Ice fishing is a game of patience, power, and precision. For getting your catch below the ice surface, you need to have the best ice fishing rod in your arsenal. Plus, if you are going after various fish, you need to have powerful rods in your fishing gear.
Ice fishing rods are generally lighter than other open water fishing equipment and have the right combination of flexibility and strength. They also feature clean reels to avoid any sort of tangles and a straight-drop design so that you can easily pull the catch.
Here is our guide to the best ice fishing rods to take your fishing game to a whole new level. Here, you’ll find the most powerful and advanced fishing rods along with all the detailed information about buying your fishing equipment.
After thoroughly reviewing all the essential factors such as power, flexibility, and endurance, here is the list of the best ice fishing rods for you:
Top 14 Best Ice Fishing Rods 2021
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is simply the best ice fishing rod, and the reason behind this is its unmatched strength and affordability.
It is one of the most popular fishing rods available in the market and a favorite of beginners and experienced fishermen. You can estimate its strength and popularity by the huge number of YouTube videos revealing its strength test and titles such as “Can I destroy an Ugly Stik GX2?”
Its features begin with the brand’s trademark Ugly Tech construction that uses a smart amalgamation of graphite and fiberglass along with efficient design. It features the latest one-piece stainless steel guide that restricts insert pop-outs. Plus, a clear tip design provides it with increased strength and sensitivity.
One quality that we really like about the rod after its strong backbone is its stylish looks. If you own it, you’re going to like it for its looks and unparalleled performance. Another remarkable characteristic is that despite being a powerful rod, it is surprisingly lightweight and flexible.
And lastly, even if you manage to break it anyhow (chances are unlikely because this thing is called simply indestructible), it comes in a moderate price range, and you won’t feel a loss. So if you are a beginner or even a pro, having a Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 in your armory can certainly level-up your game.
Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Rod gives you excellent performance on the most affordable budget. It is ranked so high on our list of best ice fishing rods because of the strength and durability it offers at such a shocking price point.
Its signature 100% fiberglass blank provides you with lots of combat power, flexibility, and endurance. It features a full cork handle and a graphite sliding ring reel seat for better control. Its stainless steel guides and inserts give you an accurate and convenient game that undoubtedly increases the structure’s longevity.
It comes in 24” to 27” variants, and you can choose the one according to your comfort and the species you’re going to chase. It is most suitable for jigging for crappies, trouts, or minnows.
To sum up, it is one of the best fishing rods on a budget. If you are a beginner in fishing or don’t want to spend a huge sum on a fishing rod and seek a reliable product, this is the most suitable choice.
3. Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod
Fiblink is known for its saltwater spinning rods and has emerged as one of the leading fishing rod brands. This Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod is another highly versatile, ultra-lightweight, and affordable fishing rod from the popular brand.
It features durable graphite rod blanks, innovative handle construction, and a highly lightweight body for exceptional performance. When you hold it, you can always feel a sort of strength and sensitivity in your hands.
It also features long-lasting Aluminum Oxide and stainless steel guides that make it ideal for fishing in freezing regions. A solid cork handle offers you a firm grip and desired control while fishing. Despite being highly affordable, it also manages to give you the feel of an expensive rod.
Lastly, its 24” ultralightweight variant weighs just 2.2 oz and is available in several other sizes and power variants. You can pick the one according to your requirements and experience.
It doesn’t cost much and offers you some of the most desirable features at a minimum price. If you are a fishing enthusiast, it is one of the finest options for you. Plus, if you want to gift something special to a fishing lover, it can be the best gift ever.
HT Ice Blue Rod is a 24-inch long fishing rod that gives you an ultra-lightweight body and has one of the coolest blue color handles. Hence, if you like doing everything with style, it is a recommended option for you.
As already mentioned, the rod’s most distinguishing feature is its dark blue Korkalon handle that has special rings for reel mounting and dark blue custom guide wrappings. It makes it look appealing and simultaneously adds lots of comforts and desired steady grip.
Another valuable part about the rod is that it is highly lightweight and features highly visible fluorescent orange tips for greater efficiency.
But the feature that makes it an exceptional rod is its ultra-sensitivity that can detect every small movement inside the water. If you prefer highly sensitive rods, it is a suitable alternative for you. However, this ultra-lightweight and sensitive nature sometimes also acts as a con as you might find it difficult to set the hook stable.
To sum up, it is a nice amalgam of decent features and delivers the desired features to you in a highly affordable price range.
13 Fishing is one of the brands that has revolutionized the fishing gear world. Since its inception in 2011, the brand has produced some of the most advanced and dependable fishing rods, especially the low profile baitcasting reels.
This 13 Fishing Wicked Ice Rod is one of the finest examples of their craftsmanship and innovation.
The rod features a solid Toray graphite blank and ALPS thin wire guides. The rod’s most exciting feature is its high-density Japanese EVA foam handle that gives you lots of softness and comfort while holding the rod, even for a day!
Besides that, there is an Evolved reel seat with a soft-touch finish that makes it a high-performing rod. Its strength, flexibility, and robust backbone design add brownie points.
However, it comes in a medium price range and is better suited for skilled fishers. But even if you are a beginner and want to add a powerful rod to your fishing arsenal, it is a recommendable product.
If you want to take your fishing game to a whole new level, there is nothing better than the 13 Fishing Widow Maker Ice Rod. It comes with some extraordinary features that you won’t find in the rest of the fishing rods.
Its first excellent feature is its cork handle. The strong handle is made from handpicked 5A Portuguese cork handles and offers you unparalleled grip, comfort, and style. When you hold it in your hands, you will experience some classic fishing vibes for sure.
Next, it features ALPS thin wire double diamond coated guides that allow you to go fishing with the highest precision. Its advanced and durable design offers you maximum sensitivity and the right balance you desire for winning a fishing game. You can feel every small nibble inside the water and easily drag your catch.
Its real power comes from the Evolve Engaged reel seat models and high performance 36-ton solid body Toray graphite blank. For further strength and durability, the rod also features some advanced components and the latest manufacturing technology in the market.
It is one of the best fishing rods in a nutshell, and if you want to have an unprecedented fishing experience, you should go for it. It gives you far more comfort, precision, and strength than its competitors.
However, it is an expensive investment in fishing gear, and if you are a novice, we recommend you first try your hands with (and break) some economical products. Later, you can always add it to your rod collection.
Schooley’s Spring Bobber Pole is an efficient rod that comes at an easily accessible price point, and you can always keep it in your arsenal for easy fishing.
It comes in length variants from 21 to 40 inches and arrives with a bobber, line, and lure made to detect the smallest bait. Its Del-Mar reel helps you in continuous drag and offers a perfect blend of optimal action and precision. The reel is positioned against the rod’s body so that you can choose a side or an overhead crank.
It is specially designed for ice fishing operations and gives you the desired strength and flexibility in an affordable price range. If you are a novice, it is a great way to start the fishing journey.
Fenwick has been a pioneer in the fishing rods market and has been offering innovative fishing equipment scenes since the 1950s. If you are looking for the most reliable option, then this Fenwick Elite Tech Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is made for you.
The rod features 100% high modulus graphite blank and durable smoked stainless steel guides. For better performance, they feature zirconium oxide inserts and sewn lock reel seats.
The best part about the rod is the amalgam of strength and sensitivity. This super-sensitive rod features a powerful backbone, and with a quick tip, it becomes one robust piece of equipment in your armory.
The most beneficial aspect is it is an inexpensive item, and you won’t feel a great loss if you accidentally break it. Plus, it gives you lots of high-quality characteristics on such a low budget. Still, there are several cons, such as less durability and accuracy, but it is a good rod in the given low price range.
St. Croix Avid Ice Jigging Ice Fishing Rod is one powerful rod and ideal for jigging for panfish, perch, trout, walleye, and other freshwater species. It provides excellent value for money and gives you lots of premium features that you won’t find on other rods.
Its outstanding features start with a precision-taper solid carbon blank that gives you maximum action, remarkable sensitivity, and strength with minimum weight. If you love extra-fast action, it is a good option for you. This rod is fit for spinning reels as well as inline ice reels.
A feature that we really like about the rod is its super-sensitive carbon handle. You can feel whatever is happening inside the water and easily control the action. It also features Kigan stripper guides that are highly lightweight and low-profile running guides.
Lastly, it is designed and handcrafted in Fin Park Falls to offer you the most solid design and performance.
If you seek a premium rod for your future fishing adventures, it is another highly recommended product. It is a bit more expensive than other alternatives, but it is worth the money as the features have already declared.
13 Fishing Snitch Ice Rod stands up to its name and awards you with tons of features and expertise in ice fishing.
It features a solid graphite blank and flex-core tip for incredible accuracy and strength. It also features stainless steel guides and a custom evolved handle with high-grade cork for giving you desired control and power during a combat situation. An integrated seat keeps the reel in place and offers you better control.
Lastly, it is a medium budget rod that gives you some fantastic features. If you are a beginner gaining experience and looking for an upgrade, it is ideal. Even if you are an experienced player, you will feel a new power and precision when you hold it in your hands.
Frabill has been delivering quality fishing products since 1938 and has paved the way for modern fishing gear in this long span. Thus, if you are looking for a reliable product in an affordable budget section, Frabill Ice-Fishing Rod is one of the best options for you.
The panfish rod comes with a solid hook set. By featuring an ultra-sensitive micro-sporing bobber and robust blank-through construction, it offers you the desired sensitivity. You also get a custom reel seat with cork and solid fiberglass composite blanks. For further efficiency, you get lightweight micro ice guides.
Talking about the reel, it has a 1+1 ball bearing reel with an advanced infinite anti-reverse system. There are a chrome-plated ABS spool and an ambidextrous handle pre-treated with sub-zero lube. Hence, you get unparalleled control and power in your hands.
It is a 30” rod, and its dead sticking action is suitable for live bait micro jigging. Plus, the lightweight micro ice guides help in gaining better accuracy.
In short, this rod has everything you seek in the best ice fishing rod, and the best part is it doesn’t make a hole in your pocket. It is well suited for ice fishing, and with the supreme trust of the brand, it becomes a reliable option.
If you like to own everything with style, no other product can beat Fiblink 2-piece Portable Travel Ice Fishing Rod. Its pistol-shaped handle is the first thing that will make you fall in love with it. Plus, a lot of other handy features within a pocket-friendly price make it a top pick.
Its features start with solid E-glass carbon composite blanks. These lightweight blanks offer lots of strength and sensitivity to the overall structure. Stainless steel frames with stainless steel inserts offer you lots of conveniences, make the line flow through stainless guides and add durability to the structure.
One thing we like about the rod is its versatility. Its handy rod design fits walleye, perch, trout, and panfish like Crappie, Bluegill, and Sunfish.
It also features a twist-lock reel set with an aluminum alloy screw knob and an ergonomic handle that becomes the main highlight of the design. Its gun-shaped handle looks exceptionally beautiful and classy and gives you a greater grip over the game. You cannot take your eyes off its superb build and would love the fishing experience after you own it.
The rod comes with an elegant thickened cotton gift bag, and if you want to gift your loved one something really memorable, it is that gift. At such an affordable price, it becomes one of the best gift ideas.
Lastly, the brand offers a one-year warranty, and if there is an issue, you can directly contact the manufacturer.
Next on the list is Abu Garcia Venerate Ice Fishing Rod. It is a 23” long ultralight rod that’s excellent for ice fishing purposes and lightweight catches such as rock bass, perch, trout, or small panfish.
It features a 3+1 bearing system and low-temperature gear lube, which helps in ice fishing zones. For providing you an upper hand in the fishing operation, it features an extended reel stem.
The rod’s strength comes from its solid carbon blank and the stainless steel guides with Zirconium inserts. Plus, it is a fast action rod and comes with light tips. If you love quick action rods, it can be a good choice for you.
For further efficiency, it features full cork handles and a trademark Abu Garcia ice max spinning reel. You can use it for honing your fishing techniques and for a variety of fishing adventures.
However, if you want to use this ice fishing rod for open water jigging or casting, you will need a longer and sturdier pole.
The last product on the list is Clam Corporation Straight Drop Ultralight Fishing Rod. The brand is famous for its ice fishing gear, and if you are looking for fishing equipment particularly designed for ice fishing, it is a good option.
It is specially designed to perform best in hard water fishing zones and is durable enough to withstand any impact or element. It features oversized fly guides and twisted stripper guides to give you more precision and control over the game.
The reliable quality and advanced construction make it one of the most innovative fishing gear. If your gear needs an upgrade, it can become your reliable fishing companion.
Factors To Consider While Choosing The Best Ice Fishing Rods 2021
When it comes to purchasing the most efficient Ice fishing rods, there are loads of options and variants available in the market. You will have several size variants for every rod, and before you accumulate some fishing experience, choosing the most suitable rod is simply a herculean task.
What is the best ice fishing rod for you depends on so many big and small factors. For example, chasing a particular fish species would need a different rod, and applying a specific technique would need another. Unless you spend some time in the fishing zone with your fishing gear, you might face challenges in choosing the correct rods.
However, certain factors determine the efficiency and distinct specialty of a fishing rod. Here is a list of all those critical factors that decide what kind of rod is the most suitable for you.
1. Rod Length
The first and most influential factor that decides what fishing rod is ideal for you is the rod’s length.
Rod length is the total measurement from your pole’s handle to the end of your rod’s tip, and it can dramatically affect your casting technique, abilities, and catch. So, first of all, decide the correct size for you. If you are a beginner, you can always consult an experienced player.
A basic rule of thumb says that smaller rods are perfect for shorted casts while longer rods are for longer casts. If there is a situation where you need powerful combat, a short rod will give you lots of benefits. Short rods have fewer bends, and you can easily cast or fight the fish.
On the other hand, longer rods give you the facility of a large area cover and deeper fishing. When you are fishing on a beach or lakeside, then longer rods can give you lots of benefits and cover a deeper and larger area.
In general, fishing rods vary from 6 to 12 feet and depending upon your fishing region, the species you are going for, and your preferred technique, you can choose the optimum rod length.
If you are a beginner, then a 7 ft rod is ideal for you. It would help you in learning about balance, accuracy, and, most importantly, skill development.
2. Rod Material
The next characteristic that you should consider before buying a rod is its material.
Fishing rods are made from several materials, including graphite or fiberglass. Pro anglers prefer graphite rods as they are sturdier, have a high sensitivity, and give lots of strength and combat power. However, they are more brittle than other alternatives and might break under any significant impact.
So, let’s have a look at all the material and discuss the pros and cons.
a. Graphite Rods – After their inception in the 1970s by Fenwick, graphite rods have become a favorite of anglers and the most common type of fishing rods. They feature high tensile strength and stiffness or modulus and, as we already said, offer unparalleled strength for combat.
However, high modulus or stiffness also makes the rod very brittle, and it might shatter under some pressure. For this reason, if you want more durability, you should go for more expensive graphite rods manufactured using extreme heat.
b. Fiberglass Rods – Fiberglass has been used for manufacturing rods for a long time (almost since the 1950s) and remained another highly desirable fishing rod material.
Fiberglass rods are sturdier than graphite rods but simultaneously become a heavier alternative. If you can bargain power for some extra weight, they are fit for you. Plus, if you are a beginner, you can try a fiberglass rod as it needs low maintenance and lasts long.
These rods are ideal when you launch crankbaits or when you need some medium to slow action. If you are going after aggressive species such as a muskellunge or pike, you can consider a fiberglass rod.
c. Composite Rods – When graphite and fiberglass are mixed, or some other materials are used to make a fishing rod, it is called a composite rod. If you enjoy fishing in several regions and under different types of situations, composite rods are the best for you.
They are also less expensive than other options, and you can learn and explore the world of fishing with them.
Bamboo Rods – These rods were highly popular during the late 19th century until the mid-twentieth century when fiberglass rods emerged as a cheaper and powerful alternative.
Leaving aside the heating debate of whether they are better than modern rods or not, you can enjoy a whole new experience with these rods. They look beautiful, work efficiently, and you’ll get some classic vibes while enjoying your weekend.
3. Power And Action
Now comes the performance factors of a rod, i.e., power and action. Choosing the right power and action is one of the most crucial aspects of a rod as it wholly determines your success rate.
You must have heard many times that the rod has got a backbone, but do you know what that means? It simply means the power of the rod during combat. A rod with a powerful spine will withstand heavy combat, offering you the catch, and similarly, an inferior backbone rod will break and fail when the catch is heavy and aggressive.
You might consider power and action as the same thing about a fishing rod, but they are quite different in reality.
Power, in the simplest words, means the amount of force required to bend the fishing rod. Several classifications, such as ultra-light or ultra-heavy, are used to describe the power of rods. Ultra-light rods are ideal for smaller species such as panfish or trout, while ultra-heavy rods are used to catch heavier species or for deep-sea excursions.
In short, you can calculate the basic power of the rod with its weight. So, depending upon the species you’re chasing, you can choose the suitable rod weight or power.
If power means how much the rod will bend, the action is used to describe where along with the blank it will bend.
Slow action rods bend close to the handle of the design and give you more flexibility and whip. On the other hand, fast action rods are more rigid and bend only at the blank’s top third part. Slow action rods are perfect when you’re going for slower baits and lighter lures, while long action rods are ideal for throwing heavier baits.
Some medium action rods are the amalgam of both and give you a more flexible and versatile option.
4. Type Of Rod
Along with the characteristics of a specific rod, the next decisive factor is what style of rod you want to use. If you have prior experience with fishing, you would already have a specific variety for your fishing adventures. But if you are a beginner, here are the two basic types of fishing rods depending upon the guides’ position.
a. Casting Rods – These rods have guides on the top of the blank and give you more precision and accuracy. You can have a baitcasting or spin casting model according to your choice. The difference between these two models is the guide size.
You may also find trolling rods that are a heavier option and ideal for deep-sea excursions and larger species such as tuna or marlin.
b. Spinning Rods – The other options are spinning rods that are lighter and smaller than casting alternatives. They have guides on the bottom of the blank, are more comfortable, easy to use, and if you are a beginner, these are a much-favored option.
You can also opt for the saltwater options known as surf rods. They are heavier with longer designs, and you can use them for larger baits and longer casts. If you go fishing around the beach or rocks, they are ideal.
After deciding the kind of rod you want, the last thing to consider is your budget.
You can find fishing rods in a minimal to a premium price range. As the rod prices elevate, so does the strength, comfort, flexibility, and durability. Hence, it is all a matter of “you get what you pay for”.
But you don’t have to lose heart for not having a great rod. There are some highly recommendable rods in the budget section that give you lots of desired features. Plus, you don’t need to worry about money because there are many options available in the market, and you will easily find the right product within your budget range.
Our recommendation in this aspect is to go for an inexpensive and straightforward rod if you are a beginner. It will let you explore the world of fishing, learn all the important aspects and develop your techniques and skills. However, if you are an experienced fisherman and need better gear, it is advisable to invest in a premium rod.
A premium rod lasts long and awards you with more accuracy and precision.
Fishing Rod Components
A fishing rod isn’t just a simple pole with a handle that uses bait to catch fish. Instead, it is a combination of several specific components that combine to form a fishing rod.
If you want to become a pro or learn the basics of fishing, having adequate knowledge about your fishing gear is necessary.
In short, here is a list of all the components that make a fishing rod. If you want to buy the best ice fishing rod for yourself, you need to learn about all these elements and their importance and functions.
