Top 9 Best Ice Fishing Reels Reviewed

Best Ice Fishing Reels

When it comes to ice fishing, selecting the right reel is crucial for optimal performance in the harsh and cold conditions. You need a reel that can withstand freezing temperatures and thaw out quickly when needed. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of nine top-notch spinning and inline reels that excel in ice fishing scenarios.

Among these reels, the Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel stands out as a remarkable option. It offers the unique advantage of serving as both an inline and spinning reel, combining the best features of both types. This heavy-duty reel is designed to tackle the challenges of ice fishing and deliver exceptional performance.

While the Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel may have a higher price point, we understand that budget considerations are important. Therefore, we have also included eight other reels that are more affordable, providing you with a range of options to choose from.



Top 9 Best Ice Fishing Reels

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6.6-17.6 pounds
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  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.1:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 11 pounds
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  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 17.5 pounds
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  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 12 pounds
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  • Ball Bearings: 1+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 15 pounds
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  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6 pounds
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  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Gear Ratio: 2.5:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6.6 pounds
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  • Ball Bearings: 6/7+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-6500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.0:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 3.5 pounds
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Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning

Best Ice Fishing Reels


Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning
  • Durable Aluminum Body
  • Versatile Sling Mounts
  • Inline Bolt System

1. Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning

Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6.6-17.6 pounds

The Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel is truly an exceptional choice for ice fishing. What sets it apart is its versatility, as it can function as both a spinning reel and an inline reel. This dual functionality provides anglers with added convenience and adaptability on the ice.

One of the key features of the Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel is its baitfeeding system. This innovative system allows the spinning reel spool to disengage, enabling the bait to swim freely. This unique characteristic also allows it to function like an inline reel, providing anglers with a free spool experience.

In addition to its versatile design, this reel incorporates the Even Flow Roller (EFR) System. This system significantly reduces line twists by enabling the line roller to roll freely without causing friction. The result is a smoother and more efficient fishing experience.

The Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel further impresses with its 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings, ensuring exceptional smoothness in operation. The use of corrosion-resistant graphite for the body and rotor enhances its durability and ability to withstand the rigors of ice fishing in cold temperatures.

Although the Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel may come at a slightly higher price point, its exceptional versatility and performance make it well worth the investment.

2. KastKing Royale Legend II Spinning

KastKing Royale Legend II Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.1:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 11 pounds

The KastKing Royale Legend II Spinning Reel is specifically designed for ice fishing, offering features that enhance your ice fishing trip. Additionally, it stands out as the lightest ice fishing reel available.

The high gloss finish serves to dry water and reduce ice buildup within the reel.

The reel is equipped with a large handle and an extra-long reel foot stem, which are optimized for handling with heavy ice fishing gloves. The oversized handle provides an easier grip with thick gloves, while the extended reel foot stem ensures that the rotor won’t be obstructed when reeling in fish with bulky ice gloves.

The stainless steel ball bearings are shielded to prevent water and ice from causing rust or corrosion.

With a weight of just 5.8 ounces, this reel is remarkably lightweight.

Priced under 30 dollars, the KastKing Royale Legend II offers exceptional value. If you’re in search of an incredibly lightweight reel that performs exceptionally in cold conditions, look no further.

3. KastKing Centron Spinning

KastKing Centron Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 17.5 pounds

The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel is a robust option for ice fishing, offering exceptional smoothness and power.

With its 9+1 ball bearings, this reel delivers an impressive level of smooth operation that is hard to match.

Additionally, the reel boasts a maximum drag of 17.5 pounds, ensuring that even the largest fish lurking beneath the ice won’t pose a challenge.

One notable feature is the handle, which can be easily switched to accommodate both left-handed and right-handed anglers.

If you’re in search of a reel that combines remarkable smoothness and durability to tackle any fish encountered during ice fishing, the KastKing Centron is the perfect choice.

4. Piscifun ICX II Spinning

Piscifun ICX II Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 12 pounds

The Piscifun ICX II Spinning Reel is a remarkable choice for ice fishing enthusiasts on a budget, offering both affordability and durability.

One notable feature of this reel is the folding handle, which allows for convenient storage when not in use.

Similar to the KastKing Royale Legend II, the extended stem of the Piscifun ICX II ensures easy handling even with thick ice gloves. Additionally, the water-resistant and aluminum spool enhances its durability, making it capable of withstanding harsh winter conditions.

Despite its budget-friendly price, this reel delivers reliable performance and is an excellent option for ice fishing.

5. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo
  • Ball Bearings: 1+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 15 pounds

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo is an excellent rod and reel combination specifically designed for ice fishing.

One remarkable feature of Ugly Stik rods, including this one, is their renowned indestructibility. This is achieved through their unique Ugly Tech Construction, which ensures exceptional durability. Additionally, the rod is equipped with Ugly Stik’s Clear Tip Design, providing superior sensitivity for detecting even the subtlest of bites.

