Hold a regular fishing rod in one hand and an ice fishing rod in the other and you will find it hard to believe that the small ice fishing rod is capable of doing this job. This comparison shows just how unique ice fishing is.
The best ice fishing rod will also have good sensitivity to convey the subtle nibbling of lethargic and difficult fish in icy waters. It must be strong and able to drop and operate the lures vertically and pull, against gravity, even heavy and struggling fish through the ice hole. It must also be strong enough to withstand freezing conditions and perform well, heater for ice fishing . So what are the rods on the market that meet these conditions? We have reviewed ten best ice fishing rod below that meet the above requirements and are ideal for ice fishing. Additionally, our buying guide makes it easy for you to choose the best ice fishing rod based on the type of species you are fishing for and how you are ice fishing.
Best Ice Fishing Rods
Table of Contents
Best Ice Fishing Rods | Comparison Table 2023
|Pflueger President Inline Ice Fishing Combo||Pflueger||Check Price|
|Fenwick Eagle Ice Fishing Spinning Rod , Black, Cork , 32" - Medium Heavy - 1pc||Fenwick||Check Price|
|13 FISHING - Microtec Walleye Ice Combo - 28" M (Medium) - Full Grip - MWC3-28M||13 FISHING||Check Price|
|13 FISHING - Tickle Stick Ice Rod - 27" UL (Ultra Light) - 1/64oz.-1/16oz. PC2 Blank with White Reel Seat - TS2-27UL||13 FISHING||Check Price|
|Shakespeare Ugly Stik Dock Runner Spinning Combo Red, 3'6"||Ugly Stik||Check Price|
|Shakespeare USGXICE28MCBO Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo, 28-Inches, Medium||Shakespeare||Check Price|
|13 FISHING - The Snitch Ice Rod - 25" Quick Action Tip w/Hookset Backbone - SN2- Black , 25"||13 FISHING||Check Price|
|13 FISHING - Thermo Ice Combo - 28" M (Medium) - TIC3-28M||13 FISHING||Check Price|
|MTM IFB-1-30 Ice Fishing Rod Box (Red)||MTM||Check Price|
Best Ice Fishing Rods | 2023 Products Overview
How to choose the best ice fishing rod – buying guide
Even the best ice fishing rods are not created equal, so you may find it difficult to decide which ice fishing rod is best for you. Knowing what species of fish you want to catch or are likely to catch and whether you will be ice fishing or warm shelter fishing is the first step to finding the perfect ice rod for you. With that in mind, pay attention to the following factors to choose an appropriate rod that will suit your style of ice fishing, serve you well on the spot, and give you the best value for money.
Harsh ice fishing conditions and vertical fishing technique demand a strong and durable rod, while difficult fish buried under the ice require sensitive rods that can transmit the lightest of bites so you can set hooks sturdy but with the backbone to lift hooked fish from the water through the ice hole and onto the ice. Ice fishing rods are usually made from graphite, fiberglass, or a combination of the two. Graphite is lightweight, has incredible sensitivity, and is also strong. Fiberglass is incredibly strong and durable, but it’s not as light and sensitive as graphite. To overcome this bad feeling, Fiberglass ice rods usually have spring-loaded spools that serve as strike indicators. A composite construction that uses both materials gives you the best of both.
The action of a fishing rod describes how quickly the rod bends when a load is applied to its tip, where most of the bend is concentrated, and how quickly the rod recovers a after the load is removed. There are extra fast, fast, moderate and slow action rods. Extra fast rods are extremely stiff and only bend at the end. Fast action rods bend mostly in the upper third from the tip. Moderate action rods bend in the lower half while slow action rods are the most flexible and bend evenly throughout the length taking on a parabolic shape. Fast and extra fast action rods have excellent sensitivity for transmitting lure shots. Slow action rods are suitable for small fish like whiting and toads. They also act as shock absorbers which prevent the hooks from coming out of the fish’s mouth before it is placed correctly, for example when using treble hooks. Larger fish require fast to fast action rods.
Since you will be fishing with gloves or cold hands that have reduced dexterity, the handle of an ice fishing rod is a very important component. The best cane should have a firm and comfortable grip. Ice fishing rods usually come with cork, foam, or plastic handles. Cork grips are the ideal solution for ice fishing as they are light, soft, comfortable, warm and add to the overall sensitivity of the rod making it even easier to detect subtle bites. Some higher quality rods have graphite shafts, which are incredibly sensitive but very expensive. EVA foam sleeves are lightweight and durable.
