Best Ice Fishing Rods In 2023
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Fall is fast waning, and winter is beckoning. Now, if you love winter and enjoy the outdoor cold breeze wisping your face, perhaps you should consider going out for ice fishing.
Ice fishing is a great way to get over the possibility of suffering from extreme cabin fever. You need to put on your warmest clothes, grab an ice auger and probably an ice shelter, and you’ll be good to go. But there’s one thing that you cannot afford to forget, and that is the best ice fishing rod.
The best ice fishing rods should have good sensitivity and should be strong enough to haul even the heavy and struggling fish. Additionally, they should be sturdily constructed and able to withstand the freezing temperatures.
But which are the best ice fishing rods that meet the above criteria?
We’ve scoured through the internet and in collaboration with the leading experts in the domain; we shall present you with a comprehensive review of the top 10 best fishing rods in the market. Additionally, we’ve created a massive buyer guide that will help you make a more informed decision on your next purchase.
The Best Ice Fishing Rods
- 1. Berkley Cherrywood Ice Fishing Rods
- 2. BaitRunner Ice Fishing Rod
- 3. Berkley Lightning Ice Fishing Rods
- 4. Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod
- 5. Fenwick Aetos Ice Fishing Rods
- 6. Fiblink 4 Pieces Travel Casting Ice Fishing Rod
- 7. Frabill 690002 combo straight line
- 8. St Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing Rod
- 9. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Rod
- 10. Frabill Fin-S Pro Ice Fishing Rods
|Ranking||Ice Fishing Rods||Weight||Dimensions|
|#1||Berkley Cherrywood||8 ounces||32 x 6 x 5 inches|
|#2||BaitRunner Ice Fishing Rod||6.4 ounces||28” Medium|
|#3||Berkley Lightning||4.8 ounces||7'0" Medium|
|#5||Fenwick Aetos Fly Rods||1.4 pounds||10'- 3wt|
|#6||Fiblink 4 Pieces Travel Casting Rod||8-14 lbs.||7’6’’|
|#7||Frabill 690002combo straight line||8 pounds||1 x 1 x 1 inches|
|#8||St. Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing Rod||1 pound||18"-24."|
|#9||Shakespeare Ugly Stik||8 pounds||26.5 x 5 x 3.5 inches|
|#10||Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-Inch||9.6 pounds||30 x 5.5 x 3.5 inches|
Ice Fishing Rods Reviews
1. Berkley Cherrywood Ice Fishing Rods
Regardless of whether you’re new to ice fishing, or looking to add another rod to your fishing tools collection, the Berkely Cherrywood is an excellent option. The Cherrywood comes with a slew of desirable features, including an impressive blend of flexibility, as well as durability.
Sure, fiberglass might not be the most durable materials we have, but you’ll be surprised at how this unit holds up well even in frosty conditions. This fishing pole is durable than you would expect, and it does not compromise on its integrity. The real ring real seat is built using graphite which enhances durability on this unit.
The guides and inserts are further constructed from stainless steel, meaning this unit is sturdy and strong enough to lift the light to medium fish from the icy waters. However, the design-build means that the sensitivity and ability of this unit do not excel at transmitting light bites.
Always consider the comfort level of any ice fishing rod you plan to buy. And with the Cherrywood, you get an incredibly comfortable unit that you’ll be pleased to use.
The full cork handles, for instance, are incredibly comfortable and feel good to use. We love the cork handle because it stays warm even in the cold and icy weather. Additionally, the rod is quite sensitive and will make it easier for you to detect strikes.
The Berkley Cherrywood is a budget option, and for its price, we think this rod is the real deal. However, don’t let the price of the Berkley Cherrywood trick you into thinking this rod is a flimsy product. In reality, Berkley Cherrywood is a durable and highly functional unit that is likely to reel some big catches than you would expect and is one of the best ice fishing rods around.
