pyeongchang Trout Festival

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Whenever I travel with family, we always try to find activities that everyone will enjoy, which can sometimes be a huge challenge when we have a group of 15 or more – yes, that’s how we roll. But somehow, it always works out. For our most recent winter holiday, we ventured out to South Korea, and among the many stops we made, we found ourselves approximately two-to-three hours away from Seoul at the Pyeongchang Trout Festival.

Each winter, the people of Jinbu celebrate the history of the small town with this festival. Winters in Gangwon province can be brutal with extremely heavy snowfall, and when the Odaecheon stream would freeze up from the cold, the town’s inhabitants would take large rocks to break a hole through the ice to allow them to continue to catch fish for food.

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My father is an enthusiastic fisherman, and although he openly admits to not enjoying the taste of fish, he has shared his hobby with the family throughout the years. As we arrived at the venue, we could see countless people walking away with successful hauls of fish at approximately 1-foot long each, proudly carried out in plastic bags. So, as you can imagine, we went in with high hopes.

Sitting on top of the frozen Odaecheon stream, staring at a six-inch hole cut through the ice with a flimsy plastic fishing rod hanging above and waiting for something to bite, it takes quite a bit of patience to sit still keep going. Watching nearby visitors pull fish out of the water while seeing the same fish glide past your bait without a second glance can be somewhat disheartening, and honestly, I decided to call it quits after an hour with no luck as the cold winds were beginning to get a little uncomfortable.

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Luckily, there are plenty of other winter activities on the grounds to keep you entertained: sledding, ice skating, mini bobsledding, ice bicycle, snow rafting, bumper cars… you can really spend the better part of a day at this festival. I enjoyed these activities so much that I forgot to take pictures. For those who are lucky enough to catch a fish, you can bring it to a nearby tent to have it cooked up.

All in all, I’d say that this is a pretty worthwhile experience if you’re looking to do something outdoors that doesn’t involve shopping, but I would probably spend more time playing the other activities rather than pretending attempting to fish.

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The 8th Pyeongchang Trout Festival
Date: December 20, 2014 to February 8, 2015
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Cost: KRW25,000 for an all-day pass, inclusive of (non-tent) fishing and winter activities
Venue: Odaecheon Stream, Jinbu, Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do
More: festival700.or.kr (Korean only)

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