Best Ice Fishing Rods

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41QbcV Q1JL. AC SL300

13 Fishing Rod

The Best Ice Fishing Rods


Among all the ice fishing rods, this is the best one overall.

Ice fishing has always had a lot of appeal in North America and some Scandinavian countries. Ice fishing has been the primary source of income and food for families in the world's colder parts. However, for the past two decades, it has become more of a recreational activity— it can also be categorized as a sport.

There is no doubt that ice fishing on a frozen water body is adventurous. Although it is also quite challenging. A lot of people return home empty-handed, without any fish. To catch the best fish through an 8-inch ice fishing hole, you must have the best ice fishing rod available on the market. This post will assist you in finding one.

61QOqc%2BddWL. AC SL300

FiIblink is a Chinese fishing equipment manufacturer. The one-piece jigging jig casting rod is designed and assembled in China. Compared to other US-made rods, this one offers a lot more features and hence can be used with a variety of ice fishing methods. To catch big fish the easy way, the manufacturer recommends the vertical jigging methods with this rod. 

If you wish to use this shaft for shore fishing or pontoon trawling, you can attach a spin casting reel to this rod— it does come with a non-corrosive aluminum alloy reel seat. The 6 feet one-piece constructed rod comes with a total of 7 stainless steel guides. The inside portion of each guide is coated with ceramic; hence, there is no need to worry about friction arising from a braided line. 

The rod itself is made from tubular graphite composite. It is lightweight, durable, and offers the flexibility one needs for saltwater fishing. Furthermore, this ride is categorized as medium heavy. A line weight 50-80 lbs works fine for most trawling methods. You can attach a jig weighing no more than 4-10 lbs. Also, the cork handle is made with a soft, cushy, and grippy EVA material. 

Fiblink Saltwater 1-Piece Jigging Jig Casting Rod is Suitable For:

This jigging and trolling stick from Fiblink works best for deepwater ice fishing. Depending on how good you are at jigging, you can expect to retrieve fish as big as 100 lbs. You can use a standard tug boat, a pontoon boat, or a kayak. 

Apart from that, I don't see why you cannot use this rod for shore ice fishing. The graphite rod is lightweight and flexible. Although anglers looking for fast action might find it a bit stiff. 

Pros

  • The seat is also compatible with all reels

  • Perfect rod for catching large deepwater fish
  • Stainless steel guides hold well in icy water

Cons

  • Does not come with a reel
  • Not a fast action rod
41IvT7QGt9L. AC SL400

This is a perfect ice rod for trawling in a frozen lake or a pond. To catch the larger freshwater fish with this stick, you need to make a hole in the ground with a hand ice auger. Attach a lure or a jig, and you are good to go. You can catch fish without moving an inch. With this ice rod from Shakespeare Ugly Stik, ice fishing is effortless. 

The original Ugly Stik rod is made with a combination of Graphite and fiberglass. It is sensitive, flexible, and durable. Further, the Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides are forged into the stick with the latest laser technology. There is no question of misalignment. Hence, you can rely on it on your ice fishing trips. 

For unsurpassed comfort, the cork handle is equipped with lightweight EVA grips.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is Suitable For:

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik has all the requirements the best ice fishing rod should have. This 26-inch stick is perfect for ice fishing in a frozen lake or a pond. In addition to this, with a correct trawling line, you can use this stick for shore fishing or boat fishing. It is strong enough to help you catch lake trout, perch, kingfish, and blowfish.

Pros

  • Made the old-fashioned way but has a modern look
  • EVA cork handle offers a comfortable grip
  • Can be used for a variety of fishing methods

Cons

  • The tip could be more sensitive
41QbcV Q1JL. AC SL400

13 Fishing is a fresh new face in fish equipment manufacturing. Their manufacturing facility is located in Clearwater, Florida. Anglers looking for a super sensitive ice fishing rod might benefit from this particular product. The flat style tip is the reason behind the stick being so sensitive. This fishing rod is available in a variety of sizes (23-inch to 38-inch). 

