The Leg Rowing Fishermen of Inle Lake, Myanmar

The fishermen of Inle Lake have a unique way of rowing.  Essentially they stand on the very far end of their small boats, and wrap one leg around the oar and then use this to row.  The lake is full of weeds and plants, which if they were sitting, they wouldn’t see and also allows them to see the bubbles created by the fish.

They use these huge cone shaped nets, as shown in the photos, to collect fish.   The basket has a spear sticking through the top of the frame.  The spear is then used to stir the weed below, exposing the fish. The fisherman can feel the fish bumping against the frame and releases the net to capture the fish.

Many of the boats had small motors attached, I’m pretty sure that most of the oar rowing is likely now for demonstrations for tourists as the roar of outboard motors going on up and down the lake is 24 hours a day.  This particular fisherman kindly demonstrated usage of his net and leg rowing technique in return for a small donation.

We also saw other people on the lake harvesting the weed, they pile their boats up so high, until you can’t possibly imagine how they remain afloat.











To see more about our visit to Myanmar, click here.  More on Inle Lake will be coming in the next few weeks and then I’ll be sharing about Bagan (the highlight of the trip), so be sure to follow my blog.



  1. Wow! I am bogged by the coordination involved in getting those nets out and the intuition and skill involved in catching the fish. Personally, I struggle to get a line out and would definitely fall in the water trying to get this net out…and would capsize the boat as well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s