Best Ice Fishing Rods

Ice fishing may seem easy, but in order to be successful at this challenging sort of fishing, you need to have the best gear collection. It’s challenging to name just one rod as the only perfect through the list of best ice fishing rods because it much depends on the location, the weather, and most crucially your targets. Depending on the prey, you may require an ultra-light or quick action rod, but if you use the wrong rod action and length, you’ll miss the catch while also have to deal with really cold weather.

Line sensitivity is a requirement for ice fishing rods as well while rod length is also a factor you can’t ignore. Because different anglers have different styles of fishing, some prefer to stand while others fish from a hut which can be done with a shorter rod. In conclusion, there are a variety of elements you may take into account when looking for the best ice fishing rods.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the best ice fishing rods to improve your experience, taking into account a variety of factors that could influence your cast and match the needs of modern anglers.

Top 3 picks for the ice fishing rods

No.1
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
4.6
  • Fiberglass rod construction
  • 1 piece rod
  • Stainless steel guides
  • 30 inches max length
No.2
13 FISHING Widow Maker
13 FISHING Widow Maker
4.6
  • 36ton graphite construction
  • ALPS thin wire coated guides
  • Portuguese Cork handles
  • Available in multiple lengths
No.3
St. Croix Rods Mojo Ice Fishing Rod
St. Croix Rods Mojo Ice Fishing Rod
4.5
  • Carbon constructed Rods
  • Split grip/ EVA handles
  • Stainless steel Guides
  • One piece Rod

List of Best ice fishing rods 2022

1- Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

best ice fishing combo

FEATURES
  • Fiberglass rod construction
  • 1 piece rod
  • Stainless steel guides
  • 30 inches max length       
  • EVA handles
  • Spinning reel size 20
  • Twist lock reel seat

Let’s start with a well-known brand of fishing rods “Shakespeare” where its Ugly GX2 Spinning rod is one of the best spinning rods, its ice fishing setup is also the best ice fishing combo. Selecting a perfect reel size is a special task here so by choosing this model, you will be free from this confusion

This one-piece rod fulfills all the ice fishing requirements because how can an Ugly Stik rod disappoint you? This one has a fantastic balance of quality, value, and durability. The rod features a robust lower backbone and a soft tip. It is just as sturdy as previous ugly sticks. I don’t believe there is anything better for ice fishing at this pricing point.

It’s a fiberglass rod so stiffness and durability are key features. It’s strong enough to land a big catch and with EVA handles all you get is a strong grip which is a top requirement for ice fishing.

Four different line lengths with light to medium heavy power rods are available. The medium-sized stainless steel guides hold the line evenly and resist freezing. Overall it’s a quality ice fishing rod that has the ability to tackle aggressive catches.

Pros
  • Offers Firm grip
  • It’s an affordable price rod and reel combo
Cons
  • Lacks super sensitivity
  • elementum felis blandit

2- 13 FISHING Widow Maker

best ice fishing rod for walleye

FEATURES
  • 36ton graphite construction
  • ALPS thin wire coated guides
  • Portuguese Cork handles
  • Ultra-light to medium heavy power options
  • Available in multiple length sizes

13 fishing Widow Maker is a powerful and sensitive rod because of its 36-ton graphite blank construction. This rate of modulus is usually not preferred due to increased stiffness but the manufacturers maintained the perfect balance. The rod has the required flex and feels comfortable in the hands.

I personally tried to catch some pan fish and trout and wasn’t disappointed. The rod has the capability to detect fish bites and allow the angler to feel even the smallest nibble. Here the line sensitivity comes at a price, if budget isn’t an issue for you then definitely 13 Fishing should be your first choice.

Well-reputed Portuguese cork handles make it easier to hold a rod in any fishing style. The ALPS thin wire guides are durable and more sensitive than the regular stainless steel guides and for enhanced performance use a braided fishing line.

Eight different lengths range from a minimum of 24 inches to a maximum of 42 inches the selection is all dependent on your style and location. It’s a recommended ice fishing rod perfect for bass, walleye, and pan fish when combined with the perfect reel.

Pros
  • The ideal type of rod for ice fishing
  • Each part of the rod i.e. guides and rod tip offers great sensitivity
Cons
  • Expensive option to add to ice fishing collection

3- St. Croix Rods Mojo Ice Fishing Rod

best sensitive ice fishing rod

FEATURES
  • Carbon constructed Rods
  • Split grip/ EVA handles
  • Stainless steel Guides
  • 28 inches Length
  • One piece Rod

St. Croix Mojo might look like it will snap easily but it is one of the durable ice fishing buddies with the finest sensitivity feature. It lets you feel what’s beneath the water. This one-piece carbon-constructed fishing rod is popular due to its versatility the anglers can adopt any ice fishing technique using this one.

Great thing about this rod is its large-sized eyelets which are generally preferred and the stainless steel lightweight guides maintain the perfect balance between rod and line.

