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Traditional Thai Fishing in the Village

If you have spent any time in the Thai countryside during the rainy season, you have undoubtedly seen villagers with traditional Thai fish nets attached to wooden polls. These nets are lowered into overflowing canals and ponds after rains, and then lifted up again, hopefully with some fish caught in the nets.

These Thai fishing nets attached to wooden poles are called Yor Khai (ยอข่าย) or Yor Nets, while the loose nets that you sometimes see villagers throwing into a Thailand pond or river to catch fish are called Hae Swing (แหสวิง) or Swing Nets. The abundance of fish that appear after heavy rains can sometimes be surprising, and Thai villagers will often attribute it to blessings from the Gods (or Buddha).


Thailand Village Fishing Net
Thai Villager in Sakon Nakhon Collecting the Fish Catch from a Stocked Pond


However, the more prosaic reason for the sudden appearance of so many fish after heavy rains in Thailand is that they have been swept into the canals from the reservoirs or fisheries in which they had been previously residing. Sometimes the fish also flow into rice paddies and ponds from the flooded canals.

You also will find villagers with traditional Thai fishing equipment, like Yor Nets and Swing Nets, when a stocked pond owned and managed by the Thai village, allows for fishing of the stocked fish, which occurs only once every several years, giving time for the stocked fish to grow. There are two situations for this type of stocked pond fishing: one is where villagers pay a certain amount of money to the village head to stock the pond. Only those who have paid-in can fish when the time comes. The other is where the village head completely pays to stock the pond from government funds, and then invites anyone to come to a fishing event, the proceeds from the event being used for village development projects (including the restocking of the pond).


Sakon Nakhon Fishing Pond
Thailand Fishing Party in Sakon Nakhon with Yor Nets


The fishing of stocked ponds in Thailand’s villages tend be a big party, with music playing and food being sold (including fresh caught fish which are grilled on the spot). Just such an event occurred last month at Tawan Ron Tee Nong Phan (ตะวันรอนที่หนองพาน) in Sakon Nakhon, with lots of villagers using Yor Nets and Swing nets to catch an abundance of fish from the stocked pond.


Thai Fishing Party at Tawan Ron Tee Nong Phan in Sakon Nakhon




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