|Unique Winter Festival, Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Festival|
Photo credit: Nara Organizing Committee
When Hwacheoncheon Stream freezes in winter, locals and tourists alike flock to the stream, carve out a hole in the ice, and begin ice fishing for sancheoneo (mountain trout). The trout are known to live in the cold, fresh waters of the stream, located in Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do. Visitors fishing in the stream can be seen patiently waiting, and then jumping with excitement as they pull their catches from the water. Some even choose to jump into the icy waters of the pool built beside the stream for hand-fishing. The festival was recently selected as one of the Seven Wonders of Winter by travel site CNNGo (operated by U.S. news site CNN International). The festival’s theme is “Unfrozen Hearts, Unforgettable Memories.” In addition to ice fishing, the festival offers a plethora of fun activities on the frozen Hwacheoncheon Stream including ice skating, ice/snow sledding, snowmobile riding, and much more. The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival is the ultimate winter activity for the whole family.
Sancheoneo fishing is the central activity at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival. There are three ways for visitors to fish at the festival: ice fishing on the frozen stream, lure fishing in the flowing waters, and hand-fishing in a pool wearing only a t-shirt and shorts.
◆ Sancheoneo Ice Fishing
Ice fishing is the most popular fishing method at the festival. Upon purchasing an admission ticket, visitors will also receive a fishing zone pass, a plastic bag, and a 5,000-won Agricultural Specialties coupon for shopping on-site. Visitors can begin to enjoy ice fishing from the time they enter the fishing areas.
* A How-To for Ice Fishing
1. Cut a hole in the ice using a drill or a metal bar, or simply find an open hole.
2. Drop the bait down into the hole, and adjust the fishing line so that the bait is submerged approximately 30-40cm.
3. With the line attached to the fishing reel, move the reel up and down to lure the fish.
4. When you feel a tug, gently pull the fishing line up.
5. Unhook the fish, and place it in the plastic bag. You have your first catch! Once you have finished fishing, you may take your catch to a nearby restaurant to have it served raw or grilled over a wood fire.
☞ Admission: 12,000 won (Fishing zone pass, plastic bag, and 5,000-won coupon included)
* Children & Seniors: 8,000 won
☞ Operating period & hours: January 10-February 1, 2015 / 08:30-18:00
※ On-site tickets are available during the festival. On weekends, tickets often sell out early in the morning.
☞ What to bring: Fishing pole/reel, bait, small chair, blanket, etc. (Also available for purchase on-site.)
☞ Cooking fees for sliced raw sancheoneo: 2,000 won per fish
☞ Cooking fees for grilled sancheoneo: 2,000 won per fish
☞ An exclusive fishing site for foreigners is operated upstream from the ice sledding ticket booth. It is planned to accommodate up to 6,000 visitors per day.
Ice fishing tips!
1. Come early to get good seats, a great view, and better chances of catching sancheoneo!
2. Stay closer to the edges of the stream, as the sancheoneo tend to like those places.
3. Make a large hole in the ice in order to get a wider view of the sancheoneo in the water.
4. If you aren’t catching any fish, try moving to another hole.
◆ Sancheoneo Hand Fishing
Hand fishing takes place at the festival’s round fishing pool. Participants change into special outfits (festival t-shirt and shorts), and perform a simple warm up exercise. Following the “go” signal, they jump into the pool, and try to catch sancheoneo using their bare hands within three minutes. Each participant is allowed to catch up to three sancheoneo. When the time is up, they walk out of the pool, and warm themselves up with a warm foot bath.
☞ Admission: 12,000 won for adults (5,000-won coupon included)
☞ Operating period: January 10-February 1, 2015
☞ Operating time: Weekdays (three times a day) 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 / Weekends (four times a day) 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00
☞ Location: Under the Baemeorigyo Bridge
☞ Convenience facilities: Changing room, lockers, foot-bathing facility, etc.
☞ On-site fishing ticket is available one hour before each fishing time (first-come, first-served)
* The number of operations may differ based on outside conditions.
Snow & Ice Rides
Snow and ice activities are other popular attractions at Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival. The Ride Fun Park’s Ice Sled Square has a large ice rink for sled rides which features Korean traditional sleds, divided into two types; standard sleds and family sleds. Ice sleds descending from a 40m-height thrill visitors, and ice bikes on the ice field, bobsleighs with a special tube, and ice soccer are also available for visitors to enjoy varied winter leisure sports.
◆ Other Attractions
The excitement of Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival can also be felt throughout the town of Hwacheon. The Ice Illumination Park behind the Hope Lights Plaza is divided into several sections including Korea, World, and China sections, with each showcasing large-scale ice sculptures in various colors. Other festivities to enjoy include Korean traditional folk games and mountain trout lantern-making, sancheoneo wooden goods, etc.
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival provides a unique opportunity to taste and purchase Hwacheon’s local specialties. In addition to the fish restaurants that serve sancheoneo, food stands along the Hwacheoncheon Stream also sell tteokbokki, fish cakes, dumplings, and sweet and savory fritters. Moreover, most packaged foods can be purchased with the Agricultural Specialties coupon that you receive upon the purchase of admission tickets at the venue.
2015 Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Ice Festival
☞ Period: January 10 – February 1, 2015
☞ Location: Hwacheoncheon Stream area, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal⇒Hwacheon Bus Terminal
• Schedule: 07:05-19:35 / 24 buses a day
• Travel time: About 2hr 40min
• Fare: Adults 13,900 won
• Hwacheoncheon Stream is located within a 15-min walking distance of Hwacheon Bus Terminal.
☞ Festival homepage: www.narafestival.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Hwacheon Tourism Homepage: http://tour.ihc.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Inquiries: +82-1688-3005 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
※ Operated during the festival period
Last updated: December 22, 2014