Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Rods Reviewed

Best Ice Fishing Rods

As winter arrives, numerous anglers are eager to embrace the cold weather and venture into the world of ice fishing. However, it is crucial to possess the appropriate equipment in order to fully enjoy the ice fishing season.

Conducting research on these ice rods has been an exhilarating experience. I have had the opportunity to personally test each rod and gather feedback from fellow anglers on my team. After dedicating 17 hours to thorough research, we have collectively determined that these ten ice rods stand out as the best options. Our evaluation was based on factors such as length, stiffness, and weight, ensuring that only the top-performing rods made it to our final selection.


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CHECK OUT OUR EDITOR’S CHOICE

Our top pick for the best overall ice fishing rod is the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo. This rod and reel combo is perfect for anglers who want a high-quality, durable, and user-friendly ice fishing rod. Weighing just 0.6 pounds, it features a comfortable cork handle and has a light-action design. Despite its small and lightweight build, the carbon blank construction provides incredible strength, ensuring durability and control when landing fish. The Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo is an excellent choice for ice fishing enthusiasts seeking a reliable and easy-to-use rod for their icy adventures.

Regardless of whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, selecting the right ice fishing rod can greatly impact your success during the ice fishing season. In this review, we will delve into the details of some of the leading ice fishing rods available in the market. By comparing their features, performance, and value, our aim is to assist you in finding the ideal ice rod that meets your specific requirements and enhances your ice fishing endeavors.

QUICK OVERVIEW

Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Rods

PRODUCTS
FEATURES
ūüŹÜ EDITOR‚ÄôS PICK
  • Length: 3 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
at Amazon
‚̧ԳŹ Most Reviewed
  • Length: 3 ft
  • Power: Medium
  • Blank: Toray Graphite
at Amazon
ūüĎć TOP PICK
  • Length: 2 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Graphite
at Amazon
‚ėÖ BUDGET PICK
  • Length: 2.1 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: E-Glass Carbon Composite
at Amazon
‚ėÖ BUDGET PICK
  • Length: 2.2 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Composite
at Amazon
‚ėÖ BUDGET PICK
  • Length: 2 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Fiberglass
at Amazon
‚ėÖ BUDGET PICK
  • Length: 2.6 ft
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Blank: Fiberglass
at Amazon
‚ėÖ BUDGET PICK
  • Length: 2 ft
  • Power: Medium Light
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
at Amazon
‚ėÖ BUDGET PICK
  • Length: 2.1 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
at Amazon
‚ėÖ BUDGET PICK
  • Length: 2.4 ft
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
at Amazon


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OUR EDITOR’S Pick
Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo
  • Durable Aluminum Body
  • Versatile Sling Mounts
  • Inline Bolt System

1. Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo

Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo
Features:
  • Length:¬†3 ft
  • Power:¬†Light
  • Blank:¬†Carbon Fiber
  • Handle:¬†Cork
  • Weight:¬†0.6 pounds

Let’s start with the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo ice fishing rod and reel. This combo offers an appealing design with a cork handle and a reel ratio of 2.6:1, providing a smooth and effortless drag.

The rod itself measures 3 feet in length and features a light-action carbon fiber construction. This shorter length enhances sensitivity and control, making it ideal for fishing in deeper waters. The increased sensitivity is particularly advantageous when targeting panfish with subtle bites, allowing for better hook sets.

While primarily intended for panfish such as crappie, walleye, and bluegill, this rod, when paired with the right line, can handle medium-sized fish as well.

The carbon fiber construction of the rod adds exceptional strength, while the aluminum guides help reduce weight.

The Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo ice fishing rod stands out as a versatile and well-rounded option. It is reasonably priced, comfortable to use, and the light action enhances the feel of bites, increasing the excitement of the fight.

If you’re searching for a rod and reel combo that will bring a smile to your face throughout your ice fishing adventures, the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo is undoubtedly the best ice fishing rod for you.

2. 13 Fishing Widow Maker

13 Fishing Widow Maker
Features:
  • Length:¬†3 ft
  • Power:¬†Medium
  • Blank:¬†Toray Graphite
  • Handle:¬†Cork + Plastic
  • Weight:¬†0.1 pounds

Moving on, we have the 13 Fishing Widow Maker, a medium-action ice fishing rod that offers remarkable versatility, suitable for targeting a range of species from perch to lake trout.