The reel included in this combo is equally impressive, boasting a powerful 15-pound drag capacity.

When it comes to ice fishing, having reliable and robust gear is crucial, and the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo delivers exactly that.

6. Pflueger Monarch Ice Spinning

Pflueger Monarch Ice Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6 pounds

Concluding our selection of spinning reels, the Pflueger Monarch Ice Spinning Reel stands as a versatile option that excels in various areas.

In terms of durability, this reel showcases stainless steel ball bearings that are specifically designed to resist corrosion, ensuring a longer lifespan.

When it comes to weight, both the reel body and rotor are constructed from lightweight graphite material, providing a featherlight feel during use.

While the 4+1 ball bearings may not match the quantity of the KastKing Centron, they are of superior quality, resulting in a reel that still offers above-average smoothness.

Although it may not claim the title of being the smoothest, lightest, or sturdiest reel, the Pflueger Monarch Ice Spinning Reel performs admirably in all areas. If you desire a well-rounded reel for your ice fishing endeavors, this is an excellent choice.

7. 13 Fishing FreeFall Ghost Inline

13 Fishing FreeFall Ghost Inline
  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Gear Ratio: 2.5:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6.6 pounds

The 13 Fishing FreeFall Ghost, an inline ice fishing reel that embodies all the desirable qualities one could ask for. This remarkable reel is designed for effortless one-handed operation, making it highly convenient on the ice. Additionally, it offers precise control over the descent speed and depth of your lure, allowing for accurate and controlled presentations.

In terms of weight, the FreeFall Ghost is incredibly lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 6.6 ounces. This impressive lightness is achieved through its construction with lightweight graphite materials.

To further enhance its ice fishing capabilities, this reel boasts a gear ratio of 2.5:1, which is perfectly suited for ice fishing applications ranging from 5 to 50 feet.

When it comes to inline reels for ice fishing, the 13 Fishing FreeFall Ghost stands head and shoulders above the competition. Its usability, lightweight design, precise control, and optimal gear ratio make it a top choice for ice anglers.

8. Piscifun ICX Frost Inline

Piscifun ICX Frost Inline
  • Ball Bearings: 6/7+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-6500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6.6-35.3 pounds
  • Weight: 6.0-20.7 ounces

The Piscifun ICX Frost Inline Reel, a reel that excels in both smoothness and strength, making it a top choice for ice anglers.

With a remarkable 7+1 ball bearing system, this reel delivers an exceptionally smooth operation that is sure to enhance your ice fishing experience. Each ball bearing has undergone a metal oxidation process, providing increased resistance to rust and ice accumulation, ensuring long-lasting performance.

Not only does the ICX Frost offer outstanding smoothness, but it also boasts impressive strength. With a maximum drag capacity of 12 pounds, this reel has the power to handle challenging fights with larger fish species.

Whether you’re seeking a reel that offers ease of use, as provided by the FreeFall Ghost, or prioritizing the smoothest and strongest inline reel, the Piscifun ICX Frost is an excellent choice. Its combination of smooth operation, durability, and remarkable strength make it a reliable companion on the ice.

9. Pflueger Trion Inline

Pflueger Trion Inline
  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 3.5 pounds

The Pflueger Trion Inline Reel, the epitome of durability when it comes to ice fishing reels.

One standout feature of this reel is its cold gear lube, specifically designed to repel ice and water. With this innovative feature, the risk of your reel freezing up is greatly minimized. It ensures that your reel remains functional even in the harshest icy conditions.

The exceptional toughness of the Pflueger Trion sets it apart from other inline reels on the market. Its ability to shed ice and water efficiently adds an extra layer of durability and reliability, making it the ideal choice for anglers seeking a reel that can withstand the challenges of ice fishing.

If durability is a top priority for you, the Pflueger Trion Inline Reel is a prime candidate that won’t disappoint.

How To Pick The Right Ice Fishing Reel

When it comes to ice fishing reels, there are a few extra considerations as compared to normal reels. Here are the factors you need to consider when picking your ice fishing reel.

Ball Bearings

The smoothness of a reel is closely tied to the number of ball bearings it possesses. The greater the number of ball bearings, the smoother the operation of the reel.

Typically, a reel with 5+1 ball bearings provides a satisfactory level of smoothness. This configuration strikes a balance between performance and practicality, delivering a smooth reel experience. Additional ball bearings beyond 5+1 contribute only marginal gains in terms of smoothness. Thus, 5+1 is considered the optimal number for achieving a smooth reel operation.

