Feeling that strong desire to go ice fishing soon?
Even in the dead of winter, you can absolutely still go fishing with the right gear! As long as you have a dependable ice fishing shelter and a cozy ice fishing bib, you should be able to stay comfortable enough in spite of the chilly temps.
Our best ice fishing rods are also a must-have before you head off to your destination. We’ve got you all covered to help you pick out the right product to buy. As not all ice fishing rods are created equal, we separate the wheat from the chaff to make sure you get only the best of the best!
So stick around, check out our featured products and buying guide, and bring home a top-quality ice fishing rod!
- Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Rods
- 1. St. Croix Ice Fishing Rod Mojo Series
- 2. Fiblink Saltwater Jig Spinning Rod
- 3. Fenwick Elite Spinning Ice Fishing Rod
- 4. Frabill Fin-S Ice Fishing Rod PLUS Reel
- 5. Berkley Cherrywood HD Spinning Ice Fishing Rod
- 6. Fenwick AETOS Fast Spinning Ice Fishing Rod
- 7. HT Enterprises Ultra Light Ice Fishing Rod
- 8. Fiblink Graphite Sensitive Ice Fishing Rod
- 9. Shakespeare Ice Fishing Rod Ugly Stik
- 10. 13 Fishing Widow Ice Fishing Rod
- Buying Guide on How to Find the Best Ice Fishing Rods
- Ice Fishing Rods: Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts on Buying an Ice Fishing Rod
Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Rods
Fishing in the ice makes things more fickle. But this ice fishing rod from St. Croix gets you catching fish without any problem at all. Whether you want to bring home a lake trout, walleye, panfish, pike, or trout, this rod got it all figured out.
The rod features a custom reel seat and blanks made of solid carbon for optimum durability. There are guides crafted from stainless steel and there are sizes intended to prevent them from freezing up when the temps hit sub-zero.
Overall, this is a great rod to buy for ice fishing. The sensitivity is decent and the eyelets can withstand the ice when it gets very cold and windy. Be sure to check the labels when you receive this item from your doorstep and that it has the right specifications you need.
When it comes to vertical jigging, this ice fishing rod is king. We like how versatile it is even for saltwater fishing, so you are not left with just one fishing technique. The rod blanks are a single-piece material from graphite composite, so that’s plenty of toughness for you. With heavy-duty guides made of stainless steel, you can be sure it is as sturdy as it can get.
The reel seat is just as strong as the rest of the parts. It is crafted from aluminum alloy that is non-corrosive, and this prevents any flex even when there is a heavy load caught. Plus, with an EVA foregrip, you can get maximum control and experience ultimate comfort. Rugged and lightweight, this fishing rod is quite impressive.
The product seems pretty sturdy and absolutely great for ice fishing. But the packaging could have been better as there is no bubble wrap used to protect the rod. Other than that, it is excellent and really does the job. Period.
When it comes to durability and sturdiness, you can never go wrong with the Fenwick Elite. It is well-made and solid, and the pole is capable of holding up to heavy loads. The backbone is strong and rugged, and there is a fast tip to ensure greater efficiency.
We like an ice fishing rod that bends at about 2/3 of its entire length – and this is what Fenwick does. The graphite blanks are 100% heavy-duty, and the guides are made of stainless steel combined with inserts from Zirconium oxide. That’s a sweet combo, if we should say!
For the price, you can’t beat the remarkable features of the Fenwick Elite. But the sensitivity seems a little inadequate. Higher-end ones have a better sensitivity rating but if you are on a budget, you cannot go wrong with the Fenwick Elite.
This ice fishing rod from Frabill includes a ball-bearing reel, which makes it quite a good deal for the money. The ice guides are stainless steel for optimum durability, and there is a machined aluminum material for the spool for enhanced power and support.
The real seat includes a cork grip. This adds to your comfort while making sure you have better control of the rod. We also like the increased sensitivity of the blank, thanks to the solid carbon fiber material used for it. It surely is one heavy-duty and high-performance ice fishing rod for your ice angling trip.
There is no doubt that this ice fishing rod gets the job done, which is the most important thing about it. For the price, it is definitely unbeatable. We highly recommend this item, and although there may be other better rods out there if you need something in this price range, this is a solid buy without a doubt.
In need of the right ice fishing rod to buy? Then you have to check out this nifty little rod that packs a punch in the ice fishing scene. This rod has a durable finish that makes it long-lasting. You can expect it to last for several ice fishing seasons, making it such a good value for the price.