This rod measures 3 feet in length and boasts an incredibly lightweight design, weighing a mere 0.1 pounds. The combination of its length and ultra-lightweight construction ensures that setting the hook is effortless with a simple lift of the tip. The Widow Maker is crafted using Toray Graphite, a high-quality carbon fiber material known for its exceptional performance in constructing top-tier rods and aerospace components. The comfortable cork handle is complemented by a lightweight plastic reel holder, enhancing the overall weight distribution and ensuring a comfortable grip.

Despite being classified as a medium rod, the Widow Maker features an extra-sensitive tip that mimics the feel of an ultra-light rod. If you derive pleasure from catching large fish using ultra-light rods, look no further. Investing a little more for the 13 Fishing Widow Maker is well worth it. This ice-fishing rod stands as the best medium-power option on our list, making it an ideal choice for those targeting big games during the winter season.

Whether you’re pursuing pike or lake trout, the Widow Maker significantly increases your chances of landing these magnificent monsters. Consider the 13 Fishing Widow Maker as your ultimate choice, and you won’t be disappointed.

3. St Croix Legend Black Ice

St Croix Legend Black Ice
Features:
  • Length:¬†2 ft
  • Power:¬†Light
  • Blank:¬†Graphite
  • Handle:¬†‚ÄéEVA Foam
  • Weight:¬†0.3 pounds

Coming in at number 3, we have the highly acclaimed St. Croix Legend Black Ice, a renowned ice fishing rod that has won the hearts of many anglers. This rod is specifically designed for targeting panfish such as perch, crappie, and bluegill, but it can also handle species like walleye with ease.

The Legend Black Ice stands out as an exceptional ice fishing rod, offering superb sensitivity and innovative features. Constructed with a graphite blank and an EVA handle, this rod utilizes lightweight materials that enhance sensitivity, allowing you to detect even the slightest of bites. It falls under the “light power” category, which adds an element of fun and increased action to your fishing experience when targeting your favorite species.

With an overall length of 2 feet and a weight of 0.30 pounds, this shorter rod provides enhanced jigging capabilities and improved maneuverability within an ice tent. While not the lightest option on the list, its added strength guarantees stability and durability. The high-quality components, including Fuji guides and reel seats, further contribute to its overall performance and ensure a successful fishing outing.

What sets the St. Croix Legend Black Ice apart from other rods on our list is the inclusion of a high-tension Stainless Steel Strike Indicator. This unique black coil spring indicator offers unparalleled sensitivity, making it easier than ever to detect and land bites with precision.

If you have the extra funds to spare, the St. Croix Legend Black Ice Fishing Rod is well worth the investment. While it is the highest-priced option on our list, priced at $80, the performance and features it offers justify its cost. However, if you’re looking to save a few bucks, no worries, as we have six other ice fishing rods on our list priced below $70!

4. Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod

Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod
Features:
  • Length:¬†2.1 ft¬†
  • Power:¬†Light
  • Blank:¬†E-Glass Carbon Composite
  • Handle:¬†Stainless-Steel
  • Weight:¬†0.3 pounds

Coming in at number 4 is the Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod, a compact and lightweight fishing rod specifically designed for ice fishing. With its light action and 2.1-foot length, this rod is ideal for targeting panfish species such as crappie, bluegill, and perch. The shorter length provides improved maneuverability and enhanced control, allowing for precise and accurate movements. Weighing just 0.3 pounds, this lightweight rod offers the advantage of quick hook sets, enabling faster reactions to bites.

The Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod is constructed with a durable e-glass carbon composite blank, combining strength and sensitivity. It features stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts, which reduce friction and promote smooth line movement. The rod also boasts a comfortable EVA handle that ensures a firm grip, even in icy and snowy conditions.

One of the standout features of this rod is its portability. It conveniently breaks down into three pieces, making it easy to transport and store. Additionally, it comes with a sturdy carrying case that provides protection during transportation and storage, ensuring the rod remains in excellent condition.