Ease of Use: 99
- Strong and durable construction
- Full cork handles for a comfortable grip
- Budget option
- Not sensitive enough
2. BaitRunner Ice Fishing Rod
The Baitrunner is such an excellent fishing rod that provides you with the experiences of a custom rod. A durable rod, the BaitRunner offers lots of sensitivity and will significantly help in boosting your performance during the ice fishing expeditions.
The E-glass construction on the Bait Runner makes this fish rod robust and durable. If the reviews are anything to go by, this rod is built for longevity, and it should serve you for many years.
Besides ruggedness, the E-glass plays a crucial role in improving the sensitivity of this unit. Therefore, you should have an easy time detecting even the lightest strikes.
The ABS type handle will provide you with lots of sensitivity alongside a firm grip. The tight setting of the hook enhances your grip as you reel your fish after hooking. We love the interchangeable bait cup that makes it easy to get to your bait. A lightweight model, the Baitrunner balances itself out effortlessly and will not result in arm fatigue, even after extended usage.
The Baitrunner is a relatively affordable ice fishing rod. For the price, you get dependable equipment that will deliver what it promises.
Ease of Use: 98
- Durable construction
- E-glass for comfort
- Not plenty of features
3. Berkley Lightning Ice Fishing Rods
Berkley is a performance-oriented fish ice rod that combines lightness and comfort and it will boost your performance whenever in use.
Berkley is a genuinely unique fishing rod that is constructed from 4 Ton Multi Modulus Carbon Composite Blank. The Carbon Composite construction makes this unit quite durable and able to stand up against the harsh frosty conditions.
Besides functionality, Carbon Composite is lightweight, meaning that this equipment will not weigh you down during your fishing expedition. The robustness on this unit is highlighted by the presence of a stainless steel guide containing aluminum oxide particles. The steel guide is sturdy and will not rust even when left in moist conditions.
The Berkley comes with a slew of features that will enhance comfort as well as ease of use. For starters, this rod comes with a cork handle designed to provide a soft grip and won’t rub or irritate your hands.
This unit comes with a lightweight fiberglass construction for lightness, making the rod very efficient when in use. You will also not have to worry about muscle fatigue even after consistent and prolonged use of the Berkley fishing rod.
Berkley is the best ice fishing rods affordable option, especially for those looking to fish in ice and are on a budget. While, Berkley is not a robust as some of the ice fish rods we’ve seen, it’s still a pragmatic choice for the price.
Ease of Use: 98
- Requires time to learn proper usage
4. Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod
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This fishing rod from Fiblink is a durable piece of equipment that will stand up whatever you throw at it. Highly versatile, this unit comes in a variety of sizes and can, therefore, accommodate the various fishing needs.
This unit is designed with user comfort in mind, and we love the comfortable grips on this unit.
Fiblink Graphite, like its name suggests, is built from durable graphite. The graphite-constructed frame is highly functional; it’s durable and will last for long without compromising on its structural integrity.
Further, graphite is generally light, so beyond this fishing rod offering flexibility and sturdiness, it’s equally lightweight, and provides a balanced feel. The ultimate results of using this fishing rod are that you get to experience a useful tool that is easy to use.
Like all the best fishing rods on our list, the Fiblink comes with an ergonomic grip design. The grip feels comfortable to use, and it has been fitted with a soft, excellent feeling cork. The cork on the handle enhances the user experience, and it will let you achieve a sturdy grip.
We had also mentioned that this unit is exceptionally lightweight, and the benefit of this is that it does not bog you down when fishing.
The Fiblink is the best ice fishing rods mid-range product on our list. However, despite its affordability, this unit has plenty of desirable features, including the graphite construction, which puts it at par with some of the premium rods.
Ease of Use: 99
- Graphite construction for sturdiness
- Easy to use
- reel attachment don’t adjust down to a small enough spacing to hold the small reel
5. Fenwick Aetos Ice Fishing Rods
The best ice rods should be resilient to all types of mishaps, and they should come with the right weight. A versatile and functional unit, the Fenwicks let you focus more on your performance. This rod is quite sensitive and capable of an incredible performance, thanks to the high-modulus blank construction as well as Fuji Skeleton reel seats.