A well-made, good-quality ice fishing rod will usually consist of a graphite blank, fiberglass, or a combination of the two. Other rod components, such as the handle, line guide frames and inserts, and reel seat, should also be well made, using high quality materials and designed to perform in freezing conditions. The guides must be larger and well aligned so that the wire can pass without chafing or twisting. The reel seat should be well positioned so that the rod is balanced and constructed to lock the reel in place.
Whether you buy a ready-made ice fishing rod and reel combo or buy an ice fishing reel separately, the reel spool is an important item to evaluate. Not only should it be of sufficient size and capacity to support the weight and length of the ice fishing line you will be using, but it should be designed to work smoothly in extreme cold. For example, it must have an antifreeze lubrication system to prevent it from freezing and failing you.
If you’re going for an ice fishing rod and reel combination, the reel’s part number is an important consideration. Reels are usually equipped with ball bearings to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. The more ball bearings the reel has, the smoother it will run. The bearings must also be of good quality in order for them to perform their function well.
A lightweight cane is best, as it will be easy to handle, even for long periods of time. You can fish for hours without feeling tired. A heavy cane will tire you out quickly and leave you with sore wrists and shoulders. The rod should not, however, sacrifice quality and durability. Graphite rods are the lightest while fiberglass rods tend to be heavier. The weight of ice fishing line and lures is another factor to consider. Make sure these ratings match the weight of the line and lure you will be using so you have an ice fishing outfit that will perform well.
There are fishing rods for casting and casting bait. Spinning rods are easy to master and use and excellent for using lighter lines and lures and for catching small fish. They are most popular with beginners and average anglers. The real seat and line guides are on the underside of spinning rods, as the reel is mounted below the rod. Casting rods are best suited for casting heavier lines and lures when big game fishing. They offer the angler more power, control and precision, but are more difficult to master, as they are prone to line tangles called “bird’s nests” when handled by inexperienced hands.
Durability is an essential feature of a winter fishing rod. The durability of an ice fishing rod depends on the materials it is made of, the quality of its construction, and the quality of its components such as guides and reel seats. Fiberglass construction is the most durable, but graphite is also strong and durable when used for lighter applications. Composite rods constructed from these two materials are also strong and durable.
Ease of use
The best ice fishing rod is easy to use and works well in tough conditions. The quantity and quality of line guides or eyes on the fishing rod affect the ease of use of the rod. The more guides on the rod, the smoother the bend of the rod and the flow of the lines will be. Line guides should also be wide so they can be used easily with beaded lines. To be easy to use, the cane should also be light, balanced and have an easy to grip handle. Longer ice rods are easier to use when pulling bigger fish, as they give you more power and control and absorb some of the shock of the fight.
You want to end up with a high quality fishing rod that performs well and will serve you for a long time. The best ice fishing rod at a great price is always a winner. Being on a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for poor quality rods that will disappoint you on the ice. All of the best ice fishing rods we have reviewed offer excellent value for money as they are well made to last a long time and use good quality materials, they perform well and they all come at an accessible price.
Most ice fishing rods are in tension from ultralight to heavy . In general, different levels of tension are conducive to catching fish of different sizes and strengths. Consider each vendor’s recommendations and specifications to determine which model is best suited to help you catch the fish of your dreams.
Does the rod you are considering buying have any kind of warranty or money back guarantee? If not, you may have to pay for a new fishing rod out of your own pocket if it breaks on the first outing.
The guarantees generally cover the fishing rod for a period of about a year and can sometimes only be redeemed for an exchange.
Money-back guarantees are likely for a much shorter period of time, but are typically “no questions asked”. If the manufacturer offers both, then you are in luck.
This aspect mostly has to do with the shaft handle. Some handle materials are more comfortable than others. Handle comfort is important because you will likely spend many hours holding the pole, so you need to make sure it fits snugly in your hand and is comfortable.
Additionally, you may want to take a look at handles that feature an ergonomic design if this is a particularly important area to you. You want your fishing experience to be as enjoyable as it is successful. Comfortable handles can help you get there.
Comfort is very important when fishing in the winter. A good ice fishing rod should be comfortable for fishing. It should be well constructed to feel light and balanced in the hand, no matter how sturdy it is. The handle should provide a firm but comfortable grip. Cork handles are ideal because they are soft, comfortable and warm in the hand.