This product does not come with a reel. Although the reel seat is quite versatile. You can either buy a 13 Fishing spinning reel or any other brand of your choice. For better maneuverability, it is recommended to get an inline reel.  

Furthermore, if you have ever done night ice fishing, you know how fatiguing the whole process can get. It can be challenging to sit for long hours in a cold and wet shack with your hand shivering. This is why people at 13 Fishing have equipped this stick with an ultra-comfortable 3A Portuguese cork handle.

13 Fishing Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is Suitable For:

The smallest size (23-inch) stick is suitable for catching a 3-4 pound fish. It flattens at the tip. Hence, it is far more sensitive than rods with a conventional round tip. When ice fishing with this stick, it is advised not to change the position too much. Although to attract a fish, you have to jig it once every few minutes.

Pros

  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • Equipped with a flat style tip
  • Comfortable grip in cold weather

Cons

  • The handle could be lengthy 
61W

When it comes to graphite fishing rods, there is no one in the business better than Fenwick Fishing. In fact, this Westminster-based firm was the first to introduce all graphite fishing sticks (1973). In this section, I will focus on Fenwick's 28-inch long Medium-Heavy fishing rod known as HMG.

This stick is made with high modulus graphite blank. Unlike other ice fishing rods, the HMG comes with a tapered construction. You won't find any sharp edges on the rod. Even the actions are moderately designed. The entire rod is coated with long-lasting waterproof paint. In addition to this, the stainless steel guides are equipped with aluminum oxide inserts. 

Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is Suitable For:

Initially, this rod may appear too weak for medium-sized fish. Do not go by its looks. Graphite blank rods are known for their strength and durability. The 28-inch long Medium-Heavy rod can easily handle a moderate to large-sized sunfish or crappie. Further, the rod will do just fine for catching 20-25 inch long trout or a panfish.

Pros

  • The stainless steel guides have aluminum oxide inserts
  • The rod is coated with black waterproof paint
  • Suitable for bigger fish

Cons

  • This rod does not come with a built-in spring bobber
51DqVEQO1dL. AC SL400

Berkley Fishing is a South Carolina-based trawling equipment manufacturer. The Berkley Cherrywood is one of the best ice fishing rod and reel combos. You get to pick from an ultra-light, light, and medium power stick. In this section, I am focusing on the 27-inch light power rod and the reel.

This ice-fishing rod has been tested for a four-pound line. Ice fishing in a frozen lake, river, or pond is very different from conventional bait trawling. First, you need to attract the fish with a sparkling jig. Once it bites the jig, you can retrieve it with a spinning reel. This ice-fishing rod and reel combo are designed to make sure you get the fish without losing it midway.

The cork handle is made of wood. It is easy to grip. The spinning reel seat and foam (located at the butt of the handle) combination helps you grip the handle even better. 

Berkley Cherrywood Ice Fishing Spinning Combo is Suitable For:

This ice-fishing rod and reel combo suit best for anglers who are serious about ice fishing. Professional fishermen can easily be put-off by faulty devices. Ice fishing is not easy. It makes total sense for an angler to want precision-engineered tools. This is where the Cherrywood rod and reel combo comes into the picture.

Pros

  • Very tight line. No slack 
  • The handle is luxuriously handcrafted

  • Comfortable grip

Cons

  • The stoppers that hold the reel need improvement. They are made of cheap plastic
71MpYsZ8EzL. AC SL400

If you are looking for the best ice fishing rod under $30, you must check out this product. It is a rod and reel combo made by Shakespeare, one of the most renowned fishing equipment manufacturers in the United States. The ice fishing rod comes in a variety of sizes and powers, but in this section, I will discuss the 30-inch medium one.

