Have you ever gone ice fishing in Pakistan? The chances are that this is the first time you are even hearing of it. Although it’s considered a popular activity in the Scandinavian countries and parts of North America, which have extremely cold winters, a large number of frozen lakes and lots of open spaces, it has never drawn much attention among those living in Pakistan – well, until now.
As it turns out, ice fishing has become one of the new tourist attractions in Pakistan, especially among international travellers who are enjoying the sub-zero temperatures in the northern areas by indulging in this winter-time sport.
What is Ice Fishing?
As the name suggests, ice fishing refers to the practice of catching fish by cutting a hole in the ice on a frozen lake. In the most basic setting, fishermen would carve a small opening in the ice above a frozen body of water, put some bait on a hook, set a line and then wait for the fish to bite.
It is important to mention that this activity is not always sustenance-driven and is mostly about the experience itself, though you can always eat what you catch!
Ice Fishing in Pakistan
Ice fishing in Pakistan is a relatively new phenomenon. Though people living in the upper reaches of Gilgit Baltistan and other northern parts of the country have been catching fish from frozen lakes as a means of sustenance for ages, there weren’t any renowned ice fishing places in Pakistan until recently.
As reported by a leading English daily, ice fishing has been introduced as a winter activity for the first time in Malam Jabba, which happens to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Pakistan. Located about 50 kilometer away from the picturesque city of Saidu Sharif in the stunning Swat Valley, Malam Jabba is considered one of the top winter tourist destinations in Pakistan. The breathtakingly beautiful hill station remains a popular spot among holidaymakers all throughout the year. It is also home to one of the most popular ski resorts in Pakistan.
Tourists, both local and foreign, have apparently seemed to show great interest in ice fishing. According to the reports, a large number of visitors have been fishing trout amidst snowfall and falling temperatures. Some also called it a unique experience – after all, when else would you get a chance to crack the ice on a frozen pond and catch fresh trout in such a scenic environment?
Moreover, after catching the fish, you can also grill it for lunch or dinner, which only adds to the appeal of ice fishing in Malam Jabba.
If this trend grows and spreads to other tourist destinations, it can soon become one of the top winter activities for foreigners in Pakistan.
Safety Tips for Ice Fishing
If you are planning to travel to Swat Valley or any other winter tourist destinations in Pakistan for ice fishing, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Watch out for thin ice, especially the layer that forms above moving water. Don’t stand on ice unless you are certain it’s about 5 inches thick.
- Not all parts of the lakes are equally frozen, so watch where you stand
- Ask the locals about safe ice fishing spots before setting down your gear anywhere
- Always bring along a trusted companion
- If you go ice fishing in a group, make sure to spread out instead of standing in the same area. The added weight may cause the ice to crack
- Bundle up to protect yourself from cold wind and any other natural elements
Winter Tourism in Pakistan
Owing to the ongoing cold wave that has gripped the entire country, the northern regions have experienced an even harsher winter than they usually do. For instance, the temperature in Skardu dropped to -21 degree centigrade, breaking a 25-year record for the coldest winter. The situation in other northern areas of Pakistan isn’t any better either. The meadows and plains are blanketed with a thick layer of snow, tall pine trees are completely hidden in a fluffy white glove of icy crystals and the lakes and other bodies of freshwater have frozen solid.
However, the drop in temperature hasn’t deterred tourists in Pakistan from visiting these magnificent valleys surrounded by mighty snow-capped mountain peaks and stunning landscape. In 2019, tourism in Pakistan saw significant growth, especially among foreign tourists who flocked in droves to experience the beauty and serenity of the northern areas. In fact, Pakistan was declared the best tourist destination of 2020 by Conde Nast Traveller, a U.S.-based luxury travel magazine.
Meanwhile, if ice fishing is not your cup of tea and you only want to enjoy the weather, here is a list of places to visit in Pakistan if you truly want to enjoy snowfall.
- Malam Jabba
- Kalash Valley
On the other hand, if you are interested in trying out ice fishing in Pakistan, feel free to send us your queries and suggestions by dropping an email on email@example.com. You can also check out our pick of the most beautiful frozen lakes in Pakistan that are popular among tourists.
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