Table of Contents
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 1.1 Berkley Trilene XL Smooth Casting Monofilament Service Spools
- 1.2 Berkley Trilene 100% Fluoro Professional Grade
- 1.3 Sufix 832 Ice Braid Fishing Lure
- 1.4 Berkley FireLine Micro Ice
- 1.5 Berkley Trilene Micro Ice
- 1.6 Power Pro Ice-Tec 50-Yard Ice Line
- 1.7 Clam Frost Ice Fluoro Metered 110yd.
- 1.8 Clam Frost Ice Mono Line 110yd.
- 1.9 Clam Frost Ice Braid 50yd.
- 1.10 KastKing SuperPower Braid Fishing Line
- 2 How to Choose Ice Fishing Line
What I love most about ice fishing is that I don’t have to put off my favorite hobby during the winter. There are plenty of choices when it comes to equipment I can reuse from the summer. Unfortunately, many people forget to re-spool their ice fishing reels with a line that's more suited to the cold weather. Whether they are just lazy or not, it's important that you strip off the line used during the summer and replace it with fresh new hotness.
But what lines are best suited for winter conditions? With dozens of brands and styles to choose from, identifying what best suits your needs can be challenging. We have sifted through hundreds of models to give you our best recommendations. This post also discusses a few guidelines that will help narrow down your search.
Last update on 2020-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Our Top Picks
Read our reviews on the top products currently available on the market:
Topping our list of best ice fishing lines is the Trilene XL, a nylon monofilament line touted by Berkley as America's bestseller. It has a smooth surface that isn't too slick and tests at 2-30 pounds. Its round and smooth design make it easier to cast further and pitch. This also means reduced risk of wind knots, twists, and kinks. It performs exceptionally, given its price point, and has very few memory issues.
The line offers good sensitivity, making it easy to detect nibbles of fish bites. Whether you are making fine presentations for bass or dipping for panfish, the Trilene XL won’t disappoint. It has some impressive water repelling properties. It is nearly clear, making it almost invisible to fish. The line comes in a large 330-yard spool that allows you to cast further.
- Ideal for any fishing technique
- Has low line memory for easy manageability
- Designed to withstand the test of time with high-strength nylon
- Has been known to stretch a little
The Berkley Trilene is a professional grade smooth line made from 100% fluorocarbon. The best thing about this material is that it is invisible when in the water. The only thing targeted fish will see is the jig at the end of the line. This line has zero stretch and as such, doesn’t coil in water. It works with the small diameter to maximize sensitivity and ensure you feel the slightest bites.
The line tests at 2-6 pounds, and higher at the end. One of the more surprising attributes, given the fluorocarbon construction, is its strength. Its test strength isn’t as high as other models, but the line is quite capable of handling panfish in cold weather. On the downside, the knot strength could be better.
- 100% fluorocarbon line that’s almost completely invisible
- Highly sensitive and low stretch
- Quite strong
- Knot strength is low
Suffix is known for its family of ice fishing equipment and the 832 Ice Braid Fishing Lure is one of our favorites. It is the company’s lowest diameter line, a design factor that ensures minimal visibility while maintaining the superior strength of braided lines. The line offers zero stretch and incredible line sensitivity Suffix uses hydrophobic protection to reduce the risks of freezing.
One of the greatest selling points of the Suffix 832 is that it sinks lures and baits faster than most ice fishing braided lines. This comes in handy when fishing in deeper water columns. The line comes in multiple diameters and sizes to fit different fishing needs. It is highly resistant to abrasion and offers excellent knot strength.
- Thinnest diameter braided line allows minimal visibility
- Offers high abrasion resistance
- Incredibly sensitive to the slightest bites.