However, it’s important to note that the quality of the ball bearings also plays a crucial role. A few high-quality ball bearings can outperform numerous low-quality ones. Hence, it is advisable to prioritize the quality of the ball bearings rather than focusing solely on quantity.

Drag System

When it comes to setting the drag on your reel, a general guideline is to aim for 1/3 or 1/4 of your fishing line’s pound test. For example, if you are using a 12-pound fishing line, your drag should be set at around 3 or 4 pounds.

In the case of ice fishing, you typically won’t require as much drag compared to other fishing methods. Based on my personal experience spanning 20 years, I have found that a maximum drag of 15 pounds is usually sufficient, particularly when targeting prize fish. It’s important to note that I was unable to find specific data online regarding ice fishing drag settings, so this recommendation is solely based on my own fishing experience.

In most situations, you won’t encounter fish that necessitate more than 8 pounds of drag. However, keep in mind that individual fishing conditions and fish species may vary, so it’s always a good idea to adjust your drag accordingly for optimal performance.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio refers to the number of times the spool rotates for each turn of the handle on a fishing reel. It is represented as a numerical ratio, such as 5.2:1, where the first number indicates the spool rotations and the second number represents the handle rotations.

A higher gear ratio means that the spool will rotate more times for each turn of the handle, resulting in a faster retrieve. Conversely, a lower gear ratio will provide a slower retrieve, as the spool rotates fewer times for each handle rotation.

When choosing the ideal gear ratio for your ice fishing reel, it’s important to consider the size of the fish you are targeting and the type of lures you will be using. Slower gear ratios, such as 4:1, are often preferred for smaller fish or when using slower-moving lures. On the other hand, faster gear ratios like 6:1 are more suitable for larger fish or when using lures that require a faster retrieve.

For a versatile ice fishing reel that can handle a range of lure speeds, a gear ratio of 5:1 is recommended. This provides a balanced retrieve speed that can accommodate both faster and slower lures effectively.


When it comes to ice fishing, the thickness of the reel handle is an important consideration. Unlike other fishing methods, ice fishing often requires anglers to wear gloves to protect their hands from the cold.

Wearing gloves can make it more challenging to maintain a secure grip on a thin reel handle. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a reel with a thicker and larger handle. A larger handle provides more surface area for your hand to hold onto, even when wearing gloves. This ensures that you can maintain a firm grip and have better control over your reel while ice fishing.

By selecting a reel with a thicker and bigger handle, you can enhance your fishing experience and avoid any potential difficulties caused by wearing gloves in cold weather.

Anti-Ice System

Fishing in extremely cold conditions during ice fishing can lead to the freezing of your reel and the accumulation of ice on or inside it. To combat this issue, it is beneficial to have a reel that incorporates features to reduce the amount of ice buildup.

An excellent example of such a feature is the cold gear lubricant found in the Pflueger Trion reel. This specialized lubricant is designed to help shed ice and water more effectively, preventing them from accumulating and causing freezing issues. By utilizing a reel with this cold gear lubricant, you can ensure that your reel remains functional and free from ice-related complications during your ice fishing adventures.

Spinning VS Inline Fishing Reels

Some anglers who regularly engage in ice fishing have developed a preference for using inline reels, while others opt for spinning reels. Both types of reels have their advantages and suit different fishing styles and preferences. Here are some reasons to consider using each type:

Reasons to use spinning reels:

  • Better suited for live bait fishing techniques.
  • Typically equipped with a stronger drag system, providing greater control when battling larger fish.
  • Often more affordable compared to inline reels.
  • Generally easier to use, especially for beginners.
  • More versatile and adaptable to various fishing styles and techniques.

Reasons to use inline reels:

  • Inline reels excel at reducing line twists, ensuring smoother line management during ice fishing.
  • Inline reels allow for vertical jigging and dropping lures straight down, which can be advantageous in certain fishing scenarios.
  • Particularly effective in shallow water fishing situations.
  • Inline reels tend to thaw faster in cold environments, making them more convenient for use in icy conditions.

Ultimately, the choice between a spinning reel and an inline reel for ice fishing depends on your specific preferences and fishing style. If you prioritize versatility and a wide range of fishing techniques, a spinning reel may be the better option. However, if you prefer reduced line twists, vertical jigging, and fishing in shallow waters, an inline reel could be more suitable. Here is the list of the best Ice Fishing Rods.

Final Verdict

There’s no denying the excitement of ice fishing, but it’s crucial to have reliable gear that can withstand the harsh conditions. Fortunately, all the ice reels on this list are specifically designed to perform well in frigid temperatures.

One standout option is the Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel, which offers the unique capability of functioning as both a spinning and an inline reel. This versatility sets it apart from the others.

If the Okuma Ceymar doesn’t meet your preferences, rest assured that the remaining eight top ice fishing reels on the list offer their own exceptional features and performance.