This stick comes with three stainless steel guides and blue inserts. The stick itself has a longer than usual stem and is made of sensitive solid fiberglass material. It bends well without breaking under pressure. The soft, cushy, and grippy handle is equipped with sliding graphite rings and hook keepers. A 4-8 lbs fishing line would work perfectly for larger fish.

Shakespeare Glacier Rod and Reel Combo is For:

This product is designed exclusively for ice fishing. The Shakespeare Glacier Rod and Reel Combo are perfect for quick retrieval of fish of all shapes and sizes. The reel has no secured seat, which means you can pull off the reel and pack up quickly.

Also, like every other best ice fishing rod on the market, this one too comes with plastic reel holders. Plastic holders do help lower the overall weight of the device, but they are not long-lasting. This is one of the shortcomings of this product.

Pros

  • Comes with a hook keeper
  • The ultra-flexible rod is made with solid fiberglass
  • The rod is equipped with stainless steel guides with blue inserts

Cons

  • The friction cups could be improved
61Oot8BoXfL. AC SL400

Are you looking for an ice fishing rod and reel combo? The Frabill Fin-S Pro rod and reel combo are some of the best products on the market. The hypersensitive rod features a solid carbon blank. This product has a lot of interesting features to offer; moreover, all the functions of this rod and reel combo are tested by experts at Farbill.

The 30-inch stick is perfectly suited for ice fishing in frozen water bodies. With the right fishing line, you can go for medium to large-sized fish without any issues. It is equipped with stainless steel single foot ice guides. Hence, the product is also suited for ice fishing in saltwater bodies such as creeks or seas. 

Further, the reel seat is made from organic cork wood. This rod will serve you faithfully even during night ice fishing sessions. In between two cork rings, the handle has EVA coating. To get a good hold of this rid, you must slide the reel stem in between your index and middle finger.

Frabill Fin-S Pro Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is Suitable For:

This rod and reel combo is perfectly suited for ice fishing in frozen water bodies. In the northern parts, winters can get really tough. Instead of staying home, you can use this time to get in touch with nature. To go out fishing in such harsh conditions, you need the best tools available on the market.

The Frabill Fin-S Pro rod is made from solid carbon and has stainless steel guides. It will offer the quality you've come to expect.

Pros

  • Sensitive and stable
  • Ergonomically-designed handle

  • Works out of the box

Cons

  • The drag system of the reel could be improved

Ugly Stik is a US-based fish equipment company. This dock runner spinning combo is versatile and portable. The UGLYDR36PDQ model is a 36-inch light action stick for catching small to medium-sized fish. Like every other fishing rod from Ugly Stik, the UGLYDR36PDQ version is structurally solid. 

The stick is made with a graphite and fiberglass composite blend. Which is why it considered being equally sensitive, strong, and flexible. Furthermore, it is equipped with a stand cork and EVA handle. The wood definitely cuts down some weight, while the EVA material offers a good grip. The up-locking seat design enables you to get a good hold of the fish.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Dock Runner Spinning Combo is Suitable For:

This light action stick may not possess the stiffness and strength needed to catch bigger fish, but it is perfect for those who wish to catch small to medium-sized fish like panfish, bluegill, crappie, and trout. It also makes an excellent gift. You can present this fishing reel rod combo to your children or grandchildren. It will inspire them to learn more about fishing in cold icy weather.

Pros

  • Improves your chances of catching hard-to-find fish

Cons

  • It is a light action rod. Not suitable for bigger fish
  • Not for professional anglers

Are you interested in catching fish species such as Walleye, Perch, Lake Trout and Panfish like Crappie, Bluegill, and Sunfish? 

Tailored Tackle, a renowned fishing equipment manufacturer and an innovator in this industry, has come up with a versatile rod reel combo. This rod reel combo allows you to ice fish the old-fashioned way. You don't need anything else than a hand ice auger. 

 Tailored Tackle has designed this product at a medium-light power rating. Not having a choice of stick length and power is definitely a bummer, but the people at Tailored Tackle know how to succeed at fishing in the icy North American weather. 

