Best Ice Fishing Rods

On this page we compare what we believe are the best ice fishing rods on the market. We’ll give our reasons for thinking this way in the hope that it might help you identify the best rod for you. For convenience, we’ve also provided some links through to in case you want to purchase right away. Although we earn a commission on anything you buy via these links, the price to you is the same.

Ice fishing rod features

Ice fishing, as the name suggests, is not for the tropical, thin-skinned type. However, it is easier than you might think, if you can handle the (lack of) heat, that is. Why be boxed inside your house, cleaning tackle and dreaming about the end of winter when you can seize the day, and some fish, in a cozy ice shanty on a quiet, frozen lake? Ice fishing is hands down, the best medicine for fisherman’s winter blues and hosts a better social network than Facebook when the cell towers freeze over. Although it is a simple method, it can yield great results, even more so with new SONAR technology and other new devices adapted to ice fishing.

This style of cold weather fishing is unique is its laid-back approach to the fish. No amazing casting abilities needed here; really the best thing to do after dropping a line and setting the feather-light rod in position is to sit back and relax. Rig your line with an attractive, artificial lure, a glow worm or maybe a live minnow, and for the fish below it’s like a tantalising mirage in the frozen wintery desert.


Besides the ice auger and optional weather-defying ice shack/shanty, the tackle needed to catch a record breaker is inexpensive and minimal. Bait fish, imitation lures, glow worms, wax worms and shiny jigs are all great ways to catch fish like crappie, perch, walleye and pike. Make sure to keep worm bait warm (a breast pocket in your jacket is the easiest way, although most intimate!); they die quickly when exposed to freezing conditions. Jigs pounded or slowly tapped in weedy waters can grab the attention from hungry, food-searching fish, but can also be used in clear conditions, especially at depth. A good rule of thumb is to fish higher water columns first before moving lower; fish don’t always stay at the bottom and can see things above them as well as below. Noisy, or rattlin’ jigs are ideal and tend to attract larger fish for some reason.

If you want to step up your game on the ice, SONAR products also known as ‘flashers’ in ice fishing lingo and LED (liquid electronic display) devices can bring fishermen up to speed as to where and how many fish are below them. Many serious fisherman “hunt” above the ice, using ice fishing technology to their advantage and drilling below the ice in multiple areas.

Ice Fishing Rod Specifics

Length and size

Typically no longer than 38 inches, the ice fishing rod looks like child’s play, but larger rods don’t fit inside the tiny ice shanty you might be fishing in! The last thing you want to do is jam or break a rod on the inside of an ice shack while reeling in or jigging for fish. Ideally, if fishing indoors, you should keep your rod under 26 or 28 inches. When fishing outdoors however, meaning without an ice shack, you can go up to 38 inches. Medium-action rods of 28 inches and longer are best for fighting trout, larger walleye and pike, while at the other end of the scale, ultra-light rods with fact-action tips start at around 19 inches, and are ideal for smaller pan fish.

What to look for when purchasing an ice fishing rod

Overall ice fishing rods are small, naturally lightweight and hassle-free. Most ice fishing rods will have stainless steel guides and/or extra large guide eyes as they resist freezing up the best in cold conditions. Another thing to look for is a comfortable grip; although no casting is needed, it is best to have a good grip when fighting fish that could potentially take your rod under the ice with them!

What are the best ice fishing rods on the market today?

24” Eagle Claw Inline Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combination

With a smooth Teflon drag system it is allegedly very easy to catch fish with this great looking Eagle Claw rod and Reel combo(!). The drag is easily adjustable although it is different than older reel types and may take a few bites to get used to. At 24” the graphite blank is stiff and comes with a large, comfortable EVA foam grip.

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Berkley Lightning Combination Ice Fishing Rod and Reel

Ranging from 24 to 32 inches, a Berkley Lightning is made out of solid fiberglass and built with over-sized guides, giving maximum movement and won’t freeze up in cold conditions. They are known for their fast action and rotatable hand grip. We like.

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We hope you found this useful. If you know of an ice fishing rod you think we should add to this page, please let us know which one, and why!

[Image credit: Wikipedia]