The manufacturer has not specified the material used in constructing the Fenwicks, but if the reviews are anything to go by, this unit is highly durable and robust.
According to users, the Fenwick is suitably adapted for handling task under a broad array of circumstances. The Fenwick assures you of a premium service for a long period, regardless of how harsh the weather is when you go out ice fishing.
Easy To Use
This quality rod is available in three different sizes ranging from 25″ to 30″, all variables with separate power and actions.
The varying sizes on this unit mean that this ice fishing rod can accommodate various users of different sizes. The 25″ option is ultra-light, ideal even for a kid, while the 30″ is medium-heavy, suitable for adults. Fenwick similarly comes with titanium guide and insert, which help at reducing friction and improving the overall durability.
Ease of Use: 98
- Multiple sizes
- Requires experience to handle this rod
6. Fiblink 4 Pieces Travel Casting Ice Fishing Rod
The Fiblink is a perfect fishing gear for long casting spinning. Constructed from the heavy-duty graphite, the Fiblink is extremely sensitive, lightweight and portable.
Carbon Composite Rod
Fiblink core is constructed with a carbon composite rod. The carbon construction on this unit renders the Fiblink highly sensitive, and this contributes to the overall performance and durability.
The rod on the Fiblink comes in detachable pieces, making it easier to transport without causing any damages.
Regarding comfort, this unit comes with Ultra-premium-grade cork grip handles on the ergonomic grip, thus promoting an easy grip. We love the 7+1 premium ceramic guide that lets the line low smooth and without friction.
The Fiblink falls within the range of most of the ice fishing rods on our list. Given there’re several models to choose from, you can pick a unit that is within your budget range.
Ease of Use: 98
- EVA handle for comfort
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- The length of the rod is a bit short
7. Frabill 690002 combo straight line
If you are targeting small fish like the panfish, we would highly recommend that you opt for the Frabill 690002 combo straight line rod. This rod is embedded with high-quality performance-based features that will make your fishing more enjoyable.
Any ice rod you choose to purchase should not strain you when ice fishing. You don’t want to cut the fishing expedition short because of fatigue caused by your fishing rod. This rod is built using a cork handle with a microphone-sensitive space handle design which enables you to detect the slightest of movement made by a fish. The cork handles also provide a warm feeling when handling the rod.
The durability of this fishing rod is emphasized by the graphite construction of the reel. The lightweight blended construction of this unit by use of graphite and fiberglass serves to enhance its durability and strength. The graphite material not only offers durability but also ensures the sturdiness of the rod and lightweight.
Ease of use
This unit has reel features that with a large balanced spool to enhance resuming rate without requiring backing line. The large guidelines of Frabill 690002 combo straight line also make it simple to use with ice-beaded lines.
If you are on a limited budget and would like to have a good ice fishing rod, then, the Frabill 690002 combo straight line offers real value for your money. Despite the fact that its relatively cheap price compared to other rods, you are assured of getting a rod that boasts of high performance, durable and good quality.
Ease of use: 97
- Relatively inexpensive
- Strong and durable
- Cork handle for a comfortable grip
- Comes with a short warranty
8. St Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing Rod
This unit features a custom reel seat and split-grip handle which makes it ideally suited for a variety of fishing techniques and styles. This series is designed from ultra-strong and stiff carbon fiber, making it super-sensitive even for sluggish of bites.
The unit series is built with stainless steel guidelines that prevent freeze up and ensures that your rod does not rust and will last for more extended periods. The customized accurate carbon blanks boost the strength of the rod as well as its sensitivity.
This unit comes with a split-grip cork/EVA handle, which is firm and provides you with a comfortable grip. The split-grip cork handle of this unit reduces the weight making it more lightweight. The split-grip cork handle also offers a warm feeling when handling the rod during ice fishing.
The St. Croix Mojo series ice fishing rod is constructed using a variety of materials such as silicon carbide, metal like aluminum oxide and stainless steel. The guidelines of this rod are of high quality; therefore, you can be sure that the rod will sustain the force that will result from the struggle with pulling a fish.