Of course, cost is a concern when buying anything, but there are a few ice fishing rod price trends that you need to be aware of before making your final decision. There are a plethora of options in the $ 15-30 range. However, some retailers sell outliers ranging for over $ 50.
If you are not extremely serious about ice fishing then you will probably find an acceptable rod in this lower price range. However, if you’re after the highest quality, then you may need to let off steam for something in the higher price range.
In case you are not familiar with the term sensitivity in terms of fishing, it refers to how snacks on the line are detectable.
Most anglers prefer poles that are more sensitive than those that aren’t, because the sensitivity helps them set the line in the fish right after they’ve been bitten. If you don’t know that a fish is taking the bite, then you are much less likely to catch it.
Some ice fishing rods contain features that no other model has. For example, when it comes to sensitivity, the St. Croix Legend Black Ice Fishing Rod from St. While the 13 Fishing Tickle Stick features flat tip technology.
As an angler, you will have to decide whether these special innovations and features will improve your game or if it will simply cost you more and unnecessarily.
While this consideration is not of the utmost importance, you still need to take it into consideration, especially if you want to participate in competitions or just want to impress your friends. Many anglers perceive the rods to have a more elegant and tidy appearance to appear more professional.
If you are looking to place yourself among the pros or just “dress to impress” if you want, then this is something you should consider.
Type of fish
If you are only interested in catching a specific type of fish, then you may want to look for rods that are designed to catch a particular fish. Conversely, you may want to consult reviews to determine which fish users of each model have caught most often.
Ice fishing rods for walleye can do a terrible job of catching panfish and vice versa. Therefore, it is imperative that you know what you want to catch and which rod will best help you achieve this.
What is an ice fishing flip?
The flaps are really convenient tools for ice fishing without a doubt. The purpose of an ice fishing tip is to suspend frozen or live, or artificial bait, from an ice hole, without having to be there to hold it yourself.
They are used to detect fish shots in ice without you actually having to keep the fishing rod on the ice. They usually come with some sort of flag that will move and signal when there is a bite.
They are really comfortable because they allow you to fish multiple holes at the same time, without actually having to hold a rod.
When you see the flag moving, you know there is a fish on the hook.
One thing you may want to use for ice fishing is the upward tip. So what is this and how does a flap work? Well, an ice fishing tip looks like a wrench with a trident on the other side.
The purpose of ice fishing tip ups is to hold the ice fishing rod in the air, with the line in the hole, so you don’t have to hold the rod yourself.
Just stick the end facing the trident into the ice so that it faces up, with the U-shaped end, which looks like a wrench, facing up.
This way you can place the fishing rod on the ice in the end of the U-shaped holder, and thus you don’t have to hold it. Some people prefer to use wooden spikes for ice fishing, which is fine.
They are quite durable, easy to use and not that expensive too. People have also started using plastic ones, which are probably a little cheaper, but aren’t usually as durable as their wooden counterparts.
Either way, a tip up is a really handy ice fishing tool to have on hand, at least if you want to have more than one moving line at a time.
How to set up an ice fishing tip
Choosing and setting your ice fishing tip is not that difficult.
Follow these simple steps and you should have no problem choosing and setting it up.
1. Choose the right flip
The first and foremost thing you need to do is choose a sturdy tip. Sure, the fancy features are nice, but finding one that’s durable is more important than anything else.
Yes, plastic flaps are light and easy to maneuver, but they won’t withstand the elements as much as metal or wooden flaps.
It is recommended to choose one that keeps most of the line underwater and thus prevents it from freezing.
A touch of color
One thing to keep in mind here is that you want to choose a tip that you can see from afar.
This means having a large and brightly colored flag, which you can see from at least 100 meters away.
This way you will be able to see from afar when there is a fish on the line.
Keep in mind that yellow looks white from a distance, so choose an orange or red flag.
A note on dimensions
A handy thing to look for is an upward tip that actually covers the ice fishing hole, as this will help prevent the hole from freezing too quickly as you turn to the other holes.
2. Put the line on the tip
Now you need to put the line on the tip. If you have multiple holes at the same time, we recommend using brightly colored braided thread, as it will be easier to see from a distance, especially if there is movement on the line.
You will then need to use a leader and a short stretch of mono line to attach the leader to the hook.
If you are looking for perch, crappie, perch or pan-fried fish, a size 6 or 8 hook should be fine.