The stick is 28-inch long and has a line rating of 3-8 lbs. On the fast action tip, you can attach meat or a dead insect as a lure or an attractive jig. 

Tailored Tackle Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo is Suitable For:

Are you new to ice fishing? Want a reel rod combo designed for newbies? This is one of the rare rod reel combos that come with an expertly-written quick guide. It will teach you everything from getting started with ice fishing to maintaining/setting up the equipment.

Pros

  • Sensitive tip
  • Designed to catch fish of varying species and sizes
  • Comes with a quick guide

Cons

  • The rod can be too flexible at times. Need a firmer backbone

Abu Garcia (now acquired by Pure Fishing) is a fishing reel and fishing equipment manufacturer based in Sweden. Even though an American company acquired them, the products are still the same, especially the Veritas series. Veritas 3.0 is their newest model of ice fishing rod and reel combo.

This particular product comes in a variety of sizes and powers. In this section, I am going to discuss the 29-inch ultra-light model. The spinning reel has a total of four bearings (3 ball bearings and one roller bearing). The aluminum spool is machined to perfection. 

You would also be glad to know that the graphite rod can bear a load of 24 tons. Once you buy this reel rod combo, you can rest assured as you will have one of life's best experiences out there in nature. The reel can always be replaced, but the rod will last for a long time to come.

Abu Garcia Veritas 3.0 Ice Fishing Combo is Suitable For:

This rod reel combo from Abu Garcia suits best for seasoned ice fishermen. When you are out there catching fish for a living, you want to make sure that you get the best out of your equipment and use your time efficiently. With the graphite stick, you will feel the slightest of the bites. You can also use this device with a jaw jacker.

Pros

  • Comes with stainless steel guides
  • Tested and compatible with a standard jaw jacker
  • Made for professional use

Cons

  • Need to be careful with the tip. It can snap due to rough handling 

Berkley is a fishing equipment manufacturer based in Iowa. The company was founded in 1937 by Berkley Bedell, a 16-year old boy with big dreams. Since then, the company has launched several amazing products to help fishermen achieve their goals. The AmpTM Ice is available in a variety of sizes (from 24-inch to 38-inch) and powers. 

Berkley has also introduced other fishing rods under the AMPTM series, but this is one of the inexpensive or lower-end ones. It is made with solid fiberglass. The stainless steel guide comes with aluminum oxide inserts, and the actions are decent as well. Depending on the size you choose, you can catch a variety of freshwater fish. This product is not suited for saltwater. 

Berkley AmpTM Ice Spinning Rod is Suitable For:

This stick is suitable for a fishing line with a line rating of 2-4 lbs. It is also popular among anglers who seek aesthetics in fishing equipment. The grey and black camo handle are attention-grabby. It is perfect for freshwater fishermen wanting to catch lake trout and burbot.

Pros

  • Stainless steel guided with oxide inserts
  • Designed to flatter
  • Makes an excellent gift for a younger family member

Cons

  • The reel set is made with cheap plastic

The reel rod combo from Eagle Claw is a US-made product for those looking for an alternative to a bait caster reel. Baitcaster reels are great for summers, but in winter or windy conditions, they can be difficult to operate. The reel on this device is designed in a similar manner to that of a bait caster or a flywheel. But it is an inline ice reel.

The 24-Inch graphite stick is lightweight and sensitive. It is shaped in the typical S-curve of a fishing rod. More on the inline ice reel— it is equipped with four ball bearings and one roller bearing. 

Furthermore, the ergonomically designed handle does not have cork rings on it. It's just a plain EVA coated handle with provision to hold it with the index finger and middle finger of the right or left hand. 

You can also change the spool settings from fixed to free with the knob provided on the side. Furthermore, you can progressively add tension on the spool with another knob. During windy conditions, you can enable the clicker, so you will hear the spool rotating. 

