Ice Fishing is an incredibly unique experience that offers anglers the chance to catch fish in expansive bodies of water without the need of a boat. It is a time-honoured sport that requires a lot of dedication and patience, but it can also be extremely exciting and rewarding. Whatever level of ice fishing you are going to be doing, you will need to ensure you are equipped with the right gear and the most essential piece of equipment you will need, is an ice fishing rod.
When looking for an ice fishing rod, you will want to make sure it is not only tough enough to withstand frigid temperatures but that it is light enough to carry for long periods of time and easy to use. Below, we have reviewed 5 of the best ice fishing rods on the market. We have gone through their specifications, listed their pros and cons and have answered a few questions that we think you might find helpful. We have also included a short buyers guide which outlines a few of the things you will need to consider before deciding on an ice fishing rod for you.
Top 5 Best Ice Fishing Rods
OUR TOP PICK
Whether you are just starting out in the world of ice fishing or are simply looking for another pole to add to your collection, the Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning Rod would be a wonderful choice. This rod offers an impressive blend of versatility and durability, and at such a reasonable price, you will struggle to go wrong. This rod is made of 100% fibreglass blanks whilst the guides and inserts are made of stainless steel.
This combination of materials works to create a rod that Is not only incredibly strong but flexible in its bend. Despite its flexibility and lightweight construction, this rod has the ability to reel in fish of a medium-large size so would be the perfect companion to any angler who tends to target larger trout or jumbo perch.
The handle of this rod is made out of 100% cork, which is incredibly comfortable to use. The cork is designed to stay warm even in the coldest and iciest of conditions and the added sliding rings help you to get a firmer grip. It is also extremely portable and can be both easily carried and stored. It would be the perfect rod to take away with you on your travels.
Whilst the Berkley Cherrywood is one of the most affordable ice fishing rods on the market today, it does not compromise on quality or performance. If you are looking for a user-friendly, lightweight rod that simply does the job, this could be a brilliant option for you.
- Strong and durable composition
- Great value for money
- Cork handles for ultimate comfort
- Perfect for medium-sized fish
- Not great for extremely light or heavy fish types
This Fiblink ice fishing rod is one of the most sturdy, durable rods you will find on the market. Made with graphite, solid carbon fibre and stainless steel guides, this rod is one that will be sure to last you years of use. The rod also comes equipped with an aluminium alloy reel seats, corrosion-resistant aluminium hoods and a high-density EVA foam handle and foregrips for optimum comfort. Its high-quality construction has not gone unnoticed in the ice fishing community, which is why it is one of the most best-selling ice fishing rods in the industry today.
The rod offers the perfect balance of strength, balance and flexibility and has a line rating of 30-50lbs. This means it will have no issues casting in fish species of a medium-heavy weight.
Despite its ability to reel in large fish types such as tuna, and yellow fishtail, this rod is impressively sensitive and weighs just 10oz. This means that you will have no issues with its manoeuvrability and it would be another great option to take away with you on your ice fishing travels. This rod has a really strong backbone and an incredibly flexible tip meaning it is both user-friendly and high-performing. The soft, cork-like handle will make the whole experience of ice fishing just that little bit better by ensuring that you won’t have to worry about blisters or handle burns. This rod would be a fantastic option for anyone who is looking for a medium-large fish ice fishing rod at a very reasonable price.
- Comfortable to handle
- Lightweight and extremely sensitive
- Versatile and can be used for various fishing techniques
- Strong and durable
- Impressive pulling power
- Some buyers have reported issues with packaging
- 2-Piece 7' portable carbon saltwater spinning fishing rod
- Tough and strong solid carbon fiber construction for improved performance-action and increased sensitivity
- 7+1 Smooth polished line protecting corrosion proof stainless steel guides
- Aluminum alloy reel seat with corrosion resistant aluminum hoods
- High density EVA foam handle and foregrips; One year warranty
The St Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing Rod is one suitable for all levels of ice fishers. Ranging from lengths of 24-36”, these rods are renowned for their incredibly durable and weather-resistant construction. The rods are designed to work with a wide array of fish types, ranging from small panfish to large trout and perch. Along with the variety of sizes to choose from, the St Croix Mojo Series Rod is also available in a range of tension levels. With a choice of ultra-light, medium-light, medium and heavy strengths, this rod will be sure to suit a huge range of anglers.