Another notable aspect of the Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod is its affordable price. Priced at $19.99, it is our best budget buy and the most economical option on our list. For panfish anglers seeking a cost-effective ice fishing rod, this rod is certainly worth considering as it offers great value for the price.

5. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
Features:
  • Length:¬†2.2 ft¬†
  • Power:¬†Light
  • Blank:¬†Composite
  • Handle:¬†EVA Foam
  • Weight:¬†0.5 pounds

Coming in at number 5, we have the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 ice fishing rod, a popular choice among anglers. Specifically designed for ice fishing, this rod is suitable for various fish species, including panfish, trout, and walleye. With a length of 2.2 feet and a weight of 0.5 pounds, this rod offers optimal control and jigging capabilities. Its compact size also allows for easy maneuvering in confined spaces, such as ice huts.

The Ugly Stik GX2 ice fishing rod features a clear tip design, renowned for its excellent sensitivity and responsiveness to even the lightest bites. This iconic feature of Ugly Stiks adds a playful element to the rod and has made it a fan favorite. The rod is constructed with a durable graphite and fiberglass blank, ensuring its ability to withstand any conditions on the ice.

Equipped with steel guides designed to prevent ice buildup, the Ugly Stik GX2 ice fishing rod ensures smooth line movement throughout your fishing experience. The rod also features an EVA handle, providing a comfortable and secure grip even when your hands are wet from handling the ice.

Lastly, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is an excellent choice for anglers seeking both durability and sensitivity. The extra flexibility of this rod enhances the fight with fish, and you can trust that it won’t snap no matter how far it bends. If you’re looking for a combination of durability, sensitivity, and performance, the Ugly Stik GX2 is the perfect package to meet your ice fishing needs.

6. Berkley Cherrywood HD

Berkley Cherrywood HD
Features:
  • Length:¬†2 ft¬†
  • Power:¬†Light
  • Blank:¬†Fiberglass
  • Handle:¬†Cork
  • Weight:¬†0.2 pounds

Moving on, we have the Berkley Cherrywood Ice Fishing rod, known for its lightweight, sensitivity, and durability. This rod is capable of handling both panfish and medium-sized fish with ease. Constructed with a fiberglass blank, it strikes a balance between being lightweight and strong, making it suitable for a wide range of fish species.

Designed with angler comfort in mind, the Berkley Cherrywood Ice Fishing rod features a cork handle that provides a comfortable grip during extended fishing sessions. The stainless steel guides on the rod prevent ice buildup, ensuring smooth line movement even in freezing conditions. With a weight of 0.2 pounds and a length of 2 feet, this rod is specifically designed for jigging techniques, allowing for precise control and maneuverability.

What sets the Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice apart is that it comes as a combo with a spinning reel included. This makes it one of the three combo options on our list, alongside the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo and the Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod. Being a combo, it offers convenience as it comes ready to fish with the rod, reel, and line already spooled up. Additionally, the Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice combo stands out as the lightest option on our list.

Not only does this combo provide excellent performance, but it also comes at a reasonable price, making it one of the more affordable options available. If you’re looking for a lightweight, versatile, and budget-friendly ice fishing combo, the Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice is an excellent choice.

7. Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod

Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod
Features:
  • Length:¬†2.6 ft
  • Power:¬†Medium Heavy
  • Blank:¬†Fiberglass
  • Handle:¬†Cork
  • Weight:¬†0.2 pounds

Next on our list is the Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod, a product from the reputable fishing gear brand, Shakespeare. Known for their performance-driven fishing equipment, Shakespeare delivers with the Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod.

Designed to be lightweight yet durable, the Shakespeare Wild Series Ice features a fiberglass blank that provides strength and flexibility. The stainless steel guides on the rod are resistant to ice buildup, ensuring smooth line movement even in freezing conditions. The cork handle offers a comfortable and secure grip, allowing for extended fishing sessions without discomfort.

Weighing in at 0.2 pounds and with a length of 2.6 feet, this rod and reel combo strikes a balance between control and portability. Its medium-heavy power rating makes it suitable for targeting medium-sized fish species like walleye and trout. The added length provides increased leverage for better hook setting and enhanced sensitivity, improving your chances of detecting even the lightest bites.