Starting with the bottom end of your rod, we have the handle. You already know what a handle is, but you might not know the role a good fishing rod handle can play in your game.
Fishing rod handles are generally made from cork or EVA foam to give you a firm grip and comfort. If you are going for longer castings, then a longer handle is preferable. It will provide you with enough space to use both hands, have victorious combat and lift the heavy load.
Short handles, on the other hand, are ideal for shorter casts. You can cast with one hand and even develop your roll casting technique.
There are several choices in handles, including split grip or pistol grip handles. Pistol grip handles not only look good but also keep the overall weight downwards and help shorter casts and lift lighter weights.
2. Reel Seat
When you move further, you find the reel seat. It is the place where your reel is attached to the rod. You slide the reel foot into collars and tighten to restrict any sort of play or wobble in the setup.
Graphite seats are the most popular seat option and generally have a cut-out for the blank. But they are more costly than the cheaper counterparts that don’t have the desired cushioning around the collars. If you want to bargain for some comfort for a few bucks, you can choose such alternatives.
The reels are also of two types – spinning reel and casting reel.
Spinning reels are more suitable for beginners as they are mounted underneath the road, and you get the handle positioned for left-hand use. They feature an anti-reverse mechanism and are ideal for small baits.
On the other hand, casting reels are mounted parallel to the rod and have a specific button for your thumb to maintain a grip on the handle. This space gives you greater control when you launch the bait, thus, a better option for advanced fishers.
3. Blank And Guides
Many fishermen are confused about what a blank in their rods is and call the blank “the rod”. If you are one of them, here is the right solution.
Blank is the main shaft of a fishing rod and determines the power of the rod. You can also call it the foundation of the rod’s structure. If the blank is weak, the complete design becomes fragile and flimsy. The blank also determines the flexibility of the rod and its overall build to attack and catch.
Guides are circular pieces threaded to your fishing line and attached to the rod’s windings for better control. They are made from several materials such as plastic, metal, or other ceramic materials. Stainless steel guides are quite popular and offer great precision and efficiency in the game.
The last portion of the rod is called the tip, the thinnest and the most flexible area of a rod.
If you have a collapsible rod, then there are two ferrules in it – one male and one female. At ferrules only, your rod comes together as a single life and becomes usable. When you connect the two pieces, ensure that the guides are correctly lined up, and your lines get a straight extension of travel.
So, these were all the essential elements of a fishing rod. Apart from these, there are butts, windings, and tip tops that contribute and form a fishing rod. All these components are equally important when you are fishing, and you must keep an eye on the strength and durability of all the parts before buying a rod for yourself.
Best Ice Fishing Rods – Your pick?
Here the discussion comes to a successful end. You have witnessed the most competent ice fishing rod options and all the essential information you need to buy an ice fishing rod.
If you want to have more fun and more success in your fishing expeditions, we recommend you choose not only one but a whole set of powerful rods. Include fishing rods of different sizes and power variants in your collection, and you would never lose a game. A foolproof arsenal not only upgrades your game but also allows you to go fishing under varying climatic and topographical conditions.
Lastly, all the above-given rods can offer you the best fishing experience and the joy of getting your desired catch. However, the best ice fishing rods for you depends solely upon your requirements and preferences.
FAQs on Ice Fishing Rods
Q1. What Is The Sensitivity Of A Fishing Rod?
Sensitivity means the ability of a rod to make you feel the bottom of the river. Graphite rods have the best sensitivity and have an exceptional ability to transmit vibrations to your hand.
Q2. What Is The Difference Between Male And Female Ferrule?
Male ferrules fit into the joint of another piece of the rod and extend the rod’s length. Female ferrules are the ones that receive the opposing ferrule.
Q3. What Are The Best Guides For Fishing Rods?
For the best results, guides should have even spacing between them. The largest guide should be the closest to the handle and should decrease in size when they reach the tip of the rod. Stainless steel guides are a good alternative, but Titanium guides are the most advanced and durable ones.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.