Winter Festivals in Gyeonggi-do: Catch and Cook Your Own Fish
If you are not an avid fan of winter sports, ice fishing can be a great way of entertaining yourself in the winter. Many people like fishing for the thrill they get when a fish takes the bait and pulls the fishing rod after a long, patient wait. Be sure to bring your fishing gear when participating in winter festivals in Korea because many of them feature ice fishing. You need different types of fishing gear, depending on the nature of the festival and the species of fish you want to catch. Basic items needed for fishing include a fishing or stream rod, fishing line, and proper items for different species of fish such as ice fish, minnows, trout, and sancheoneo (mountain trout, a species indigenous to Korea). You can purchase all of the fishing gear at a festival or you can do your own research on specific items and prepare them in advance.
You can use the same fishing gear for both trout and sancheoneo, but a different set of fishing gear is needed for ice fish. You can lure trout or sancheoneo, both of which are aggressive, by having your artificial bait imitate movements. You’ll have a better chance at catching ice fish that are much smaller in size if you regularly replace the bait.
Different cooking methods should be used in order to bring out the best flavor of these fish. Trout, a member of the salmon family, taste best when eaten raw. However, if you do not eat raw fish, you can easily find a facility where you can roast your trout over wood fire. Marinate your fish, cover it in foil, and cook it directly over the fire. You can butter, marinate, or simply sprinkle some salt on the fish.
Ice fish are in their optimal condition in the winter, so it can be eaten raw mixed in vinegar and red pepper paste sauce. If you do not eat raw fish, dip the fish in batter and deep-fry them. Children also enjoy fried ice fish. You can have more fun fishing and cooking at the same time at the festival.
Keeping yourself warm is important in order to best enjoy a festival on ice. Since you will be exposed to winter cold for hours, be sure to bundle up in warm underwear, mittens, boots, and a hat. Don’t forget to bring a chair and a portable heater or a hot pack. If children get bored of fishing, take them to other events at the festival, such as sledding, ice skating, ATV ride, catching fish with bare hands, and ice hockey, among others.
Participate in the winter festivals in Gyeonggi-do and enjoy the fun of “catching, eating, and experiencing”. Avoid succumbing to the winter cold and staying indoors. Winter has its own fun to offer. A winter festival in Gyeonggi-do is a one-stop place where you can enjoy a variety of fun activities that are available only in the winter.
♣ Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival [Gapyeong]
Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival takes place in Gapyeong, which is known for high mountains, clear waters and a clean natural environment. The festival is a package of winter fun that includes ice trout fishing, sledding, slide bowling, mini golf on ice, and a mini jazz festival.
The festival’s venue can accommodate over 50,000 people and is divided into two sections: the winter play park where you can enjoy trout fishing, sledding, and traditional Korean sled. The winter leports plaza lets visitors try sliding bowling, ice hockey, and other winter sports. Around 50 tons or 71,400 trout that weigh 700 grams on average are released each year into the ice fishing pond, making half of it filled with trout. Next to the ice fishing pond, you can enjoy sledding, traditional Korean sledding, vinyl sack bobsleigh, ice banana, and other winter sports and activities. You can reach Jaraseom Island by subway from Seoul, and it takes about 50 minutes without making a transfer. If you take ITX-Cheongchun Train at Yongsan or Cheongnyangri, it takes an estimated 40 minutes to reach the island.
Address: 60, Jaraseom-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
♣ Cheongpyeong Sledding and Icefish Festival [Gapyeong]
Cheongpyeong Sledding and Icefish Festival, which is held in Cheongpyeong-myeon, has a humble origin as an affordable festival so as to encourage tourists to visit and enjoy the festival. The venue covers part of the clean area located along the Bukhangang River, where the environment is strictly preserved. If you take the Seoul-Chuncheon train or highway, it takes an estimated 30 minutes to reach the area. It is one of the festival’s most easily accessible venues, if traveling from Seoul. Come and make warm memories this winter at Cheongpyeong where the Bukhangang River runs through and the mountains and lakes are stunningly beautiful.
The festival is comprised of a variety of activities including trout fishing, ice fish fishing, scooping fish with a net (for children only), trout scooping, sledding, traditional Korean sledding, motor bike riding, classic car riding, four-wheel motor bike riding, aero bumper car riding, and others.
Trout fishing costs 12,000 won per adult, and 10,000 per child. Ice fish catching is 10,000 won per adult and 6,000 won per child. It is free of charge for children ages 7 or under. You can buy fishing gear at reasonable prices at the shop located within the festival venue and receive useful tips.
Address: 119-1, Gangbyeon-ro, Cheongpyeong-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
♣ Yangpyeong Icefish Festival [Yangpyeong]
Baekdong Reservoir, located deep in the forest in Yangpyeong known for clean waters, is a typical water reservoir in the valley, of which the water surface spans over 42,975 m2. The depth of the water can be up to 22 meters and the upper part of the reservoir remains free of pollution, making it an ideal habitat for ice fish. Considering its natural environment, the local government has been harvesting ice fish since 1989, and ice fish catching began in 1992. Today, the reservoir has become one of the most famous areas for ice fish catching in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do. Yangpyeong is also a popular tourist destination for its breathtaking nature. In 2011, the Yangpyeong Icefish Festival was launched as a result of joint efforts by Sumi Village, which runs successful experiential programs, and Baekdong Reservoir Authority. Sumi Village’s knowhow on operating experiential programs and the reservoir’s expertise on ice fish were combined to create Yangpyeong Icefish Festival, offering a variety of differentiated programs. In addition to catching ice fish, children and adults can also enjoy ice sliding, photo zones, ice bike riding, ATV for kids, ice bumper car riding, and other fun winter activities.
The festival also offers opportunities for visitors to try and play traditional Korean games such as kite flying, traditional Korean top spinning, and sledding, as well as making Sumi steamed buns and dalgona, a type of taffy made of melted sugar and baking soda. The locals of Sumi Village serve tteokguk, or Korean sliced rice cake soup, fried ice fish, and hoe muchim, or spicy sliced raw fish for lunch. If you are interested in participating in one or more of these activities, please visit the website and make a reservation.
Location: Dotorigol Reservoir in Sumi Village, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
Baekdong Fishing Site in Deoksu-ri, Danwol-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
♣ Paju Trout Festival [Paju]
The Paju Trout Festival, which promotes the theme of “love for family and couples”, is a winter festival that is also the closest to Seoul. You can fish for trout on ice, ride sleds and experience traditional Korean ice sledding, catch trout with your hands, and play Korean traditional games. In addition, a music concert called “7080 Concert” is held for all to enjoy music from the 1970s and 1980s. The festival offers something for everyone of all ages.
The festival’s main activities include ice trout fishing, snow sledding, and tasting a variety of trout dishes such as roasted and sliced raw trout.
Period: Jan. 1. – Feb. 10. 2016
Address: 95, Bangchuk-ri, Gwangtan-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do