Eagle Claw Ice Light Fishing Combo is Suitable For:

The primary attraction of this product is its uniquely designed reel. It is custom-manufactured for someone who hates having snow or cold water messing up with their ice fishing game. The ice fishing reel has a lot of great features an avid angler can cherish.

Pros

  • Provision to the free spool with the clicker on
  • Ergonomically-designed handle with a fresh new look
  • Ultra-smooth drag

Cons

  • Does not come preloaded with a line
  • The handle is made for a right-handed person. To re-adjust for a left-handed person, you take it apart and flip a bearing

This graphite body ice fishing rod from Fiblink comes in three different sizes (24-inch, 30-inch, and 32-inch). The one with length 24-inch is an ultra-light power stick weighing 2.2 lb, the 30-inch long medium power stick weighs 2.3 lb, and the 32-inch medium-heavy power stick weighs 2.5 lb. All three versions are equipped with five stainless steel guides.

The cork handle has a plastic seat attached to it. Some ice fishermen prefer to have EVA rings on the handle as it lets them have a better grip. However, naturally-occurring cork offers additional comfort and feel. It would serve you during longer ice fishing sessions. 

Lastly, as suggested by Fiblink, this rod can be used to catch freshwater fish like pike, trout, bass, crappie, and bluegills.

Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod is Suitable For:

This ice-fishing rod from Fiblink is lightweight and sensitive. It is precision-engineered for fishing on a frozen lake or a river. It also makes a perfect gift for a loved one. Special occasions like Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Christmas, and Birthday can be made even more special.

Pros

  • Comes with five sensitive guides. It offers enough stability to catch bigger fish
  • Makes an excellent gift for your loved ones
  • Works fine with a jig, live bait or a cat feather

Cons

  • The manufacturer needs to pay attention to the fishing of this product

St. Croix (pronounced St. Croy) is a fish equipment manufacturer based in Park Avenue, Wisconsin. This product was released specifically for the 2017-18 ice fishing season. It has been tried and tested for more than three years in the running. The LBI30L is the newer version of the retired Legend Silver and Legend Gold ice rods.

This particular rod can be interchanged with other St. Croix Spring Bobbers of different tensions. No issues with compatibility. Note that this is a 24-inch Medium Light model. 

 You can get some amazing results by having a modern fish finder in the arsenal. The most unique feature of this rod is that it comes with a stainless steel strike indicating Spring Bobber. The spring bobber is connected to the topmost guide. You can adjust the length in accordance with the line rating. 

St. Croix Legend Black Ice LBI30L is Suitable For:

The backbone of the rod is strong enough for medium-sized fish. This rod suits best for those who wish to catch sunfish, crappies, and trouts. Further, this rod does not come with a spinning reel. I would recommend pairing it with an inline reel.

Pros

  • It is equipped with an adjustable spring bobber
  • The rod is precision-engineered for ice fishing
  • Tried and trusted product

Cons

  • The rod might bend of you catch a fish larger than 15 lbs

Mojo Ice is another stick from St. Croix. It is made from solid carbon fiber blank. The custom reel seat lets you choose the type of reeling equipment you wish to pair this stick with. It is suitable for both spinning and casting reels.  

Note that this stick is a 36-inch Medium Heavy. This is the longest rod that St. Croix has to offer. The St. Croix Mojo is perfect for medium to large-sized fish. It is tried and tested for catching walleye, crappie, and catfish. 

Furthermore, this lengthy stick is made to the exacting specifications so the larger fish won't unhook itself from the jig or lure. It is not uncommon for beginner fishermen to let a few fish get away. With this stick, you don't have to worry about it. 

St. Croix Mojo Ice is Suitable For:

This product has also been tested in freshwater bodies such as St. Clarie river and lake Erie. In fact, it is intended to be used in hard-water only. The cork/EVA handle in St. Croix fishing rods comes with an unusual split-grip design. But this makes the entire structure more stable when battling with larger fish.

