I have posted three pages of photos. You can access them here:
Songyuan is a small city by China's standards, but still it has a population of about 3 million and covers 22,000 square kms. It's at the intersection of the Province of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia.
Near the city is Chagan Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China, with a famous fishing industry and beautiful wetlands that are home to a wide variety of fish, birds and wildlife.
Each year, the city and area conduct a now-famous Winter Ice-Fishing Festival, and I have here a photo record.
The photos begin with a large dinner and stage show, organised by the local tourist bureau, and performed by the SongYuan local ethnic groups.
The fishing expedition began with an outdoors celebration, again by the local ethnic groups, to pray for a good fishing season. They drilled a hole in the ice near the shore, and used a long-handled dip net to catch the season's first fish. It was astonishing to watch, because they simply dipped the net into the water, and brought up yet another large fish. The first dozen or so of these fish were auctioned off to the audience and were purchased as good luck items for the year. The very first fish sold for 10,000 RMB - about $1,500.
We then drove out 20 miles or more onto the lake ice - it's one of the largest freshwater lakes in China, and the ice was very thick at this time of the winter. We had many thousands of people, and probably thousands of cars as well, joining to watch the ice-fishing.
The fishermen drill a hole into the ice and push a long string far under the ice. They then drill another hole to find the string, and push it farther again. A large fishing net about 2 Kms. long and 10 meters high, is pulled along by the string, and each time a new hole is drilled into the ice, the fishing net is pulled along further under the ice. This continues until a large circle is made under the ice, 2 Kms. in circumference. Both ends of the fishing net eventually emerge from the original hole in the ice. Then, the ends of the net are tied to a large capstan, and 6 horses begin the work of reeling in the net..
You will see the result for yourself, from the photos. It would seem that the lake at SongYuan has more fish than water in it.