The St. Croix Mojo Series ice fishing rod is another excellent option to pick if you are working on a limited budget. This series is crafted using the latest technology with high performance based designed all combined in line with a reasonable price.
- Accurate, customized carbon blanks which are highly sensitive
- The spit grip handle is firm and provides a comfortable grip
- To some, not the very cheapest option
9. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Rod
The Shakespeare ugly stick is one of the best fishing rods for all types of angling techniques. It is constructed by using Ugly technology which blends graphite and fiberglass to come up with a lightweight and highly sensitive rod which is strong and durable.
The blend of graphite and fiberglass used to construct this unit enhances the strength of this rod as well as its life span. The stainless steel used to build the guidelines will ensure the rod does not rust; therefore, it can be used for an extended period.
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik comes with a soft, durable EVA foam handle which enhances comfort level when you will be handling this rod. The ported aluminum spool helps in reducing the weight of the rod and ensures added durability.
The sizing option that comes with the unit is the 26- inch light, 28-inch medium and the 38-inch heavy. An added advantage of buying this unit is that it comes with an inbuilt reel of size 20 making it a suitable tool for ice fishing.
The Shakespeare ugly stik offers great versatility resulting from its various features such as its ported aluminum spool for lighter weight. With multiple features that make this unit one of the leading ice fishing rods, it is easier to say its price provides excellent value for your money compared to the other rods.
- Comes with a reel attached
- Very sensitive
- Durable rod
- Not the clearest feel or action
10. Frabill Fin-S Pro Ice Fishing Rods
The Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-inch is a top-quality ice fishing rod with a reel blend constructed using a high-quality material. This unit stands out as a result of its various features which enhances the performance of the rod. There are various sizes you can pick from depending on your needs and build.
You should always consider the comfort level when you decide to purchase an ice fishing rod. This unit comes with a cork handle that adds to the overall feel capacity. Its reel is of a high quality which is designed for an effortless reeling operation.
Also, the component reel comes with a machined aluminum spool; therefore, you will not need straps to attach the reel to the handle.
This unit is available in various capacities in which you can decide to select. The sizes range from the 24 light ultra-inch to the 30 medium- heavy inch. There are also additional two options you can choose from, and they are 26 light inches and the 30 medium- heavy inch rod. You can find suggestions on how to use these fishing rods on the manufacturer’s website.
Getting a durable fishing rod should always be among the top factors you should consider when purchasing an ice fishing rod. The carbon fiber used to construct this unit not only increases its sensitivity, but it also ensures that the rod will last for more extended periods. The rod also incorporates steel guides which also add to the durability of the rod.
Frabill Fin-S Pro 30- inch offers excellent value for your money if you factor out the features and the materials used to construct this unit. The materials are of different variations with carbon fiber mostly featuring in making most of the blank.
- Reel seats make it easy to set up
- A bit expensive compared to other featured options.
Criteria Used To Find The Best Ice Fishing Rods
The base material of the ice fishing rod you choose plays a critical role in whether you are going to catch the fish or end up empty-handed. The tough ice fishing surroundings necessitate a firm and sturdy rod which can reach the fish below the ice using highly sensitive rods to penetrate smaller chunks to set the hook sets firmly
Ice fishing rods usually come in two materials, graphite and fiberglass or a blend of both. Graphite is highly sensitive, strong, and lightweight. Fiberglass is durable with incredible strength, but it is neither sensitive nor lightweight like graphite. To make up for the poor sensitivity, ice rods with fiberglass contain spring bobbers, which serve as strike indicators.
A lightweight rod is favorable because it’s easy to handle even for longer hours without getting fatigued. A heavy rod, on the other hand, will prove to be difficult to handle as it will tire you fast, leaving you with wrist and shoulders pains. But the rod you choose should not be at the expense of quality and durability.