The combination of the durable rod, reliable reel, and sturdy steel guides allows you to handle larger fish such as lake trout and muskie with confidence. If you’re in search of a robust medium-heavy ice fishing rod, the Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod is a great option to consider.

8. St Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod

St Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod
Features:
  • Length:¬†2 ft
  • Power:¬†Medium Light
  • Blank:¬†Carbon¬†Fiber
  • Handle:¬†EVA Foam
  • Weight:¬†0.2 pounds


Taking the eighth spot on our list is the St. Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod, a highly regarded rod produced by St. Croix. Renowned for their exceptional performance and sensitivity, St. Croix delivers once again with the Mojo Ice Fishing Rod.

The St. Croix Mojo Ice features a high-quality carbon blank that strikes a perfect balance between lightweight design and impressive strength. With its fast action, this rod allows for quick and effortless hook sets, while the sensitive tip ensures that even the subtlest bites are easily detected.

Designed with angler comfort in mind, the rod boasts a comfortable EVA split grip handle that provides a secure and ergonomic grip. The rod also incorporates specialized features such as stainless steel guides and a precision-taper solid carbon blank. These features enhance the rod’s overall strength and flexibility, resulting in one of the most sensitive rods on our list.

Measuring 2 feet in length and weighing a mere 0.2 pounds, this medium-light rod is ideal for use in confined areas such as inside an ice hut. Its shorter length and impressive action make it perfect for targeting fish in the 2-5 pound range, including species like walleye, panfish, and rainbow trout. Prepare yourself for an exhilarating fishing adventure with the St. Croix Mojo Ice, the best ice fishing rod in the medium-light category.

9. Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod

Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod
Features:
  • Length:¬†2.1 ft
  • Power:¬†Light
  • Blank:¬†Carbon Fiber
  • Handle:¬†EVA Foam
  • Weight:¬†0.1 pounds

The Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod is a top-notch choice for ice anglers seeking a high-quality and versatile rod. Crafted with a carbon blank, this rod offers a perfect combination of strength and lightweight design. The stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts further enhance its performance by reducing friction and preventing ice buildup.

Featuring a comfortable EVA handle, the Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod ensures a secure grip even in challenging conditions. The adjustable reel seat adds to the rod’s convenience, allowing you to position your reel for optimal comfort and efficiency.

With a length of 2.1 feet and weighing only 0.1 pounds, this rod excels in maneuverability and portability. Its light action is well-suited for targeting panfish and medium-sized fish such as walleye.

Overall, the Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod delivers exceptional performance and versatility. Whether you’re pursuing panfish or medium game fish, this rod will provide the reliability and capability needed to excel on the ice.

10. Fenwick HMG

Fenwick HMG
Features:
  • Length:¬†2.4 ft
  • Power:¬†Medium Heavy
  • Blank:¬†Carbon Fiber
  • Handle:¬†Cork
  • Weight:¬†0.4 pounds

Wrapping up our list at number 10 is the Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Rod, a top-tier pole that offers exceptional performance on the ice. Similar to the Abu Garcia Vendetta, the HMG features a high-quality carbon blank that combines strength and lightweight design. The stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts contribute to reduced friction, enhancing its overall performance.

The Fenwick HMG stands out with its ergonomic handle, crafted from high-quality cork, which ensures a comfortable and secure grip. The adjustable reel seat allows you to position your reel for optimal comfort and functionality.

With a weight of 0.4 pounds and a length of 2.4 feet, the Fenwick HMG is rated as a medium-heavy pole, making it suitable for targeting a wide range of fish species, from panfish to lake trout. The mid-length design strikes a balance between hook-setting ability and portability. Priced at $36, this rod is a fantastic choice that will complement any ice angler’s arsenal.

In conclusion, the Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Rod delivers outstanding performance and versatility on the ice. Its robust construction, ergonomic handle, and medium-heavy rating make it a reliable and practical choice for anglers seeking success in their ice fishing endeavors.

Choosing an Ice Fishing Rod: What to Look Out For

Once you start looking at ice fishing rods, you’ll notice there is quite a lot of information to gather. Luckily for you, we’ve selected the most critical information to explain further.

Species


When selecting an ice fishing rod, it is crucial to take into account the type of fish you intend to catch. Each species exhibits distinct behaviors, necessitating different fishing techniques and corresponding rod sizes.

