Ice Fishing EPIC FAIL in Korea: Gapyeong Trout Festival

It’s been a while since I last posted any travel videos but after more than two years being stuck in this pandemic, I think it’s about time to have a look back at some fun adventures and start planning new ones.

Let me take you back to a fun little trip I took to Korea over the winter. I arrived straight from China, and my friends and I hit the ground running. We decided to take a little trip to the area of Pyeongchang, which may be familiar to most people as the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

We went for some ice fishing at the Gapyeong Trout Festival, where we hoped to experience a fun way to catch our lunch. Coming from a tropical country which is also an archipelago (Philippines), the concept of fishing in itself is not entirely unfamiliar. However, none of us have ever tried fishing through tiny holes in the ice over a frozen lake.

Gapyeong Ice Fishing
Sitting around waiting for fish to bite

Because this is a festival, lots of mostly local tourists were at the venue. We got in a bus full of people and were among only a few other English-speaking tourists. Make sure to book tours that specifically say they have an English-speaking guide when coming to Korea, because that’s not always a given due to the volume of local tourism here.

We arrived at the lake and were each given a small fishing rod that resembles a fly swatter. It has a fishing line wound around it and an artificial bait at the end. No live worms were used, which was much to our relief.

Gapyeong Ice fishing
Sitting by my own ice fishing hole

Holes were already drilled into the ice, and while the surface was slippery, it seemed as though the ice was thick enough to hold hundreds of tourists. However, I am quite certain that having this many people is not the ideal scenario when trying to attract fish to bite.

Ice Fishing in Korea
Typical size of an ice fishing hole

We had to buy little stools to sit on while fishing, while local tourists seem to have brought their own. As it turns out, we really needed those stools because we spent nearly all our time just sitting, waiting and entertaining each other.

After about an hour, just as we were about to give up, someone else in the area caught a fish and everyone immediately came to see. It was an encouraging sign to see that someone had caught something. We took photos with the fish that was caught, and proceeded to try again.

Ice Fishing in Korea

Posing with a fish someone else caught.

It was a bit hard to move around because the ice was slippery, and even harder to stay quiet and patient while waiting for the fish to bite. In the end, our group just ended up taking photos and exploring the icy lake, which was a wonderful sight to behold away from the crowd.

Ice Fishing in Korea

Ice Fishing in Korea
Taking photos and enjoying the scenery

Needless to say, we did not catch any fish. However, they were smart enough to make sure that one could “buy” fish from aquariums on display in front of any of the restaurants surrounding the lake. The fresh fish is then grilled on the spot and served with a variety of other Korean dishes. It turned out to be a great meal and a fun experience even if we did not catch anything ourselves.
Ice Fishing in Korea
Enjoying a nice hot meal of fish we didn't catch

Ice Fishing in Korea
Seafood pajeon

Ice Fishing in Korea
Deep-fried battered sardines

Ice Fishing in Korea
Yummy grilled  fish

Watch the video below  to see how everything went down: