How To Choose The Best Ice Fishing Rod

best ice fishing rod

Ice fishing rods over the past several years have gone through countless upgrades to make them safer to use and much more efficient.

This has gone on to expand the market for ice fishing altogether and attract more and more anglers to give it a go.

Being the main instrument of landing fish on any expedition, it is critical to make a sound decision with which one you head out to battle with.

Before we unveil our selections of what we think are the best ice fishing rods, you can buy, we would like to mention them in the table below.


The Best Ice Fishing Rods

How To Choose A Good Ice Fishing Rod

The choice of which ice fishing rod is best for you usually rests on a few basic conditions – the building materials of the rod, power of the rod, and the particular fish species you are after.

However, with the comprehensive advancements that have gone into producing these rods in recent years, making that choice is bound to be a little complicated.

To simplify things, consider yourself as an individual angler and lay out your specific expectations of an ice fishing rod that would be ideal for you. Just as long as the aforementioned basic features are properly accounted for, you should be able to narrow down the field considerably.

Let us now go more in depth into the mandatory features involved in the making of a good ice fishing rod.

Base materials

This will be an important factor in your decision as it could mean the difference between landing a fish and losing it.

As you may be aware, there are a lot of fish out there that can put up a formidable fight upon being hooked.

And all the while, your rod is going to have to endure a relentless strain exerted on it from both ends of the line. So it would be ideal for it to be composed of some tough material able to withstand the forces that will be exerted on it. With regards to material, your two main selections will be between fiberglass and graphite.

Both materials harbor some unique and mutually exclusive advantages.

Graphite is typically more responsive and lighter which makes it the more expensive choice in most cases.

Fiberglass on the hand has greater durability and flexibility on its side. It is also not as sensitive to the cold.

Occasionally, however, you may come across a rod which is made of carbon fiber and puts the standard materials to shame. Not only is it light and strong but sensitive and durable as well. That all makes it more expensive than graphite or fiberglass.

Rod power

Ice fishing rods can be split into a few categories depending on the level of strength they have. The most common categories are ultra-light, light, medium, and heavy.

When it comes to fishing rods in general, what is described as power is really how well the rod endures pressure before it starts bending.

Which category your rod falls under really has to do with the kind of fish you are after as well as your preferred style of fishing.

Heavy action rods work best on the biggest fish species you can hope to catch such as pike or lake trout. Invariably, the lower action rods are more adept with smaller species ranging from 2 to 12 pounds.

Species of fish

One rod will not land them all. It is important that you are well informed about certain kinds of fish your rod is capable of bringing in.

The different power levels available are suited only particular species.

For instance, if you are after fairly sizeable specimens like pike or lake trout, you should consider a heavy rod. If it is panfish you are after, then an ultra-light will do.

Ice Fishing Rod Reviews

And now it is time to take a quick detailed look at our top recommendations for the best ice fishing rods you can buy.

Our selections have been made based on how they deliver on the mandatory criteria of a good ice fishing rod as well as how adjustable they can be to an angler’s individual preferences.


Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Combo

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Combo is a light action rod.

Thanks to a fibreglass tip, anglers will be able to sense the nibblers easily as well enjoy a long period of durability with their rod. Durability is one of the most critical aspects of a winter weather rod.

The reel is a 20 size spinning reel with 1 ball bearing. The blank is genuine from Ugly Stik. The rod also has an EVA handle, twist-lock reel seat, one-piece stainless steel guides and a ported aluminum spool for lighter weight and added durability.

With the power level being light, the line rating is 2 to 6 pounds. For a 28 inch with a medium power level, the line rating is 4 to 8 pounds. For a 30 inch with medium heavy action, the line rating is 6 to 10 pounds.

Sometimes, it is possible to acquire one where the reel is not very good but rest assured, it would be an isolated incident. Apart from that, we could not really fault this rod.

What we like
  • Highly responsive thanks to the fibreglass tip, even to the slightest movements or nibbles.
  • Durable construction
  • It is quite delicate and bends easily
  • Great value for money.
What we don't like
  • Minor issues with build quality
On Sale
Shakespeare USGXICE26LCBO Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo, 26-Feet, Light
61 Reviews
Shakespeare USGXICE26LCBO Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo, 26-Feet, Light
  • Genuine ugly stik blank
  • EVA foam handle
  • Twist-lock reel seat
  • Ugly StikGX2 spinning rods
  • 20 size spinning reel with 1 ball bearing

Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod

The Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod has lightness, strength, and responsiveness going for it.

So indeed, the rod blanks are made of graphite, blank through handle construction. And yet, despite the graphite construction, it is also quite durable.

However, that does not mean it has had to trade off the typical benefits afforded by graphite such as sensitivity as well as lightweight. The feedback sent to your hand is uncannily accurate easily letting you know when it is time to flick your wrist and secure the hook in a fish’s mouth.

Aluminium oxide guides have also been integrated into the pursuit of lightweight and durability. The line flows gracefully through guides which are rust proof.

This rod has a solid cork handle which makes for a secure grip. The overall size and shape is configured for comfort and feel, always two precious assets for any angler battling it out in the frigid weather. That said, we also felt it was a bit stiff for ice fishing. We supposed it is more suited for catching fish at the higher end of the medium light end.

The rod measures a decent 24 inches and its power level is medium Light. The weight is a mere 2.2oz. You can also have it at 30 inches with medium power and with a weight of 2.3oz.

What we like
  • Durable construction
  • Retains usual benefits of using graphite
  • Excellent feedback related back to the angler
What we don't like
  • Feels a bit stiffer than usual for ice fishing.
On Sale
Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod Pole Gear Equipment for Walleye Perch Crappie Pike Trout (24-30...
34 Reviews
Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod Pole Gear Equipment for Walleye Perch Crappie Pike Trout (24-30...
  • Light, strong and sensitive
  • Graphite rod blanks, blank through handle construction
  • Lightweight and durable aluminum oxide guides, Line flows effortlessly through stainless guides
  • Solid cork handle for a sure grip, sized and shaped for comfort, feel and to match each model
  • 30"-Medium Power-Rod Weight: 2.3oz

St. Croix Avid Jigging Series

The St. Croix Avid Jigging Series Ice Fishing Rod uses a precisely tapered solid carbon blank which ensures high performance out in icy conditions.

Its entire profile is designed to be lightweight and durable for ice jigs, jigging Rapalas, jigging spoons, and other popular walleye jigs. And there are some key components that make it all happen.

A Kigan stripper guide with lightweight and low profile running guides and a super sensitive carbon handle gives you precise feedback on what the rod is doing.

It is a complete triple threat combining very high-quality components and materials with the latest in ground-breaking technologies and several decades of experience in the trade. And the results speak for themselves. This rod is particularly good for any size of walleye you want.

Drawbacks?..

You cannot ask for much better than this for what it is worth. It is more on the stiffer side which might not be so ideal for some anglers but it would hardly matter in light of what its capabilities are.

What we like
  • High-quality construction
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Performs extremely well in icy conditions
  • Adept at landing walleye
What we don't like
  • A bit too tough for what it was made for
St. Croix - Avid Ice Series Jigging Rod, 27' Medium Light (AIR27ML)
5 Reviews
St. Croix - Avid Ice Series Jigging Rod, 27" Medium Light (AIR27ML)
  • Designed specifically for jigging
  • Precision-taper solid carbon blank
  • Super-sensitive carbon handle
  • Kigan stripper guide with lightweight, low-profile running guides
  • Made in U.S.A. (with foreign and domestic materials)

Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-Inch Medium Ice Fishing Rod

The Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-Inch Medium Ice Fishing Rod has no graphite of fiberglass about its blank. Instead, it uses solid carbon fiber blank which is not only lighter and stronger but has increased sensitivity as well.

We would say the inclusion of carbon fiber in this rod makes it a bit of overkill. It is both incredibly strong as well as flexible. So it can be well suited to a variety anglers as well as fish species.