The fixed reel seat is somewhat of a unique feature of the rod compared to other models, but it is positioned in such a way that you can still rest your finger on the blank whilst waiting for nibbles. This works to provide the perfect level of sensitivity and backbone strength. This rod also features a split grip handle constructed of cork and EVA foam. Whilst the cork allows for optimum comfort, the EVA foam gives the rod that extra element of flexibility. The frame of the rod is constructed with precision tapered, solid carbon blanks and stainless steel guides meaning it is not only light and easy to manoeuvre but extremely strong and durable.
Considering the versatility and high-quality construction of this rod, we think it is a great value for money option that would be a fantastic addition to anyone’s ice fishing rod collection.
- Comes in a variety of sizes
- Constructed of anti-freeze materials
- Medium action which is perfect for larger fish species such as trout and perch
- Comfortable handle
- Low sensitivity meaning it is not the best rod for lighter bites
Fenwick is a brand renowned for its high-quality construction and affordable prices. Their Elite Tech Ice Fishing Rod is a product that exemplifies just that. Made of 100% high-quality graphite blanks, it is both lightweight and incredibly sensitive, meaning it is perfect for the detection of those small, subtle strikes. The rod features smoked stainless steel guides and Zirconium oxide inserts in addition to a down locking reel seat for efficiency and durability. The rod is also equipped with a cork handle for optimum comfort and control. The cork will also stay warm even in the coldest and iciest of conditions which is of course, ideal for ice fishers.
The Fenwick Elite Tech Rod is available in a range of different lengths and tension levels that will allow you to work with a huge range of fish types, whether that’s walleye, trout, pike or bluegill. If you are going to be fishing in a more confined, sheltered space, we would recommend opting for the shorter, lighter rods. On the other hand, if you are going to be fishing in a wide, open space such as a lake, you will be better off opting for the larger, heavier-duty rod. This will allow you to cast further and deeper into the water.
This would be a fantastic option for the more experienced anglers who know exactly which fish type they are going to be targeting.
- Available in a variety of lengths and powers
- Extremely sensitive which is great for catching the lighter bites
- Solid cork handle for optimum comfort
- Constructed with high-quality, durable materials
- Not sensitive enough for smaller fish species
If comfort and ease-of-use is your top priority, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik would be a fantastic choice for you. Constructed of a combination of graphite and fibreglass, this rod is designed to truly excel in those freezing, tough conditions that ice fishing anglers typically find themselves in. The rod also features a one-piece stainless steel guide which works to eliminate insert pop-outs. The rod also has a clear tip design which works to add strength and sensitivity. The rod is incredibly easy to get the hang of, making it a brilliant option for those who are just starting off in the world of ice fishing.
It not only offers a generous amount of flexibility but has plenty of backbone, making it a great rod for anyone looking to catch fish of medium-large size. If you are looking for a slightly shorter rod suitable for small-pond fishing, you can simply order a shorter length which will have a lighter action.
Despite the strength of the Shakespeare Ugly Stik, it is impressively lightweight, meaning you will have no issues carrying it around when looking for new fishing spots. If you are looking for great value for money, no-fuss rod, then this would be a fantastic option.