To ensure a firm grip on the rod cork and EVA handles are added, you can pick a split cork or fully gripped handle. It’s all a perfect combination of durability, sensitivity, and comfortability with the ideal length for this type of fishing. The price may be a peace of concern for some users but it is fair when compared with its premium performance.

Pros
  • Technique specific, perfectly designed for ice fishing
  • Large eyelets keep the line from freezing up
Cons
  • It may be expensive for some anglers, especially those who don’t want to spend an amount on ice fishing gear

4- Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Rod

best budget-friendly ice fishing rod

FEATURES
  • Fiberglass rod construction
  • Graphite spinning reel
  • Cork Handles
  • 1 piece fishing rod
  • 24 inches length
  • Rod and reel Combo

Many recreational anglers don’t want to spend a fair amount, especially for ice fishing rods. Many ice rods are within the budget of under $30 which I have tried to add to this list.

Berkley Cherrywood is one of the budget-friendly ice fishing rods with plenty of satisfied anglers with its performance. It’s an ice fishing combo so you will be saved from reel search and a durable Berkley graphite reel is all set with a Berkley rod.

The 24 inches ultra-light one-piece rod is quite portable and offers the required durability and backbone flex to land your target fish. Fiberglass rods are usually second preference against graphite rods for ice fishing but this one amazed us with its performance. I was able to land plenty of pan fish with this rod.

Instead of a split, a full cork handle is attached which adds comfort to the holding ability. The stainless steel guides with large eyelets are all you need in your best ice fishing rod and reel combo.

Pros
  • One of the budget-friendly options for ice fishing collection
  • Offers the required sensitivity
  • Durable enough to handle large fish
Cons
  • Quality of line guides needs improvement
  • Should be available in multiple lengths

5- Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Fishing Rod

best ice fishing rod for small fish

Abu Garcia Vendata best ice fishing rod for small fish
FEATURES
  • Carbon Fiber construction
  • Spinning Fishing technique
  • 1 piece rod
  • 27 inches length
  • Medium-Light Power

Abu Garcia Vendetta fishing rod is also a fairly good and budget-friendly option. It’s a carbon fiber ice rod that offers sensitivity and flexibility when required. Carbon fiber rods are usually preferred because they are light in weight and their flexible construction transmits vibrations from a fish biting the hook through the rod.

This product follows the spinning fishing technique so wouldn’t be a challenge for novice anglers. Moreover with EVA handles you can enjoy gripped hold on the rod.

It’s a good quality product good for small fish. Its attractive cosmetics also attracts anglers who are a fan of fancy and color-full fishing rods. Fairly a good rod to add for smaller catches.

Pros
  • Rod’s construction material made it a lightweight rod
  • Fancy cosmetics
Cons
  • Not ideal for big fish catch

6- Shimano Convergence Ice Fishing Rods

best ice fishing rod for big fish

FEATURES
  • Carbon fiber rod construction
  • 1 piece rod
  • Zirconia Guides
  • Cork Handles

Ice fishing is a special type of fishing its different from your every weekend nearby lake/pond fishing. Anglers plan trips to catch something remarkable and for this, a high-performing ice fishing rod should be bought.

The popular ice fishing catches are Walleye, Northern pike, lake trout, and blue gill. To land these catches Shimano Convergence is a winning option. In comparison to basic stainless steel guides, it contains Zirconia guides which are more durable and light in weight. On top of that, these types of guides can bear abrasive lines so you can pick braided fishing lines for big fish.

These carbon fiber rods offer flexibility and tip sensitivity which are the main requirements for catching like trout. The option of using heavy baits is also a plus point to this rod. Overall it’s a high-quality rod with 10 different models with power and actions.  Use a 500 reel size spinning reel for a perfect cast in the ice hole.

Pros
  • Competent to land big catch
  • Allows to use of heavy baits
  • Lightweight lines guides
Cons
  • Ultra-light rods are only preferred for smaller catches

7- Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

 best ice fishing rod for lake trout

FEATURES
  • Fiberglass construction
  • 23 inches rod
  • 1 piece ultra-light
  • Cork Handles
  • Stainless steel Guides

Shakespeare Wild series is one of my favorite ice fishing rod setups, the highlighting point in this series is the rod backbone when setting the hook and with well-balanced flexibility, you can land pan fish and walleye with confidence. It is durable as well as sensitive it alarms and triggers with every slightest fish bite so you wouldn’t miss a catch.

That is not all, it is one of the lightweight rods on the list of best ice fishing rods and cork handles that offer strong hold are all signs of the perfect ice fishing rod.

It’s a fiberglass rod with stainless steel guides. The reel seat is all set to fix your reel and prevent reel loosening. It is one of recommended fiberglass ice fishing rods if you are fed up with your old one. Moreover, it’s a pretty smart option to pick this one when you are fishing from the shade.

