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Centuries-old ice fishing tradition continues in northeast China by Sun Tianyuan and Liu Youzhi December 29,2020   |  Source: CGTN

Ice fishing, a tradition at Chagan Lake in northeastern China's Songyuan City, dates back to China's Liao and the Jin dynasties around 1,000 years ago. Fishermen there have passed the tradition down through the generations.

Fifty-eight-year-old Zhang Wen has been a fishing crew leader, known in Chinese as "yubatou," for more than 20 years.

"For generations, our ancestors lived by Chagan Lake to make a living from fishing with great passion. It's not a family business but a culture for all to pass on," said Zhang.

Following in their predecessors' footprints, the fishermen aim to live in harmony with nature by harnessing their skill to find fish under the thick layer of ice without modern technology.

"We use the most primitive way to fish with chisels and a horse-powered capstan instead of machines to protect Chagan Lake's ecosystem," Zhang told CGTN. "We observe and learn the movement patterns of fish when the lake starts to freeze. That's the experience we gain over the years."

Winter fishing is hard work, especially when it's this cold. The fishing master may still be fit and strong, but eventually, he'll have to pass the net to a younger leader. Zhang's apprentice Bing Hailong, who is now his deputy, started fishing after high school.

"At first, I

 

© 2020 CGTN

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