The single foot ice guides, on the other hand, are made of a special kind of stainless steel. There is also 3 plus 1 ball-bearing reel, a machined aluminum spool and reel seat with cork grip.

It is incredibly difficult to fault this one. Its carbon fiber construction combines an enhanced blend of qualities from both fiberglass and graphite rods. While that is likely to cost more, talk about hitting two birds with one stone.

What we like
  • Carbon fiber construction
  • Combines features like flexibility, strength and durability.
What we don't like
  • Carbon construction makes it relatively expensive
Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-Inch Medium Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Black
4 Reviews
Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-Inch Medium Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Black
  • The CMMG, Inc Carbine Gas Tube With Roll Pin
  • Solid carbon fiber blank for increased sensitivity
  • Special stainless steel single foot ice guides
  • 3 plus 1 ball-bearing reel
  • Machined aluminum spool

Abu Garcia VeritasTM 2.0 Ice Spin Rod

The Abu Garcia VeritasTM 2.0 Ice Spin Rod features a 24 Ton Graphite Blank and a split grip high density EVA handle design.

Its power level is at medium light.

But what really takes it to another level of ice fishing rod is a micro click reel hood to provide a solid connection for a better reel fit and the improved lightweight balanced design overall.

Also included in the design are smoked SS guide frames with aluminum oxide inserts. There is a hint of carbon in the construction as well, specifically at the handle.

Unsurprisingly, this is a great ice fishing rod. You are likely to be a satisfied customer upon purchasing it.

However, the actual rod you get may not exactly look like the one that was advertised which can be very irritating.

What we like
  • Lightweight construction
  • Enhanced fishing experience with the micro click reel hood
What we don't like
  • Product being purchased may not exactly resemble the product being advertised.
Abu Garcia AVRTICE29UL Ultra Light Veritas 2.0 Ice Spinning Rod, 29'
4 Reviews
Abu Garcia AVRTICE29UL Ultra Light Veritas 2.0 Ice Spinning Rod, 29"
  • 24 Ton Graphite Blank
  • Split Grip High Density EVA Handle Design
  • Micro Click Reel Hood
  • Smoked SS Guide Frames with Aluminum Oxide Inserts

Master Fishing Tackle Brush Spinning Combo Kit – Best Value For The Money

The Master Fishing Tackle Brush Spinning Combo Kit is a high-quality rod and reel and is great value for money.

It has been designed with safety and performance in mind as well as being able to withstand even the toughest battles with some real monsters.

The entire rod is very light and is a comfortable 2 feet long and has an adjustable reel.

The assorted colors for it include pink, red, green and blue.

For ice fishing anglers who are just starting out, this a great rod to go fishing with. It represents good value for money and the design delivers on a lot of its expectations.

There have been quite a few problems about this rod regarding the reel. In some products, it either does not work properly or renders itself completely useless.

Unfortunately, you are likely to find it a rather cheaply manufactured product but at the price it sells, that is somewhat justifiable, maybe.

What we like
  • Great for beginners
  • Great value for money
  • Adjustable reel
What we don't like
  • Cheap build quality due to low pricing
On Sale
Master Fishing Tackle Brush Spinning Combo Kit, 2-Feet, Ultra-Light (Colors May Vary)
77 Reviews
Master Fishing Tackle Brush Spinning Combo Kit, 2-Feet, Ultra-Light (Colors May Vary)
  • Quality Rod and Reel at affordable prices
  • Tested with safety and performance in mind
  • Designed for the toughest situations to pull in those whales!
  • Length: 2 Foot
  • Number of Pieces: 1

Conclusion

So there we are.

That concludes our list of recommendations for the top ice fishing rods you can buy.

After testing some of them individually, we have found them to be easy matches for all our fundamental requirements and then some.

Of course, they are not without faults.

Some came with certain peculiarities in their design or functions that were not ideal. On top of all that, your personal biases and techniques as an angler are likely to weigh in immensely when it is your turn to decide.

Nevertheless, we maintain these rods we have selected are more than capable of meeting your demands.

They will have you wishing for more snow.


Last update on 2017-11-20 at 16:55 / Affiliate links / Images / Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API

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