Can You Ice Fish With A Regular Fishing Rod?

Can You Ice Fish With A Regular Rod

You can use a regular fishing rod for ice fishing but does that mean that you should? If you already have a regular rod and you do not want the hassle of having to find another rod.

Perhaps it comes down to cost and the added expense of buying new equipment. Whilst you can use a regular fishing rod for ice fishing, it is not always recommended.

If you are foregoing the spearfishing method and want a rod that will do the job, you can get an ice fishing rod for a reasonable price.

Ice fishing requires more specialized equipment than regular, warm water fishing so if you are in it for the long haul, it is worth investing in some more appropriate gear.

After all, you do not want to ruin your fishing trip and your chances of success by using the wrong kit. 

Typically, rods for ice fishing are much shorter (2-4 feet long) than regular rods (5-10 feet long) which allows you to perch closer to the water you are fishing in.

You are also able to grab your fish much easier off the line when it is caught as you are closer to it as it comes out of the water.

As the holes in the ice are often only 8” across, you need a rod that is easy to maneuver around the space.

You also do not want a rod that will make it difficult to use your flasher or camera, if you need to. Ice rods are designed for ice fishing and are therefore the ideal choice for your fishing trip.  

Shorter rods have the added benefit of fitting inside your shelter if you want to have protection from the cold weather while you fish.

Whether you are on a short fishing trip with a temporary structure such as a tent, or a longer expedition and staying in a shanty or stack, you will appreciate having a shorter rod for convenience.

They are also ideal for not getting in the way of your heater and other equipment.

If you are planning on sitting down and jigging the line gently to lure the fish, the last thing you want is a heavier, longer pole getting in your way.

If you are going to use your normal rod, you are probably better off dead sticking so you can feel bites easily. It can be tricky feeling bites under the ice so high sensitivity counts. 

A bonus of a shorter rod is that you can feel right when a fish bites so you can hook it instantly, due to heightened sensitivity.

You can get close enough to identify the fish, or identify the fish with an underwater camera, and present your bait.

The longer options of the ice fishing rods available will also allow you enough counter room to reel in stronger fish whilst still allowing you to get close to the water.

Unlike open water fishing where you cast your line out, ice fishing only requires you to drop the line straight down through the hole in the ice.

Another issue that can occur with a longer, regular rod is that it can be difficult fighting with a fish that is trying to escape.

If a fish is fighting against the line under the ice, your line can snap on the edge of the ice around the hole. Ice fishing rods offer you greater control and a higher success rate. 

If affordability is your primary concern about investing in a specialist ice fishing rod, then you have some options that might be better suited to you. You can choose to buy a complete ice fishing rod that suits your budget.

These can be found readily online and in fishing, and other outdoor stores for a range of prices depending on skill level and item quality.

However, if you still feel that the cost is higher than you would like, you can choose to keep your original spinning reel, so long as it is compatible.

If you use a regular reel, your line could get tangled, causing you to waste precious fishing time. You are going to want to use a lightweight line.

The best lines to use for ice fishing are braided, monofilament, or fluorocarbon. You can always use your regular rod but please keep in mind the issues addressed above.

It may be a good option for you to try out ice fishing first with your regular rod if it is your first time or if you think it will be a one-off experience.

It is still worth using your most sensitive and shortest rod for convenience. Weigh up the pros and cons for your situation as the chances are, if you are traveling for this fishing trip, you are going to want to make the most of it.