Ice fishing is an extremely enjoyable and rewarding sport, especially if you have the right equipment. One of the tools you need is a fishing rod. It will not only increase your potential for a successful catch, but also improve performance. There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing ice fishing rods. But before we discuss them, let’s review the best ice fishing rods and what makes them tick.
Best Ice Fishing Rods
Find your favorite ice fishing rods from our selection and make your pick based on our extensive reviews:
13 Fishing “Widow Maker” Special Edition with Carbon Handle, Ice Fishing Rod
The Widow Maker Special Edition from 13 Fishing is an excellent ice fishing rod that performs like no other on the market. Available in multiple sizes, this rod can be used for any fishing technique. It boasts a high performance 36ton solid body Toray graphite blank that offers superior sensitivity. You will be able to feel the slightest nibbles that often go unnoticed with other rods.
The Airfoil carbon handle is durable and comfortable when used over long periods of time. The downside of a carbon handle is that it elevates the price of the rod. Also notable is the hand selected 5A Portuguese Cork, which makes the handle lighter without compromising its durability. The rod is decked with ALPS thin wire double diamond coated guides to help with line flow.
- Graphite blanks are extremely sensitive and lightweight
- Uses Airfoil carbon handle with 5A Portuguese cork for ultimate comfort
- Built with durable materials
- Carbon handle makes the rod a little pricey
fenwick Elite Tech Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
Next up is the Fenwick Elite Tech, a medium action ice spinning rod with 100% modulus graphite blanks. It has an extremely sensitive tip that allows angles to feel the slightest nibbles of a fish. It comes with a solid cork handle that has added tac. The handle delivers increased comfort and a firm grip in the most rigid conditions.
This rod uses smoked stainless steel guides to ensure smooth flow of fishing line. The guides feature Zirconium oxide inserts for added durability and efficiency. The down locking reel seat makes it easy for anglers to attach fishing reels. Being a medium action rod, this is an excellent choice for light to medium weight fish species.
- High modulus graphite blanks
- Down locking reel seat for easy attachment of spinning reel
- Smoked stainless steel guides with Zirconium inserts
- Solid cork handle with firm grip
- A little stiffer than usual for ice fishing rods
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
This is a medium action ice fishing rod with a fiberglass tip that allows anglers to enjoy long years of longevity. The fiberglass also makes it easy for the user to sense nibblers. It comes with one of the most durable and toughest blanks, making it an excellent choice. The Ugly Tech construction is a patented innovation that combines graphite and fiberglass. The result is an incredibly lightweight that stands up well to the elements. With three size options, this rod offers great versatility for a variety of fishing needs.
The Ugly Tuff guides are basically one-piece stainless steel guides that help prevent insert pop outs. Shakespeare incorporated an Ugly Stik Clear Tip design to ensure added sensitivity and strength. The EVA grip is firm and comfortable, even after long hours of fishing.
- Improved cosmetics offer a more modern look
- Lighter feel and better balance
- Twist lock reel seat
- Highly responsive thanks to fiberglass tip
- Minor issues with build quality reported by customers
Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod Pole Gear Equipment for Walleye Perch Crappie Pike Trout
One of our favorite things about the Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod is that it combines sensitivity with a solid backbone. The result is enhanced performance that any angler will appreciate. You will be able to feel nibbles easily thanks to a highly sensitive tip. The rod blanks are made from graphite, blank through handle construction. This means added durability without trading off the obvious benefits of graphite like lightweight and sensitivity.
Aluminum oxide guides are integrated to make this rod durable and lightweight. We love the fact that the line flows effortlessly through the rust-proof stainless steel guides. The solid cork handle offers a firm grip. It is shaped and sized for maximum comfort and feel. The rod is 24 inches long and has a medium light power level. You can also purchase the 30” long version with medium power.
- Retains the normal benefits of graphite construction
- Durable construction and solid cork handle
- Relates excellent feedback to the angler
- Available in two sizes for varied fishing needs
- A little stiffer than usual for ice fishing
Frabill Ice Hunter Ice Fishing Rod
The Frabill Ice Hunter 27” us a medium light action ice fishing rod designed with solid graphite blanks for optimal sensitivity. Graphite is also incredibly flexible, making this rod suitable for a variety of fish species and angles. It comes with stainless steel guides that are rust proof and ensure the line flows effortlessly. They also prevent freeze up. The tapered hook offers a good feel and comfortable grip, even when dealing with stubborn fish.
Another notable feature is the convenient hook keeper. It is well balanced, thus guaranteeing the utmost feel and control. The super fast tip puts a whole lot of hurt to nibblers. This rod has an overall length of 27 inches and can handle light to medium weight fish.
