Size: 1 large and 4 smaller ponds totaling about 5 rai (0.8 hectares)
Species: Giant Mekong, Striped Catfish (Sawai), Tilapia, Pacu, Hampala (Jungle Perch); others?
Opening Hours: 9am to 9pm Mon, Tue, Thur, Sat, Sun; 9am to midnight Wed, Fri
Cost: 50 Baht rod/morning (9am to 2pm); 30 rod/afternoon (from 2pm); option of 1,000 Baht/year one time payment
Google Maps link: here
This is a great little lake to go to with friends and enjoy a good day’s catfish fishing. It is very cheap to fish and is full of fish. It only opened in 2011, but there are now lots of fish in the 2 to 3 Kg category, and also quite a few around 7 or 8 Kg. The biggest I have seen pulled out was a handsome 13Kg – a good fish by any standards.
There is a shop on site selling tackle and bait, but you are also welcome to bring your own bait. the shop also has a good selection of snacks and iced drinks (including beer).
The lake is easily accessible from central Chiang Mai. Cross to the east of the river and head south on the Old Lamphun Road (the 106), go straight on through the traffic lights at the intersection with the 1141 at Nong Hoi, then keep going until you cross over the top of the ring road (Somphot 700 Pi on Google Map). You are then looking for a turn after about 200m immediately before a row of large shop houses with some odd looking Grecian style columns on the front.
I have visited many times with groups of children – most of whom haven’t done much, if any, fshing before. This sounds like a potential recipe for disaster, but has worked out very well. Wherever you fish you are not far from the shop and ice-cold refreshments. This makes keeping the kids happy somewhat easier than it might be in some remote location, and the lack of overhanging trees kept me happy, as it avoided a lot of potential messy kid tangles!
Whenever we visit most people end up catching a few fish. The larger ones are, however, something of a struggle for younger children. They frequently spend 20 minutes or more trying to land them, and have to take turns swapping the rod with friends to give their arms a rest.
Fishing Methods: Fishing for these catfish pretty much follows the standard Thai method. A ball of dampened chopped up bread and bread flake (with additives of your choice, such as coconut) compacted around a wire “cage” feeder provides casting weight and groundbaiting. This is left free to slide up the line. Below it is a bead, then a swivel link. From the swivel is a short braided line hook length (about 15 – 20cm) with a largish hook baited with more bread, and perhaps a polystyrene ball to counter the hook weight.
Cast this rig out towards the far bank (the closer the better) then loosen your clutch (or set the “baitrunner” on your reel, if you are lucky enough to have one). Sit back and wait for a screaming run.
At this point if you didn’t loosen your clutch you will see your rod sliding quickly into the water – enjoy the swim. If, however, you had loosened it, you need to partially tighten it, hold the side of the spool firmly and “strike” into the fish. As you play the fish you will then need to adjust the clutch until you have it working with the right amount of tension to tire the fish without snapping your line.
This is all a real pain; buy a “baitrunner” type reel at the first chance you get and avoid all this clutch altering nonsense. Note that they are not very common, and expensive, in Thailand. If you have the opportunity to buy a “baitrunner” before you come then do so and save some cash.
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