The blanks are crafted from 100 percent fiberglass, so not only are they sturdy but they look great, too. There are handles made of cork for comfort and grip, and the reel seat is graphite for optimum durability. We also like the inserts and guides that are both made of stainless steel.
By looking at the price tag, you may get the impression that this ice fishing rod is just what it is – cheap. But after inspecting the features and specs, we can honestly say that this is not just another cheap rod. It works well for the purpose it serves and at a highly competitive rate that cannot be beaten.
Whether it is your first time to go ice fishing or your one of many, this ice fishing rod from Fenwick is a great choice to consider. It features a proprietary LT-X super fast spinning performance, so you don’t have to work too hard – this rod does a bulk of the job for you.
It works perfectly, and you can catch big fish with it without any problem at all. The strength factor is superb, and so is the overall feel of the rod. Considering the price point of this rod and what it actually does, it is almost impossible to get that amazing value for the price tag.
At some point, the tip seems to just a tad stiff that what we expect. But overall, we are all-praises with this rod. The construction is impressive and it is definitely solid. You would need a greater hook setting power, though, when catching a smaller fish under a pound but it works!
Lightweight and solid, this ice fishing rod should be a great addition to your collection. It features a cork handle for comfort, and there are black rings for an outstanding design. You will love how easy it is to use, so you can enjoy ice fishing more with less effort on your part.
The blank looks pretty stunning with eye-catching blue color. The tip is in orange and the wrappings for the guide are in dark blue. It is definitely one good-looking rod. With 18 inches for the length and a medium action offered, you will love how sensitive and high-performing this ice fishing rod is.
Jigging is not an issue with this rod because it gets the job done. It is also lightweight and sturdy, which is a great combo. But getting a spring bobber to use for this rod can be a bit of a challenge. Once you find the right fit, it should work like a charm, which is the best thing about it.
Sensitivity is just one of the main selling points of this ice fishing rod from Fiblink. It is solid and lightweight, so there is no unnecessary heft to this high-performance rod. The blanks are graphite, and the so is the handle portion.
There are so many things to love about this ice fishing rod. The build is solid and the style is just great. The handle offers excellent control and comfort, and we love how it is shaped for that maximum feel. Whether you need medium light, power, or heavy power for your catch, this ice fishing rod from Fiblink will not disappoint.
In terms of value for the money, the Fiblink fishing rod has a lot to give. But the rod’s spine does not seem to be in perfect alignment with the guides, although it is not at all an issue when catching fish. Otherwise, everything else looks and works great with this rod.
Don’t be deceived the name – we know it’s quite catchy! But there is nothing ugly or unattractive about this ice fishing rod at all. When it comes to performance and appearance, this rod has a lot to offer. The fiberglass and graphite combo is superb, and it is more than just looks. It works, too!
The cosmetics are quite impressive and offer a modern feel to this rod. We like the clear tip style that offers extra sensitivity and strength. You can ensure a good catch with this rod that is bound to offer the finest you can expect from a rod within its price range.
As for the guides, these are stainless steel and built with just a single piece. This eliminates any concern with inserts popping out. The EVA grips are comfortable and you can be sure to have excellent control for greater efficiency.
This list of the best ice fishing rods will never be complete without this product from 13 Fishing. It is absolutely sturdy and strong, which are qualities you want in a top-rated ice fishing rod. The cork handle is outstanding, and this enables you to have better control and eliminate slippage.
There are guides made of ALPS wire with a double diamond coating, and the blank has a flat tip for excellent sensitivity. The reel seat has that proprietary evolve engage system, which we like, as well.
When you need a high-performance ice fishing rod that truly works, this ice fishing rod eliminates any worries or concerns. It gets the job done and is great for the price. The paint on the top tends to flake off over time but other than that, everything else is perfect about this rod.
Buying Guide on How to Find the Best Ice Fishing Rods
Ice anglers can do away with a medium-action, 28-inch jigging rod.
But with an extensive selection of ice fishing rods today, making a choice on buying just one can be a tough ordeal. You can make it easier by simply eliminating the features you don’t need, but the question is, what exactly should you look for in the best ice fishing rods?
Let’s take a look at must-have features of an ice fishing rod to buy, so you will know the ones you don’t need and deserve in your ice fishing gear and tool chest.
1. Consider the fish species you are attempting to catch.
Before you buy an ice fishing rod, be sure you have the species in mind first. Your rod’s power depends on how big, small, light, or heavy the fish is. This is how you can have a better gauge of the rod power.
As for power, you can find heavy, medium, light, and ultra-light. This is why you want to make sure that you match the power with the species of the fish. If you are shooting for panfish, ultralight is perfect. But a lake trout or pike would require heavy rods to hold their heavy build strength.
