How Does Deep Hole Fishing Work?

Deep hole fishing is a practice with its origin traced back to Cambodia. It is an ancient method of fishing that doesn’t need expensive gear to score your catch. Cambodians use this method to trap fish for food from their rice fields without spending long hours.

Deep hole fishing works by digging a deep hole (about 3ft deep and 2ft wide) near a river or lake. The hole holds a little water, and fish swim in and get trapped inside, making it easy to catch them.

Deep hole fishing can be done in rivers, lakes, and even rice fields that have fish. All that the fishers need to do is dig a deep hole in the ground. The hole needs to have a shallow barrier from the waterline to keep it from flooding: because flooding means the fish will swim out of it. After digging, the hole is filled with shallow water to keep the fish alive before they are collected. The hole is then hidden by covering it with branches, leaves, or any foliage.

When fish swim around the lake or river looking for protection from predators or harsh weather, they find these holes as perfect spots. The unsuspecting fish slither and swim into the hole, and that’s how they are trapped, and the fisher has a catch. Deep hole fishing is so effective since the people of Cambodia have been using it for centuries. The holes can become overcrowded with fish, and it is such an impressive scene to watch in real life.

Deep hole fishing is mind-boggling, and every passionate fisher should try it at least once in their lifetime. The next time you go camping or fishing near a water body, try this affordable and ancient technique.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Deep Hole Fishing?

Deep hole fishing is fun and mind-blowing since you don’t need any fishing gear to catch fish. Once you have a digging tool, you are good to go. But what are the advantages and downsides of using this fishing method? We explain everything to you in detail. In a hurry? Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of deep hole fishing.

Pros Cons
An inexpensive and easy method of catching fishLimited species of fish are caught
You can catch a high number of fish from one holeNot ideal for large fish
Not dependent on seasons or weatherHoles might be dangerous if left uncovered
Saves time 

Pros Of Deep Hole Fishing

1. An Inexpensive And Easy Method Of Catching Fish

Deep hole fishing is probable the cheapest method you can use to catch fish. You don’t need any special skills or gear to have a catch. As long as you can dig a hole and cover it, then you are good to go. You also save your time since you don’t have to keep an eye on any bait or hook. You can dig the hole in the morning, go for other errands and come back to fish in the afternoon. The cost aspect of this fishing method is the reason why Cambodians still use it to date.

2. You Can Catch A High Number Of Fish From One Hole

Since fish bring themselves to the hole, there’s no limit to the fish you can catch. The only limiting factor can only be the size of your hole. With this fishing method, no extra effort is needed to have a bigger catch.

3. Not Dependent On Weather Or Seasons

Deep hole fishing is amazing because it doesn’t have to stop when it’s too windy or raining. You can use the method at any time of the year, regardless of the weather or climate. Compared to all other fishing methods, deep hole fishing is the most dependable. Since it is practiced for food, these fishers can never go without a meal.

4. Saves Time

Deep hole fishing is a method that doesn’t require you to keep an eye on your fishing gear each time. You only need to dig the hole, put some water, cover it and wait for fish to come. You can go for your usual errands and daily activities and come back to lots of fish. For people who want fish for food and are not hobby fishers, this saves a lot of their time.

Cons Of Deep Hole Fishing

1. Limited Species Of Fish Are Caught

Deep hole fishing can be limiting in the species of fish you can catch. This method has proven to be effective in catching catfish, perch, snakeheads. These species of fish prefer vegetative cover and are the most attracted by the foliage. Another reason why this method is limiting in terms of species could be that these are the dominant species in south Asia. Maybe if the method were tried in areas with other fish species, more variety would be caught. 

2. Not Ideal For Large Fish

Another limitation of deep hole fishing is that you can’t catch large fish. Since the hole is limited in width, only small fish come into the hole. In Cambodia, the size of the fish isn’t such a big deal because the fish caught by this method is for home consumption.

3. Holes Might Be Dangerous If Left Uncovered

Some fishers leave these fishing holes uncovered after they have caught fish. Uncovered holes are dangerous to the fish and humans as well. Fish will keep getting into the hole and overcrowd it, causing most of them to die. For humans, these holes can be dangerous if you accidentally trip into one and hurt your leg.


Deep hole fishing has been used in southern Asia for decades as an easy method to catch fish for food. This method is slowly becoming popular with campers and hobby fishers. It is easy to catch the fish since you don’t need any specialized gear or skills. If you love new adventures, we highly recommend this fishing method for the next time you are hiking or camping near a river/lake. The thrill and amusement from this activity are worth a try. 

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