Pros

  • Lightweight, sturdy, and flexible carbon fiber blank stick
  • Individually crafted in America

Cons

  • Most ice fishermen are used to a handle with a split-grip. Also, the handle is imported from China

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose an Ice Fishing Rod?

A lot of people wonder if there is a right rod for ice fishing. When it comes to ice fishing, you must look for a rod built with the exacting specifications. You cannot employ a short and light power rod to catch large hard water fish like trophy trout or northern pike. 

So, if you have noticed the ice on the river or a lake getting thicker and thicker, do not wait to order a stick, keeping the following factors in mind.

1. Rod Blank Material 

A fishing rod may appear like elementary equipment, but it is deftly designed and developed in coordination with leading engineers. The material of an ice fishing rod is of utmost importance. There was a time when manufacturers used to use bamboo for its construction, but these days graphite and fiberglass have replaced it.

You will also find some ice fishing rods made with composite blends of graphite and fiberglass. By combining graphite and fiberglass features, you get a versatile ice fishing rod capable of withstanding the elements of wind, rain, and cold. To conclude this discussion, I would say go for a graphite stick for smaller fish and fiberglass to catch bigger fish. 

2. Rod Action 

Rod action is a metric used to determine the sensitivity of a fishing rod. The more quickly you feel the bite, nibble, or tug from a fish underwater, the faster the rod action is. For ice fishing, the following types of rod action are recommended.

  • Super Ultra Light 

  • Ultra-Light

  • Medium Light 

  • Medium Light 

  • Medium-Heavy

3. Handle Design and Material 

Handle design and material may not be as important as some of the other points in this section, but by getting this point right, you can save yourself a lot of muscle pain and general discomfort. Rod handles either come in a cylindrical shape or with a split-grip. 

Ordinarily, manufacturers use organic cork and EVA to construct a rod handle, but you will also find some made from foam or plastic. 

4. Rod Length

Ice rods are way shorter than a regular fishing rod. To get to the fish present deep inside a frozen lake or a river, you must dig a round hole with an auger. The conditions and the methods used for ice fishing is a lot different than those of summer or spring fishing. 

On top of that, an angler has to sit inside a small tent. Hence, ice rods have to be small and compact. Generally, the length of ice ranges from 20-inch to 40-inch— excluding the length of the bobber. 

Can You Use an Ice Fishing Rod for Regular Fishing?

Yes, ice fish rods are perfectly suitable for fishing in the summer. Needless to say, you will have to compromise on the cast distance. Ice fishing sticks are shorter than the regular ones. Hence, you must use them for pontoon or kayak fishing. You can also hand it to a kid who is learning how to fish. Apart from that, they are not as potent for shore fishing. 

How Do You Care for an Ice Fishing Rod and Reel?

Before you begin taking care of your fishing equipment, you should know that a fishing stick does not last forever. As a matter of fact, you must replace it every 2-3 years. 

Having said that, cleaning the parts like reel, guides, the shaft, handle, and the tip with a soft cloth dipped in warm soapy water. When not in use, store them in a dry place with the sleeves or cover on.  

Conclusion

Trying to catch fish by dropping a line in a hole is a lot more challenging than doing so in open water. To make this activity fun and productive, you will need the best ice fishing equipment. I hope I was able to provide the necessary information about ice fishing rods.

There is no shortage of rod reel combos on the market. You will find one suitable for every type of fish species on the planet. Some rods are custom-manufactured to help you fish in a particular type of water. Sadly, the popular rods like St. Croix Legend, Berkley AmpTM, and Fenwick HMG do not come with an ice fishing reel.

If you stay in the North American region, chances are, you will be fishing in frozen hard water bodies such as lakes, rivers, or ponds. 13 Fishing Tickle Stick is the best ice fishing rod and reel combo overall. You have a choice to pick a rod with length ranging from 23-inch to 38-inch. Also, most of the rods are light, ultra-light, or super ultralight.

Last Updated on October 9th, 2020

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