Trolling for fish through the ice?

Ice carousels, like this one on an inland lake in the Upper Peninsula, are gaining in popularity. (Contributed photos)

If you spend any time on social media, chances are that one of your friends has passed along a video of an “ice carousel.”

If you haven’t seen one, do yourself a favor and run a search for one on the internet. You’ll see a variety of them, mostly created in northern Europe.

To create the carousel, you mark out a circle on the ice and use a chainsaw to cut the disk loose from the rest of the ice surface. Then you punch a hole near the edge of the disk and propel it by using an electric trolling motor or small outboard. Some people use spuds to push the disk around.

The ice carousel the author fished from was propelled by a small electric trolling motor.

So, the disk spins and friends climb aboard, start a fire, enjoy food and drink, tell stories and pass the time. Some friends built an ice carousel several weeks ago on a local inland lake and invited us to join them. Their carousel had a 35-foot diameter and they used an electric troller to propel it. We were amazed at how buoyant the disk was – it never moved when people walked on and off of it. Several friends who were initially nervous about it soon relaxed when they saw that they weren’t going to sink.

Of course, I brought along ice fishing gear, so we set up some rods outside of the carousel. But then I thought, “Why not jig a lure along the edge – sort of like trolling in a circle?”

Author Tim Pink tried his hand at trolling through the ice from an ice carousel.

I tried jigging a Rapala along the edge and didn’t have much luck, but I still think an ice carousel could increase angler’s chances in some places.

For example, in March on Munuscong Bay, we usually punch several holes in a circle and walk from hole to hole, jigging a lure in each of them until we find a fish. Why not cut a carousel and troll in that same area instead of walking from hole to hole? You could still set tip-ups off the disk and watch those for walleye, pike and perch.

The limiting factors would be ice thickness – we were on 18 inches inland and it was difficult to get the chainsaw through it – and I suppose the carousel could pose a risk to those driving trucks on the ice. However, with a large enough disk, I’m guessing that risk would be eliminated.

Thinking of the possibilities helps get a person through a long winter, much like enjoying food, drink and fishing around a fire with friends.

Categories: Blog Content, Michigan – Tom Pink