Typically, anglers favor the ultra-light, medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy rods. But fishing lovers mostly prefer the medium weight rods Another weight aspect to consider is the weight of the ice fishing line and lures in which the ice rod is rated. Make sure the ratings are in line with the weight of your line and lure to achieve maximum performance of your rod.
Match the value of the rod against your money when shopping for the best ice fishing rod you will want. Whatever rod you purchase, you will want to have an affordable rod of high quality and high-performance boost that will serve you for a long time. Being on a limited budget does not necessarily mean you should go for a low-quality ice rod.
The type of handle in an ice rod is an essential factor to consider when choosing your best ice fishing rod. The ice rods come with a variety of handles, with others having full-length grips while some have a glued-on grip. The best ice fishing rod should have a clasp and comfortable grip.
Cork handles are the best for ice fishing because they are soft, lightweight and provide a feeling of warmth. Cork grips also contribute to the overall sensitivity of the rod, enabling it to detect the faintest of strikes quickly. Some selected ice rods feature expensive graphite handles but highly sensitive.
Durability is a vital aspect of any winter fishing ice rod. The strength of an ice rod is determined by the material with which it is made from, quality of its parts such as reel seats and guides, and how well it is built. Ice fishing rods constructed using fiberglass are more durable compared to those created using other materials.
In case you decide to combine your ice rod with a reel, it is vital to consider the bearing number on the reel. Reels come with ball bearings which reduces friction to enhance the smooth operation of the fishing rod. The quality of the bearings should be good so that it can perform its function well. The higher the number of bearings, the higher the performance level.
Most ice fishers focus their efforts on the bottom of the water. But as oxygen levels reduce later in the season, fish may start to feed higher in the water channel. Don’t focus too much on the bottom levels, especially when oxygen levels reduce. Fish may concentrate close to the surface where the water holds more oxygen levels.
Chumming the hole
Sometimes when you chum the hole, you tend to bring more fish close to your location. Take a few extra spikes, minnows or wax warms, crush them and lower them down the hole. Chumming a hole increases your chances of hooking up a fish.
Use a bobber to place the hook at the appropriate time
Most fish use less energy during winter; therefore, they are less aggressive. It means they won’t hit your bait as thoroughly as they would during summertime. For this reason, a bobber is needed because a slip bobber will help you to set the depth of line and see when a fish might be giving you movements.
Other Factors To Consider
The rod action defines how fast the rod bends when a load is put at its tip, and how quickly the rod resumes once the charge is removed. Types of rod available include fast, extra fast, slow action, and moderate rods.
Extra fast rods only bend at the tip and are incredibly stiff. Rapid movements rods typically curve from the tip. Moderate action ice rods curl in the bottom section while slow action rods are the most supple and bend evenly throughout the length
Slow action rods are suitable for catching small fish such as panfish. They also prevent the hook from tearing out of the fish’s mouth by retaining the shocks caused by fish pulling.
The best ice fishing rode is one that has a high performance in severe conditions and easy to use. The ease of using an ice fishing rode is defined by the number of the guidelines your fishing rod possesses. A fishing rod with numerous guidelines will perform better compared to the one with fewer guidelines. Pay close attention to ensure that the eyes are well aligned across the rod’s length. Also, make sure the guidelines are more prominent for easy use with ice- beaded lines.
For proper and easy to use, the rod should have a grip-friendly handle, have a balanced touch, and lightweight. Longer ice fishing rods give you more power and can absorb the pulling force that is generated by larger fish when trying to pull them from water.
Ice fishing rods come in various capacities for different ice fishing uses. The size lengths range between 16″ to 42″.The size is short compared to cozy, open water fishing rods. Ice water fishing involves lowering lures and lifting hooked fish through a small opening in the ice. The lack of long-distance casting is not an option, thus the shorter rods.
The type of fish you intend to catch will determine what length size of the rod you will need. Using a longer ice rod when pulling a larger fish will be easier as they soak up the shock when battling robust pulling fish species. Short ice rods are ideal when you are trying to catch small fish which do not generate strong pulling power when hooked.