- Has excellent knot strength and dexterity
- Comes in shorter spools at 50 yards
Berkley offers a fistful of fine ice fishing lines, and their Fireline Micro Ice ranks highly on this line. It is one of the thinnest lines in Berkley’s lineup, hence invisible to fish in water. Designed to be thinner than monofilament lines, its capacity to haul in the large fish is quite surprising. It has low memory, so you don’t have to worry about coils reducing line sensitivity or compromising bait presentations.
The thin diameter of this line allows you to get the most out of dainty baits and makes it more difficult for fish to spot. In addition, casting and management of the line are easy. Its low stretch formula lends an excellent sinking quality, even in deep waters. The Berkley Fireline Micro Ice comes in 4-10 pound test options, all with smoke coloration.
- Durable and highly sensitive
- Thin diameter and smoke coloration allow for minimal visibility
- Low line memory and easy to manage
- Reduced risk of freezing or becoming brittle
- Thin diameter may cause snapping if used for heavy fish
The Berkley Trilene Micro Ice is a monofilament line that boasts a thin diameter for low visibility in the water. It has very low stretch, making it easy for anglers to feel the smallest bites. While the smaller diameter does mean lower strength compared to braided lines, it certainly helps with reduced shedding and line freezing.
The Trilene Mirco Ice is well balanced and a great purchase for beginners. It offers good jig control and doesn't have many workability challenges evident in a braid or super lines. It comes in a large 110-yard spool and is available in 2, 3, 4, 6 & 8-pound test options. This is a great line for fishing in shallow water columns.
- Offers outstanding strength per diameter
- Available in five test options
- Comes in a large 110-yard spool
- Great beginner line for shallow water columns
- Retains less water than braid and super lines
- Line breaking strength is an issue for some customers
While specially designed for cold weather conditions, what really puts the Power Pro Ice-Tec on the map is its ability to discard water. This goes a long way towards ensuring ice doesn't build up on the line. It also guarantees continued flexibility and natural lure movement. The abrasion resistance capabilities are impressive, and you don't have to worry about your line wearing away due to constant rubbing against ice.
This line shows good sensitivity for medium to large species. It is tested at eight pounds, giving you the freedom to tackle larger fish with ease. It is manageable and easily wraps around reels for casting. The risk of wind knots is quite low, thanks to reduced line memory. Our main concern is the blue color, which can deter fish.
- High abrasion resistance properties
- Good at repelling water and preventing ice buildup
- Can test up to eight pounds
- Extremely sensitive and low memory
- Blue color is more visible in still water
The Clam Frost Ice Fluoro is a highly sensitive ice fishing line made from 100% fluorocarbon. It is certainly tough, and its impact and tensile strength are good. While you won't be able to snag walleyes with this line, it is more than capable of catching small to medium sized species. If you are looking for a hard wearing line, the Clam Frost Ice Fluoro has incredible abrasion resistance.
It is specially designed for freshwater fishing, but it can still hold its own in saltwater locations. The line is flexible and creates natural lure swimming action to entice fish. Of course, the main advantage of a fluorocarbon line is that it is invisible to fish, even in an ice hole.
- Excellent resistance to abrasion
- Capable of handling small to medium sized fish
- Offers flexibility for natural bait movements
- Good strength considering the price point
- Minimal stretch and visibility
- Spool length could be longer
The Clam Frost Ice Mono Line comes in a 110-yard spool and offers plenty of value for your money. It is specially designed for ice fishing and its high sensitivity makes it easy to detect nibbles. The line is made to the strictest of tolerances with high-quality materials. It offers straighter off the spool feed, hence reduced chances of line twists and coil.
The line has a moderate amount of stretch, which allows a perfect balance of strong hook sets and forgiveness for head shakes. Its clear color allows for stealth bait presentation while a high-vis section makes it easier to detect bites at the hole. This line tests at 3lbs, which is a little low compared to most.