By considering the specific species you are targeting, you can gather pertinent information that will assist you in choosing the appropriate rod strength, sensitivity, and action tailored to their requirements.

For instance, if your aim is to catch crappie, an ideal rod would fall within the range of 2 to 2.6 feet and possess a light or ultra-light action. On the other hand, if you are pursuing lake trout, you would require a 3 to 4 foot rod with medium-heavy action.

Length

Ice fishing rods are available in various lengths, typically spanning from approximately 24 to 48 inches. Shorter rods are preferable for jigging and fishing in shallow waters, whereas longer rods are more suitable for deeper waters and situations where you need to set the hook from a distance.

When utilizing a short ice fishing rod to set the hook, you will employ a looping hook set technique. However, if you opt for longer fishing rods, all it takes is a straightforward upward motion of the tip. Therefore, it is essential to select the appropriate length that aligns with your fishing style.

Power (Strength)

The strength of the rod refers to its capacity to handle varying weight ranges of lures and fish. Generally, a medium or medium-light power (strength) rod is recommended for ice fishing, as it offers versatility to tackle most targeted species.

Nevertheless, if your intention is to catch larger fish like muskies or pike, it is advisable to acquire a medium-heavy to heavy strength rod capable of withstanding the power exerted by these sizeable fish.

Action

The action of a rod refers to the extent of its bend when pressure is applied. Fishing rods are available in various action types, including slow, moderate, moderate-fast, fast, and extra-fast.

Rods with higher sensitivity offer more play and action, allowing you to perceive every movement from the fish. Conversely, slower action fishing rods provide increased stiffness and strength, making them suitable for handling larger fish.

Before making your final purchase, take into consideration the type of fish you intend to target.

Please note that throughout this article, I have used the terms “action” and “power” interchangeably, as that is commonly used in angler terminology. Strictly speaking, “action” refers to sensitivity, but I apologize for any confusion caused as it is difficult for me to deviate from my natural instincts. Kindly keep in mind that when I mention “action,” I actually mean “rod power.”

Blank Material

The rod blank serves as the foundational component to which all other parts of the rod, such as the handle, reel seat, guides, and tip, are attached. The quality of the blank plays a crucial role in determining the overall performance of the ice fishing rod.

A high-quality blank offers a balance of strength, flexibility, and sensitivity. It allows you to detect even the most subtle nibbles from fish while still being capable of handling the weight and pressure exerted by larger fish without the risk of the rod snapping or breaking.

When choosing an ice fishing rod, it is vital to consider the quality and characteristics of the blank, as well as the other components. This ensures that you acquire a rod that fulfills your needs and delivers excellent performance on the ice.

Guides


Guides play a vital role in the construction of an ice fishing rod as they assist in managing the line and distributing the stress and weight of the fish across the rod. These guides are small metal rings or loops positioned along the length of the rod, with the thickest guide, known as the stripper guide, located nearest to the rod tip.

The main purpose of guides is to facilitate the smooth movement of the line through the rod, minimizing friction and preventing entanglement or knotting. This feature enables more precise casting and enhances control over the lure or bait.

Final Verdict

Selecting the correct ice fishing rod can greatly impact your fishing experience. It is important to consider factors like length, power, action, and blank material when choosing a rod. Additionally, investing in a high-quality rod can enhance your chances of success and make your time on the ice more enjoyable.

If you find yourself indecisive and in need of some extra guidance, I have the perfect solution for you. The Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo ice fishing rod and reel is an exceptional option suitable for a wide range of anglers. Its carbon blank and cork handle offer versatility, lightness, and strength. Furthermore, the graphite reel that accompanies the combo makes it a “ready-to-fish” package, saving you time searching for additional products. This rod provides an exhilarating experience when catching fish, and I assure you that you’ll feel every bite near your line.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, finding the right ice fishing rod is vital for a successful day on the ice. As you brave the cold weather, take your time, conduct thorough research, and discover the perfect ice fishing rod that suits your needs.

In case you require other fishing gear, we have you covered as well. Our compilation includes everything from ice fishing reels to ice fishing fish finders for your ice fishing tackle needs. If you are in need of fishing gear in general, we have an extensive list available.