The fishermen whose live near by The Li River is a group with a long and painful history of migration, they share a common ancestor of the ethnic group; this tribe wandering on the Li River for thousands of years; they lives on the water, and live in a special boat as their home, in the past, the living condition of the house boat is so poor, with limited space inside and even hard to move around, they live without electric power, no tub water, they catching fish to feed the family, and sell most of them to the market to make a living.
It's an exiting experience, when walking or cruising along the river, you may see fishing done with their birds; sometimes they use special design fishing net to catch fish. Base on the official statistic, there are around a thousand fishermen along Li River since 1989, when in 1998, China establish Open to the World policy, many foreign invested company are settle up in Yangtze River Delta, a large number of labors are flow to those area, there are also the Li River fishermen. In the resent ten years, most of the fishermen are willing to afford an apartment and move to land with whole family.
For thousands of years, Li River fisherman live by water, fishing raft and river boat songs are so familiar by Guilin people; it constitutes with Li River scenery as a solid landscape painting. The mostly Li River fishermen surnamed call WONG, it is said that Wong people's ancestors are come from Zhuji port through the South China Sea, go pass by Luoding to Guangxi Lingchuan, and port by Mao Village in Guilin, it has been develop 35 generations and nearly has1000-year history. So tracing back the history of Li River fisherman, they all from one place in Guilin, Mao Village in Daxu, Guilin.
Cormorant fishing is a traditional life style for the fisherman of the Li River in the past. If you walking around Yangshuo by the Riverside after sunset, you can see fishermen gather here for fishing, on cormorant-perched, gas-lit bamboo rafts. The lights of the fishing raft scattered all over river, it form as an extraordinary sight. Nowadays, most part of the Li River are not allow to fishing to Renewal of Lijiang's sustainable development, fewer fishermen live on fishing, the cormorant fishing mostly use to show to the tourist, so have to made an arrangement to see the cormorant fishing show.
The cormorants are trained to dive into the river among the school of fish that live in the clear water. After catching a fish the birds return to the boat where the fisherman removes the fish from the bird. The bird is prevented from swallowing the fish by a ring that is placed around the neck of the bird. The bird is rewarded for its work by its owner.
A cormorant is an excellent fish catcher. A good cormorant can catch as many fish as three smart fishermen.
A bamboo rafts used by the fisherman are made by tying five thick bamboo poles together. It is also a most economical way of transportation for the fisherman.
Fishermen on the Li River use several different types of fishing nets depending on the depth and flow speed of the river and the habits and type of the fish.
See them work
In the evening, you can join a group and head for the River to see cormorant fishing show. Yangshuo town is the best place for the tour. You board on a local wood sampan and join the fishermen who use the smaller rafts. You will marvel at the dexterity of the birds. You may even have a picture taken with the bird that catches the biggest fish of the night.