Best Ice Fishing Rods: What are the Top Options?

Fishing is an activity that is loved all around the world and can be done alone or with someone else, but in places where lakes get frozen in winter, fishing might just be too challenging. Nonetheless, it has its own charm, and when you get a good catch at the end of the day, it is all worth it. The question is, “Is there a way to make sure that you do end up catching a fish during this season? Yes, you can do so by getting the best ice fishing rods.

According to experts, the best rods for ice fishing would be sturdy enough or made of high-quality materials. They should also have a comfortable grip and the perfect weight so that even if you fish for a long time, you will not feel too much strain. Today, there are ample kinds and choices when it comes to these fishing rods. Some may be specifically designed for ice fishing while others may be more versatile.

However, before you go ice fishing and shop around for ice fishing rods, you must keep in mind that ice fishing is not exactly for rookies as it requires a lot more gear and you should have the know-how of how it all works. This activity will also require a greater line depth because fishes move down deeper into the water during cold seasons. That is because that is where there is more food or preys for them.

As difficult as ice fishing might sound, it is still a comfortable activity as once you are all set, all you just have to do is to sit and wait for the fish to get hooked. Also, chances are there will not be other anglers to compete with for the catch as ice fishing is not everyone’s thing. So, If you are looking for the best ice fishing rods, here are six reliable and even famous ones:

Shakespeare USGXICE26M Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Rod

Shakespeare is a company that has been producing fishing products for 115 years. The Shakespeare USGXICE26M Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Rod is a product that has a clean and modern looking rod that carries the strength and innovation that is the namesake of Ugly Stiks.

Shakespeare USGXICE26M Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Rod, 26-Inches, Medium

Shakespeare USGXICE26M Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Rod, 26-Inches, Medium
  • Ugly Tech construction with a combination of Graphite and fiberglass
  • Ugly Tuff guides feature new one-piece stainless steel guides to eliminate insert pop outs
  • Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for extra strength and added sensitivity
  • Durable and lightweight EVA grips
  • Enhanced cosmetics for a more modern look

Features:

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is a 26 inches long fishing rod that has been constructed to do well with ice fishing. This has a medium weight, which is approximately 0.3 ounces, because that is what you will need when going ice fishing. This has been constructed using a combination of fiberglass and granite for better durability and enhanced strength level. Likewise, a clear tip design has been incorporated for more sensitivity while also bolstering strength.

On the other hand, the grip incorporated in this rod is a lightweight EVA material. Also, the Ugly Tuff guides are modern single piece items that are made from quality stainless steel materials. With that said, there is no more need for insert pop outs. In addition, there is a proper balance between the lighter and heavier sides of this rod. Hence, this is a new generation design for Ugly Stik but one that still carries the quality and strength of the name brand.

Further, if you are one for how a product looks, this is the one for you as well as the manufacturer has added the right cosmetics to make it look modern. It is one of those products that is an all-rounder as it has strong construction, innovative design, and the stamp of a name that is trustable.

Pros:

  • Easy and comfortable to operate
  • High-quality construction
  • Durable and reliable
  • Does not feel heavy in the arms
  • Great value for money

Con:

  • Bends a little in the middle

Berkley Cherrywood HD Ultralite Spinning Ice Rod

Berkley or Berkley Fly Co. is a USA-based company that offers fishing rods, lines, baits, and tackles and has been around since 1937.

Berkley Cherrywood HD Ultralite Spinning Ice Rod, 24'

Berkley Cherrywood HD Ultralite Spinning Ice Rod, 24"
  • 100% fiberglass blanks
  • Durable rod finish
  • Full cork handles
  • Graphite sliding ring reel seat
  • Stainless steel guides and inserts

Features:

The Berkley Cherrywood Spinning Ice Rod is a 1.6 ounces and 24 inches long product that is made from fiberglass blanks and has full cork handles. This one too, like most modern fishing rods features stainless steel guides and inserts. These inserts offer more toughness, but with a low weight in comparison with oxide guides. In addition, it also has graphite ring seats that slide really well.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and sturdy
  • Adequate size and length
  • Stainless steel guides for better functionality
  • Unmatched sensitivity
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to flick the baits and lures to the position you want
  • Suited for novice and experienced anglers

Con:

  • May not be suitable for a big catch

Fenwick AICE25MXFS Medium X-Fast Spinning Aetos Ice Rod

Fenwick is a company that has been dedicated to producing fishing products that meet the different needs of anglers for over 50 years. One of the products that they are proud of is the Fenwick AICE25MXFS Medium X-Fast Spinning Aetos Ice Rod, and the reasons behind such are detailed below.

Fenwick AICE25MXFS Medium X-Fast Spinning Aetos Ice Rod, 25-Inch

Fenwick AICE25MXFS Medium X-Fast Spinning Aetos Ice Rod, 25-Inch
  • Med X-Fast Spinning
  • Provided by Fenwick
  • Ice rod is made for ice fishing applications

Features:

The Medium X-Fast Spinning Rod from Fenwick is downright one of the strongest rods for ice fishing out there if not the strongest. It is exclusively made for ice fishing and is a 25 inches long rod. In case you did not know, Aetos rods are one of the very first ice fishing rods that were built like open water rods. It features solid graphite blanks and stainless steel guides and inserts. It has immaculate balance and sensitivity thanks to the combination of TAC split cork and cork handle construction.