- Clear and completely invisible
- Minimal chances of line twists
- High line sensitivity
- Made with high-quality materials
- Tests at 3 pounds only
The Clam Frost Ice Braid is an excellent option if you are looking for ultimate strength. It comes in a 50-yard spool and tests at 15 pounds, making it ideal for medium-sized species. It is made from tightly woven 4-strand braid for extreme bite sensitivity. The line delivers high abrasion resistance and doesn't wear away even with continued friction against ice. It has a very thin diameter for invisibility and the spool has a half-spool mark.
- Tightly woven braid for maximum sensitivity
- Minimal fraying and color fading
- Designed for high abrasion resistance and low stretch
- Tests at 50lbs
- Spool length is short
Concluding our list is the KastKing Superpower, a braided ice fishing line with good abrasion resistance and knot strength. You won’t have to worry about the line slippage, wind knots or tangling. It has minimal stretch, which in turn heightens sensitivity and allows you to feel nibbles of fish bites. Its superior hook setting further improves your chances of a successful catch.
This line is treated with a proprietary wax coating to deliver natural swimming lure action. It is highly resistant to water absorption and comes in different tensile strengths. The lower strengths ranging from 6-15 pounds are made from 4-strand woven fiber. The higher tensile strengths ranging from 65-80lbs are built to withstand heavier loads. Being a low memory line, you can expect hassle-free casting and handling as well as reduced friction on the reel.
- Round and smooth design increases casting distance
- Smaller diameter and high strength
- Available in multiple tensile strength options
- Offers superior hook setting and line sensitivity
- Has a tendency to bleed and fade
How to Choose Ice Fishing Line
Types of Ice Fishing Line
There are four main types of fishing lines i.e. monofilament, braid, tip up and fluorocarbon line. Monofilament lines are popular and often considered the bread and butter of ice fishing. They have low memory and slight buoyancy that a nice fluttery action in the water. The main disadvantage of monofilament line is that it's more susceptible to abrasion and needs frequent replacement.
Fluorocarbon offers better quality, more toughness, sensitivity and reduced stretch compared to monofilament line. It has excellent sensitivity and makes it easy to detect ultralight bites. Its sinking rate is four times faster than monofilament line, hence perfect for deep water fishing. The main downside is that fluorocarbon tends to coil up if left on the spool for long. This may lead to twists and knots. Using 10-20 yards of fluorocarbon line helps keep things manageable.
Braid is a great option for ice fishing, particularly in water with some stain to it. It has an ultra small diameter, low stretch and is extremely tough. One disadvantage of braid is the absorption of water, which can prove problematic in single digit temperatures. Some manufacturers use coatings to reduce water absorption.
One of the most important factors that affect ice fishing is line sensitivity. A straight line between the jig and rod tip is required to achieve optimal sensitivity. The high sensitivity provided by straight lines serves as a crucial alert to let you know when to set the hook. Due to slower metabolisms in colder temperatures, fish aren’t very aggressive and have more subtle bites that are more difficult to detect. This emphasizes the importance of a sensitive ice fishing line.
Naturally, fishing lines have some coil because manufacturers store them on round reels. Memory refers to how long a line can hold the coil after coming off the reel. Low memory fishing lines have fewer and smaller coils while high memory lines have larger coils. The ideal line for ice fishing should have low memory and minimal coils. This is because coils between the bait and rod tip can reduce sensitivity, compromise the effectiveness of hook sets, cause improper bait/lure presentation and slack in the line. Using heavier jigs or lighter pound line can reduce coils.
This refers to how much the fishing line stretches once it hits the water. The ideal line should have little to no stretch, allowing anglers to feel the slightest movements and know when a fish bites.
Finding the best ice fishing line is not easy, especially when you are new to the hobby. And while there are many strong competitors, there can only be one winner. Our favorite is the Berkley Trilene XL Smooth Casting Monofilament Service Spools. It meets all the requirements of a good fishing line, including low stretch and optimal sensitivity. It remains straight and doesn’t coil in the water, thus maintaining its flexibility. The line is thin, yet strong enough to endure constant friction against ice.
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