When fishing during the winter season, consider an ice fishing rod that will give you the highest comfort level. An excellent ice fishing rod should not strain you while fishing. It should be light and well balanced and stress-free
The handle should provide a comfortable and firm grip at the same time. Cork handles are recommended as they offer sensitivity, soft sense, cozy, and warm in hand.
Also, determine how heavy your ice fishing rod is. The weight of your rod will significantly determine the level of comfort you will feel each moment you use your rod. You don’t need a massive rod that will tire your arm and cause you to cut short your enjoyable outdoor fishing.
There are two types of rods for fishing, spinning and baitcasting rods. Spinning rods are great when used for catching small fish. We advise that you use lighter lines with this type of rods to avoid breakage.
Newbies and average anglers mostly use spinning rods. The spinning reel is mounted underneath the rod while the real seat and line guides are built on the underside of spinning rods.
On the other hand, Baitcasting rods are well designed for catching big game fish. Baitcasting rods are made to provide power and control when fishing; thus, any shock that is generated when a fish is struggling to free itself is adequately absorbed. Novice anglers might find this type of rod a bit harder to handle. The baitcasting reel is placed on the top side of the rod while the reel seat and guides are on the high side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which is the best spot for ice fishing on a lake?
A: First and foremost, we recommend you call the local bait shop and ask for information about the ice thickness and safety levels. Request to view a map of the lake or check the state agency website for a map of the lake. The best point to begin ice fishing on a new lake during the early winter season is the area with the most significant weed cover on the lake. Most ice anglers are usually friendly and ready to help in case you need more advice or help.
Q: Which rod should I buy and with what type of fish can I target?
A: Basically, the weight of the fish you target will ultimately decide how much power you will require. If you are targeting small fish, low light, or ultra-weight will serve the purpose. A bigger fish will need a medium rod or heavy rod because they will be heavier to lift. Just remember the size of the fish you want to catch because it is the one that will determine the rod power you will need.
Q: Are there any real benefits for ice fishing?
A: Yes, there are real benefits that come with ice fishing. For starters, you get to go home with a nice dinner. And just like any other winter sport activity, ice fishing is a fun and exciting outdoor activity. The challenges you face during ice fishing only serve to make it more thrilling and worth your time. It is also an excellent opportunity to fish various species of fish such as panfish, perch, bluegill, and crappie.
Q: Is there a way that I can handle and test my rod? If I buy my rod online, can I still have the chance to test it?
A: You can test how smooth and durable rods are while you are in a store. In case you order online, you will still have the chance to test it out as the majority of online stores provide a refund period. To test your rod, take hold of it the same way you will hold it when you are fishing. Does it feel comfortable? Is it light? Is it effectively balanced? If it meets all of these criteria, the rod will meet our fishing expectations. Examine its built and features like line guides and reel seats to determine the durability of your rod.
Place the reel you will be using to discover if the outfit feels appropriately balanced. Test the bail to see if it closes and opens smoothly and working efficiently. Twist the drag knob to determine the ease of its movement. If you are content, you can keep the rod for your next fishing.
Q: Should I pick a well-balanced ice fishing rod?
A: A rod’s overall line balance will significantly influence your performance levels. A well-balanced rod will feel good on your hands, making it easier for you to fish for more extended periods without your wrist and shoulders being fatigued. Besides, ensure you purchase a moderate, flexible rod with a firm tip to improve your balance
Q: What is the meaning of getting the right sized Ice fishing reel?
A: Once you have your fishing rod, you will want to conclude by buying a reel that matches the size of your rod so that you can ensure high performance when you go fishing. You should keep in mind that most ice fishing reels are not meant to handle many lines.
Whatever size of fishing rod you choose to buy, always ensure you match it correctly with the right ice fishing reel.
Q: Which is the best drill to use, A Hand drill, or A Power drill?
A: Both devices work well. Usually, a hand drill is used early in the season, while a power drill is used when the ice is thicker in mid-season. But a hand drill is great because it is somehow quieter, so you are less likely to startle the fish.