In terms of hook bait, it is usually best to use worms, minnows or other live baits.
However, there are a ton of great lures out there for ice fishing, be it tubes, jigs, rattles, or whatever.
Something that is bright, shines and reflects light is always best to use with a tip.
Other than that, there really isn’t much else involved here, just make sure you have a solid line, good lure, and a tip with a bright flag.
We’ve covered the 10 best ice fishing spots in Wisconsin in this article.
Some other ice fishing tips
To maximize your chances of catching a fish when ice fishing and to make sure your tip is the best it can be, here are a few more points to keep in mind.
Before drilling the hole and setting the tip for ice fishing, it’s a good idea to use a GPS to find structures and weeds where fish are likely to be.
Setting an ice fishing tip will be useless if there are no fish to catch underneath.
A good tip to follow is to use a diamond pattern to set 4 separate tips.
Create a diamond pattern about 35 yards wide, so that you maximize your chances of catching something.
Check your tipping
Don’t just forget about your tips and wait for the flag to move. Live bait can get caught, fall off and all sorts of things can go wrong.
Constant monitoring of your flagship stations is something you definitely want to do.
Align the tip up
Make sure you line up the flaps so that the flat side of the flag is facing you or wherever your shelter is.
This will ensure that you maximize the chances that you can see it wherever you are.
Some people even go so far as to attach LED lights to flags for greater visibility.
Many people have also started using thermal tippers, which look like buckets or tubes covering the ice fishing hole.
They’re great because they help prevent the hole from freezing, which can be a big problem when using regular flaps, as they can freeze right into ice.
Try using smaller hooks, as an upward tip allows the fish to get very close to the bait and have a good look at it.
They probably won’t bite if there is a very large hook staring them straight in the face.
Related: 6 Reasons Ice Fishing Rods Are Short.
Best Ice Fishing Rods | Video Explanation
What are the benefits of ice fishing?
Just like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, skating, ice climbing and other winter sports, ice fishing is a fun and exciting adventure. It is true that it is a risky activity, but it is the risks and the challenges that make it such an exciting activity. One of the great things about ice fishing is that you can go home with dinner. Ice fishing is an opportunity to fish for species such as walleye, trout, bluegill, rock bass, perch, crappie and pike. Ice fishing is an exciting and rewarding winter activity that offers many benefits, as long as you make sure the ice thickness and temperatures are safe to venture on,
What does it mean to choose the right size fishing rod?
When it comes to hard water fishing, choosing the right size fishing rod means choosing the right rod length depending on whether you will be fishing inside an ice shack or outdoors and depending on whether you will be likely to snag and have to pull small, medium or large fish. It also means that you get a rod that matches the lure weight and line strength of the line test and the lure weight you will be using.
How can I handle and test my fishing rod?
If you are in a store, you can handle and test a variety of fishing rods. If you order online, you will always have the opportunity to try out the rod as soon as you receive it, as most online stores offer a refund period. To handle and test the fishing rod, hold it in your hand the way you will handle it while fishing and test whether it feels light, well balanced and comfortable. Inspect its construction and components, such as line guides, inserts, and reel seat, to see if they are well-made and durable. Fix the reel you will use to know if the equipment is well balanced. Test the shackle to see if it opens and closes easily and works smoothly. Flip the practice button to see if it’s easy to use. Grab the handle of the reel and make sure the reel is well made and smooth. If you are satisfied, you can keep the rod and take it with you on your next angling excursion to test its performance on the spot. If it feels flimsy, noisy or heavy, you can return it and order another one.
What are carbon fiber fishing rods?
Carbon fiber is made up of very fine fibers made up of carbon atoms. These fibers are bonded together using crystal alignment technology, which makes carbon fiber incredibly strong. Carbon fiber or graphite fiber fishing rods are high performance fishing rods that are light and sensitive while being extremely strong and durable at the same time. This is because carbon fiber has a very high strength to weight ratio. These rods carry higher price tags to match their superiority.
Why is it important to choose a well-balanced rod?
It is important to choose a well-balanced upper for comfort and performance. A well-balanced rod will feel good in your hand and be comfortable to use, allowing you to fish longer without getting tired. Such a rod will also be easy to use and perform as it should for releasing and working lures and lifting fish. It’s also important to make sure that the rod, reel and line form a well-balanced package that works perfectly when working with lures, detecting bites and pulling fish.