Pros
  • Lightweight rod
  • Enough sensitive
  • Enough Backbone
Cons
  • Light power model should offer more backbone and flex

8- KastKing Konvert Twin Tip Ice Fishing Rods

best ice fishing rod for travel

best ice fishing rods
FEATURES
  • Glass/ Fiberglass rod construction
  • Available in both rod materials
  • Two different actions rod tips are available
  • Cork Handles
  • Orange Color tips
  • 17 inches length unassembled
  • 3 piece rod package
  • 27 inches when combined

Now here comes the solution to your big confusion between fiberglass and graphite rod selection. It is always a big debate that which one is better. So rather than going with two different brands, you can enjoy both in one fishing rod brand and model.  Each type of rod comes with a rubber- enforced cork handle, lower butt, and two different actions adjustable bright- colored rod tips. One is medium and the other one is medium-light. You can pick fully graphite or 100% glass tips according to your lure and rod action.

KastKing Konvert is so light in weight, that it gives the impression isn’t able to land fish other than smaller ones. But that’s the main point, it is strong, durable, have enough backbone, and has flexibility but is still lightweight.

It’s a total of a three-piece set, which makes it a travel-friendly option, it’s portable and comes in a clear plastic tube to save the rod from damage. It is one of the versatile ice fishing rods that lets the angler pick graphite or fiberglass rod in the same model.

Adding more to this, when unassembled it’s just 17 inches. Overall it’s 27 inches long. Isn’t that incredible that a telescopic fishing rod feature is also added to this rod?

Wait!!! How can I not mention its sensitivity feature? The premium quality rod tips are highly sensitive and transmit the slightest strike vibrations from the tip directly to the handle. It’s a worth buying product and different from your basic ice fishing rods, must give it a try.

Pros
  • It’s a two in one fishing rod
  • Perfect for travelling
  • Comes in a plastic tube for safety
Cons
  • Bands that hold reel needs improvement

What qualities your best ice fishing rod should have?

It goes without saying that your ice fishing rod must be powerful enough to reach your target in the freezing water. In addition to this, there are some other worthwhile considerations that are equally significant. These general factors like rod construction material, action, and power really matter when it’s about crappie, bluegill, or other giant catch.

Ice Fishing rod material

The major difference between construction materials is the rate of sensitivity graphite rods are more sensitive than fiberglass rods however less durable and much stiffer than fiberglass. Here the main confusing point pops up!! When to use which type of ice fishing rod?

For target specie like walleye, crappie, and smarter fish like trout where rod sensitivity is a vital requirement picking a graphite rod is wiser as compared to fiberglass. 

Rod Power

It’s very much dependent on the type of fish. Targets like pan fish, walleye, crappie, or bluegill ultra-light to medium power rods are good to go.

For bigger giants, trout, and larger walleye and perch light to medium power rods should be picked but when it comes to fish like pike and Muskie which are popular due to their aggressive nature and fight till the end, heavy power rods are required to land them. You can also use heavier rods if you are using heavy lures.

Rod Action

The rod’s action specifies how far it bends and then returns to its initial position in response to an applied force. Rod power and action are two puzzling concepts that are always mixed up. So rather than describing them or giving you a long explanation, I will prefer to choose a moderate to fast action rod for ice fishing.

Line Guides

Your line guides could freeze in extremely cold conditions. Generally, more and smaller guides are preferred on spinning and casting rods as they hold the fishing line and pass it evenly through its holes and prevent line tangling. Line guides also maintain balance and reduce line weight on the rod. For ice fishing rods, big-sized guides are preferred when you are fishing in extremely cold weather otherwise smaller guides are good to go for ice fishing.

Length

We already know that ice fishing rods are smaller in length as compared to other types of fishing rods, but the question of when to choose a particular length is up for debate. Rod length is mostly determined by the “style of fishing where many anglers fish within huts or other covered areas while others prefer stand-up fishing. The “shock absorption” that longer rods provide over shorter ones is the primary distinction between short and long ice fishing rods. Therefore, short-length ice fishing rods are favored for fishing within shelters, but you must put up the physical effort, as opposed to longer rods, which are more forgiving but less sensitive. Everything has a cost, so it is preferable to choose your fishing strategy.

Rod handle

Different rod handles of different materials like plastics, foam, cork, or rubber are available each has a different grip level. Ice fishing entails moist conditions, thus it is absolutely necessary to handle with a solid grip. Many ice fishing fishermen prioritize cork grips in this situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Final thoughts

You may have noticed after reading the entire article that many of the criteria depend on the target species. One fish size may require an entirely different fishing setup as compared to the other one. Even a fishing reel type also varies with the size of the fish. Small targets can be done with spinning reels while monster catches require bait casting reels for a tough fight. So ice fishing setup is totally different from your basic gear collection, you must have the best ice fishing rod with a perfect reel which hope so will no longer be impossible after this guide.

Leave a Comment