2. Think about your preferred fishing action.
After determining the fish species local in that area you are going, the next thing to consider is the application. What baits or lures are you fishing with and what techniques are you applying?
Spooning lake trouts and swim-baiting walleyes… These all would need different rods for you to actually make a solid catch. This is why whether you are bass fishing or doing ice fishing, the same approach is largely applicable. It is quite like having different golf clubs to use in certain conditions.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all when it comes to ice fishing rods.
3. Study the rod action and how it affects the fishing process.
The action impacts how you can effectively play that fish and present your lure well. It is best that you steer clear of slow-action blanks due to the lack of sensitivity in detecting light strikes. As for a fast action rod, it flexes at the tip while medium action is at the blank’s middle portion.
When it comes to optimum strength and sensitivity, it is always a better option to go for fast or medium action for the rod.
Light hits are expected from rods that are ultra fast or fast action. The tips are limber and the blanks can only bend slightly. This is why strength can be expected from these rods. The sturdy backbone also lets you muscle a massive and heavy fish.
When you are trying to catch most fish species, or perhaps you are jigging, you can get away with a fast action rod made of graphite. But if you are finesse jigging or deadsticking, you would need a medium-action rod. The bend is just right, which softens those nasty jarring movements. It also helps absorb shock when you have hooksets that are a bit on the overexuberant side.
To test how well the rod performs, simply take a handle using one hand and hold the tip in another. Then, don’t forget to bend the rod slightly to determine its performance. Just try a few rods to help you create a shortlist of the ones you are thinking of getting.
4. Consider the blank materials.
When it comes to the rod blank, you have two options for the material to consider – fiberglass or graphite. But what is the difference between the two? And which one should you choose?
In terms of price, the graphite costs more. But you can expect the blank to be more sensitive and lighter. If you want something that is even more sensitive, then you should opt for the solid graphite blank. It offers a higher level of sensitivity than composite or tubular blanks.
For optimum speed, you will love graphite blanks with sensitive tips. You can get the stiffness you need combined with a limber tip, which is perfect for shy biters.
But if you choose fiberglass, the sensitivity will be a bit less than what you can get from a graphite one. Higher-end fiberglass, however, should work just fine. They tend to bend better right along the blank, which means the hooksets are smoother. When it comes to durability, fiberglass reigns supreme in this department.
Unfortunately, graphite tends to be more fragile when exposed in a sub-zero environment. This is why if you prefer to fish in such kind of temps, you should definitely opt for fiberglass.
5. Think about the length of the rod.
Once again, the fishing conditions impact your choice of a fishing rod and how long it should be. We do recommend that you buy a longer rod as it is more forgiving than shorter ones. This can also work with hard hooksets, and they absorb headshakes well. This is why when you are fighting fish, you will get more leverage when your rod is longer.
The downside? It can be tough to fish when you are in closed quarters.
Ice Fishing Rods: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do I need to know about the eye quality or rod guides?
A: Most rod buyers tend to overlook the importance of the eyes or the guides. Basically, you want to have more eyes or more guides, which means the rod bend is more uniform. Shock absorption is also enhanced, as well as the overall performance of the rod.
We recommend that you get a rod with a minimum of four guides. For maximum performance, five to six guides are even better.
Q: How does the eye diameter impact the rod’s performance?
A: When you want to have an easier time cleaning the ice and get it out of the line and eyes, you need to look for a larger diameter for the ice. This helps ice-beaded lines to quickly pass through more efficiently than when the eyes are smaller.
The larger the eyes, the easier it is when you drop baits and reel up regularly. We also advise that you look for a double-footed eye when you are attempting to catch a bigger fish or you are jigging heavy baits. The same holds true when you are spin casting or baitcasting.
Q: What is the best material for an ice fishing rod handle?
A: The handle varies in terms of the material used. Plastic and foam are cheaper options but they are not very sensitive. This is why we prefer cork since it is capable of conducting vibrations coming from the blank. Cork is also warm enough, so you can expect greater sensitivity and comfort at the same time.
If you want an even better sensitivity, you need rods with a blank that reaches through the handle. If it stops halfway, vibrations are often not transmitted, which makes the rod not as sensitive.
Final Thoughts on Buying an Ice Fishing Rod
There are indeed so many options for the best ice fishing rods but one thing is certain – they are not created equally.
So after checking out your best options from this list and learning more about the features to consider, you are now more prepared to buy your very own ice fishing rod that will give you a great ice angling experience with the least amount of effort.