- Stainless steel guides prevent freeze up
- Solid graphite blanks offer optimal sensitivity
- Tapered cork handles with comfortable and firm grips
- Features convenient hook keeper
- Doesn’t include reel as advertised
St. Croix Avid Glass Panfish Ice Rod
This ice fishing rod uses precisely tapered solid carbon blank that ensures great performance on the ice. Its profile is specially designed to durable and lightweight, even when loaded with jigs. a Kigan stripper guide is incorporated in a bid to make the rod lightweight and low profile. The running guides combined with the super sensitive carbon handle provides precise feedback on tiny nibblers.
It is basically a triple threat combining innovative technologies with high quality materials and several decades of experience in the tackling industry. Its size is particularly ideal for any size of fish. While reasonably priced with a great feature combination, this rod is on the stiffer side.
- Ergonomically designed
- High quality construction
- Excellent rod for catching walleye
- Performs well in icy weather
- A little on the stiffer side
St. Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod, MIR24ML
The St. Croix Mojo Ice boasts innovative technology, performance, craftsmanship and feature combination, all at a reasonable price. It meets and exceeds angler expectations, making it one of the best ice fishing rods on the market. Highlights include a specialized reel seat and handle. The split group cork/EVA handle has a reduced mass that makes the overall rod weight lighter. It also offers direct hand contact with the blank, thus increasing sensitivity. The split grip configuration is particularly comfortable in an angler’s hand.
This rod has a twist grip locking mechanism that allows you to get a tight positive lockdown on the reel foot. It comes with tapered precision carbon blanks to boost sensitivity and strength. It is decked with stainless steel guides to prevent freeze up.
- Custom reel seat is ideal for all fishing techniques
- Features lightweight stainless steel guides
- Precision tapered carbon blanks are super sensitive
- Split grip cork/EVA handle has a firm, comfortable grip
Clam Outdoors Dave Genz Legacy Series Ice Fishing Rod
The Dave Genz Legacy Series from Clam Outdoors is a custom made ice fishing rod made from graphite. It is highly sensitive and features a fly tip as well as recoil guides, making this an extremely lightweight rod. It comes with premium 24T graphite blanks, which make it super sensitive while retaining its durability. The Wynn grip is textured and the handle slip resistant, hence a firm hold when dealing with jittery fish.
This rod uses Pacbay single leg fly guide and twister stripper guide to ensure that the line flows smoothly. These guides also offer a balanced rod from the handle to the tip. It comes in six sizes ranging from 24” Ultra Action for coaxing giant panfish to 28” Medium Action for the big Walleyes. You will be able to feel the slightest nibbles that often go unnoticed with lesser quality rods.
- Balanced from the handle to the tip
- Available in six sizes for different fishing needs
- Super sensitive 24T graphite blank
- Wynn grip textured handle is comfortable and slip resistant
How to Choose an Ice Fishing Rod
The choice of a good ice fishing rod comes down to a few conditions i.e. power of the rod, building materials, and type of fish targeted. Unfortunately, advancements made in recent years have made deciding on a rod a complicated task. Laying out specific expectations of a rod that’s perfect for you will make the search easier. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should consider.
Ice fishing rods fall into four categories depending on their power – ultra light, light, medium and heavy. The power describes how well a rod can endure pressure before it succumbs and starts bending. When deciding on the right rod power, be sure to consider the type of fish you are after as well as your fishing style. Low action rods work best for smaller species that weigh 2-12 pounds while heavy action rods are more adept with larger fish species like trout.
Given the tendency by fish to put up a fight upon being hooked, rod materials can make the difference between landing or losing a fish. In addition, the rod should be able to withstand the strain exerted on both ends without bending or breaking. That said, your best options will be limited to graphite and fiberglass. Graphite is lighter and more responsive, hence more expensive. On the other hand, fiberglass offers more flexibility and durability. Some manufacturers make their rods with carbon fiber because it is lightweight, strong, durable and sensitive. It is also pricier compared to fiberglass and graphite.
Ease of use
When it comes to ease of use, you will want to consider the rod length you’ll need. This varies depending on the type of fish targeted. A longer rod will work best if you need something that can provide more power and absorb shock well. If you will be fishing in fairly closed in conditions, a shorter rod will prove beneficial.
Comfort is of paramount importance when fishing in the winter. Be sure to look at the materials built into the handle. Both foam and plastic materials don’t provide a lot of sensitivity. In addition, foam has a tendency to absorb water and weigh the rod down. This makes your grip feel more like an ice cube. While graphite handles offer increased sensitivity than other materials, they make it more expensive to own an ice fishing rod. Cork is more affordable and offers a perfect balance between sensitivity and comfort.
It is also crucial that you look into the mounting options when assessing the comfort of a fishing rod. Electrical tape is the most popular method of fastening reels because it allows for a lot of sensitivity and good balance. Avoid rods that are too heavy because they will result in arm fatigue and shorter days of ice fishing.
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