|Icy Fun in Winter!Get close to nature at the Inje Smelt Festival|
The Inje Smelt Festival is held in the Soyangho Lake region of Inje, Gangwon-do from January 18 to 26, 2014. A major wintertime festival in Korea, the festival is held in full view of the snow-capped Naeseorak Mountain. The festival's main attraction is the bingeo, or smelt fish, that lives only in clear and clean waters. Smelt is found in cold waters (6 to 10 degrees Celsius) of Grade 2 or higher around Sinwol-ri, Sangsunae-ri, Gwandae-ri, Bupyeong-ri, and Namjeon-ri villages in the upper streams of Soyangho Lake. The smelt is a small silvery fish of the Osmeridae family. Because of its appearance, it is also referred to as the Fairy of the Lake. The fish can live in both seawater and freshwater. In the summer, smelts are often found deep in the water where it is cooler, but during winter they can be found in great quantities near the surface of the water, making it easy to catch them with the simplest of fishing gear.
♦♦ Festival Venue Map
Fishing on Soyangho Lake
With a surface area of 99,174 square meters, Soyangho Lake is one of Korea's largest artificial lakes. The lake is famous for being completely covered in winter by a thick slab of ice, allowing for all kinds of fun winter activities to take place on its surface. The lake is home to a wide variety of fish in the winter time, including trout, carp, and smelt. Surrounded by picturesque scenery, the lake is a major tourist spot throughout the year. Located near Soyangho Lake are Cheongpyeongsa Temple and the rock formations of Obongsan Mountain. In the summer, visitors come to enjoy water leisure activities; in the winter, the lake becomes the focal point of the entire region, and crowds gather on its shores to try their hand at ice fishing.
Smelt Fishing on Ice
Tips for Smelt Fishing!
Other Things to Enjoy
During the festival period, Soyangho Lake becomes completely covered by a slab of ice 30 to 50 centimeters thick due to the cold Northern winds from Naeseorak Mountain. Big crowds gather at the festival venue to enjoy the winter landscape created by a stunning natural environment and to take part in the thirty or so programs. The opening and closing ceremonies feature a concert and various special events on stage. Throughout the venue, you can shop for local specialties and crafts. The festival also has on display large-scale snow sculptures, ice tunnels, a flying smelt structure and ice forest park, and a smelt lantern using 6,000 or so lights. Come and enjoy fishing with local people at Soyangho Lake using a large net and take a bowl of fish porridge made with caught fish to pray for good fortune in the New Year.
The Inje Smelt Festival is held at the Soyangho Lake during the icy cold winter, so make sure to dress warmly and bring other winter essentials if you are want to enjoy the event longer. Large tents and convenience facilities are organized at the venue for a more pleasant environment.
You will, of course, be able to try a wide variety of local dishes to satisfy your appetite. But one of the dishes that people will recommend are the food specialties made of smelt, which is available only in winter time. Chief among these dishes is raw smelt, a simple dish consisting of a live smelt, dipped in red pepper paste and swallowed whole. While the smelt is generally not very big, some can still reach about 10cm, so this dish is not for the faint of heart. For those who prefer their meals cooked, another popular dish is battered and fried smelt. Also among the wide variety of dishes are smelt casserole, grilled smelt, smelt porridge, seasoned smelt, etc. Conveniently, there are a good number of restaurants all along the lakeshore to satisfy your cravings. Other delicacies of the region include the trout sashimi and dongdongju, a traditional Korean alcohol made from the fresh waters of Seorak Mountain.
Last updated on January 7, 2014