- Ergonomic handle for grip
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- Great value for money
- Easy and comfortable to use
- Durable construction
- Some buyers have reported issues with delivery
- Ugly Tech construction with a combination of Graphite and fiberglass
- Ugly Tuff guides feature new one-piece stainless steel guides to eliminate insert pop outs
- Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for extra strength and added sensitivity
- Durable and lightweight EVA grips
- Enhanced cosmetics for a more modern look
Best Ice Fishing Rods Buying Guide
With such an extensive range of ice fishing rods available on the market, it can be difficult to know exactly what model to go for. The last thing you want is to invest in a fishing rod that doesn’t quite satisfy your ability or your performance preferences. To avoid this from happening, there are several factors you will need to consider whilst browsing the market. These factors include the type of rod you are looking for, it’s size, construction, weight and durability. In order to find a suitable rod for your personal fishing style, you will also need to consider the species of fish you are hoping to catch. Let’s take a look at some of the must-have features and key factors you should be keeping in mind whilst making your decision.
When it comes to choosing a suitable fishing rod, one of the main factors you will need to consider is its size. Ice fishing poles come in a variety of different lengths to suit different ice fishing applications. Typically, ice fishing rods are between 16 inches to 42 inches long which in comparison to regular fishing rods, is rather short. The reasons for this is because ice fishing consists of dropping lures and retrieving fish through small openings in the surface. This means that there is no distance casting and hence, longer rods are simply unnecessary. The rod length you choose will depend entirely on the species of fish you are hoping to catch and the location in which you are going to be doing so. If you are planning to be fishing in a confined space, you will be limited in terms of your rod length, whereas if you are going to be fishing in a wide, open space, then a slightly longer rod will be more suitable. As a rule of thumb, the shorter the rod length, the harder it will be to catch larger so if you are looking for more power and strength, then you will want to go for a longer rod.
Before choosing an ice fishing rod, you will need to determine the fish species that you are going to be targeting. Different fish types will require different activity levels so you must consider this to avoid buying a rod that is too weak or too fast. When it comes to looking for the perfect amount of sensitivity and strength, we would recommend opting for a medium or fast action rod. With this being said, you should always check with the individual model’s specifications to ensure it will work for you.
Another important factor to consider when buying an ice fishing rod is the materials that it is constructed of. Due to the methods of ice fishing and the harsh conditions in which it is usually carried out, you will need to ensure that your rod is well-made and able to withstand frigid temperatures, rain, snow and weight. You will also want your ice fishing rod to be relatively lightweight so that you will have no issues with its manoeuvrability. One of the most common ice fishing rod materials is fibreglass. Fibreglass is incredibly strong and durable but it is not the lightest or the most sensitive material out there. If you are looking for a more lightweight option, you may want to go for a graphite constructed rod.
When it comes to ice fishing, there are typically two main types of rods: spinning rods, and baitcasting rods. These rods will provide entirely different experiences so you will need to consider the type and level of fishing you are going to be doing in order to choose the suitable rod type. Baitcasting rods are generally suited to the big-fish anglers. They offer much more power, accuracy and control but are much harder to use. Spinning rods are best suited to beginner and intermediate anglers who are looking to catch smaller fish. They are much easier to master and will truly excel when working with lighter lines and lures.
How much should I spend on an ice fishing rod?
Whatever your budget, you will be able to find a perfectly suitable, high-performing ice fishing rod. Whilst you will generally find that the more expensive rods are of higher quality, there are many brilliant models that are very reasonably priced. Ultimately, you will want a durable rod, that performs well and will serve you for a long time and being on a tight budget shouldn’t mean that you have to compromise on any of these factors. All of the best ice fishing rods that we have reviewed above offer an ideal combination of quality and affordability so, amongst the selection, we hope you will find an ice fishing rod to suit your budget.
What are the benefits of ice fishing?
Like any other outdoor activity, ice fishing can be not only fun and exciting but extremely rewarding. It is a recreational activity that allows you to be surrounded by a nature in some incredible locations which is not only adventurous but can be incredibly therapeutic. Another benefit of ice fishing is that you will (hopefully) be going home at the end of your trip with some sort of food, whether that be trout, perch, pike, walleye or bluegill.