Fishermen in NE China inherit ancient methods of fishing
By CGTN's Yu Li

Chagan Lake fishermen in northeast China's Jilin Province continue to cherish ancient traditions and methods. 

The lake has long been regarded as a premier destination for ice fishing in northeastern China, where they still use a fishing method handed down over centuries. CGTN's Yu Li spent time with local fishermen and found that even in freezing weather, Chagan Lake is thriving. 

These fishermen catch hundreds of tons of fish with the help of time-honored techniques that cultural and folklore expert Cao Baoming says require special tools. 

The first tool for winter fishing is an ice chisel handmade locally by blacksmiths and carpenters. After using the chisel to break up the ice surface to create a hole, use the ice bow to remove ice fragments. When the hole is ready, deploy the net. 

A winter fishing net actually consists of 96 individual nets, nearly 2,000 meters long and 10 meters high. Residents call it the "net wing." The large net slowly spreads underwater to form a pair of giant wings and move forward drawn by the net pole. 

The "twisting spear" and "walking hook" are two tools to generate thrust to the net pole. This technique relies entirely on skill. 

Fish are collected along the way as the net moves to the extraction hole, about a kilometer away. 

A "solid" net full of fish cannot be pulled to the surface by human strength alone. This is when animals come in. The horse winch provides all the power for hauling the fishing nets. Then comes the joyful harvest. 

Winter fishing in Chagan Lake runs from December to February. With wit inherited from their ancestors and a reverence for nature, residents find resourceful ways to cherish life in a harsh environment. Cao calls it the living heritage of northern culture. 

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