There are multiple lengths and powers in the Fenwick Aetos series, but this one has the perfect length and power for ice fishing. This is perhaps one of the most sensitive rods out there as you will feel even the lightest bites. This is in part due to the fast tips that also give it incredible hook set ability.

Pros:

  • Sturdy and long
  • Strong grip
  • Highly sensitive
  • Innovative design

Con:

  • A bit expensive

Frabill Fin-S Pro Medium Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

As similar to the previous products we discussed, the Frabill Fin-S Pro Medium Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is also manufactured by a company that has been in the industry for several decades.

Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-Inch Medium Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Black

Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-Inch Medium Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Black
  • The CMMG, Inc Carbine Gas Tube With Roll Pin
  • Solid carbon fiber blank for increased sensitivity
  • Special stainless steel single foot ice guides
  • 3 plus 1 ball-bearing reel
  • Machined aluminum spool

Features:

Frabill Fin-S Pro is a 30 inches long, medium power ice fishing rod that has a weight of only eight ounces. Sold at a fairly high price, you also get a three plus one ball bearing reel and a machine-made aluminum spool. It also has solid carbon fiber blanks that offer enhanced sensitivity. You can say that it is different that way as many ice fishing rods use fiberglass for lightness. With that said, it basically combines the good qualities of fiberglass and granite.

In addition, the single foot ice guides on this one are worth talking about as they are made from a special stainless steel material. That is perhaps one of the many features that make it a truly high-end fishing rod. Likewise, this is one of those rods that is very versatile in terms of use. Whether one likes to fish for the big ones or the small ones, whether one fish in a shallow or deep body of water, this combo is best for all.

If we talk about the reel in this combo, that too lives up to the expectations. That is because the tapered drag knob helps reduce line catch. Also, the handle, that can be folded quickly, is ambidextrous so virtually anyone can use it.

Pros:

  • Highly flexible and strong
  • Lightweight
  • Superior quality and highly efficient reel
  • Can be used for any kind of hard water fishing
  • Great value for money

Con:

  • A little expensive

HT IB-36 Ice Blue Jig Rod 36″ Lt Spin

The HT IB-36 Ice Blue Jig Rod 36″ Lt Spin also belongs to a line of product that has been manufactured by an established company.

HT IB-36 Ice Blue Jig Rod 36' Lt Spin

HT IB-36 Ice Blue Jig Rod 36" Lt Spin
  • HT IB-36 ice blue jig rod
  • Tough, ice-blue graphite blanks, dark blue custom guide wrappings
  • Comfortable corkalon handles with Rings for reel mounting

Features:

As the name suggests, this product measures about 36 inches and has ice blue graphite blanks and dark blue custom guide wrappings. It has a weight of about one pound and features a smooth and comfortable corkalon handle with black rings for attaching a reel. On the other hand, they sport snake and stripper guides which are also found in the product line’s previous models. These line guides are made of chromed steel materials.

This product’s rod tip resembles a spring bobber which makes it highly sensitive and you would be easily able to tell when a fish bite. It is also a product that is comfortable to work with and is quite conspicuous too, although that is not something of high importance when it comes to fishing. It is the longest of the ultralight action rods from this maker.

Pros:

  • Extended length
  • Great for jigging
  • Easy to use
  • High sensitivity level
  • Great value for money
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Great flexibility

Con:

  • Might not be strong enough for catching really powerful fishes
  • Sometimes, the advertised length is inaccurate

St. Croix Avid Ice Series Jigging Rod

St. Croix Rod Company is amongst the most popular USA-based fishing rod manufacturers since 1948. It is the brainchild of brothers who are fond of fishing.

St. Croix - Avid Ice Series Jigging Rod, 27' Medium (AIR27M)

St. Croix - Avid Ice Series Jigging Rod, 27" Medium (AIR27M)
  • Designed specifically for jigging
  • Precision-taper solid carbon blank
  • Super-sensitive carbon handle
  • Kigan stripper guide with lightweight, low-profile running guides
  • Made in U.S.A. (with foreign and domestic materials)

Features:

The 27 inches long, medium power rod from the Avid Ice Series is sure to give other rods a run for their money. It features a precision-taper carbon blank and Kigan stripper guides that are equipped with low-profile and lightweight running guides. This is also a sensitive rod that can easily increase your catch. It also gives the control in your hands and has super flexible tips. You can use it with ice jigs, jigging spoons, walleye jigs or the Rapalas jigs.

You would notice that although it is essentially an ice fishing rod, it has characteristics similar to those found in open water rods. The Avid Ice Series is a favorite among many anglers who already love them since the first time they were introduced. It is definitely a strong choice that is capable of catching a variety of fishes.

Pros:

  • Perfect for all jigging activities
  • Highly sensitive and lightweight
  • High-quality construction
  • Easy to use and control
  • USA made from top to bottom

Con:

  • You might need to use zip ties or electrical tape to attach a reel.

Best Ice Fishing Rods: The Summary

Even for a small niche product like ice fishing rods, there are plenty of choices online. Unless you know what exactly you want, it can get a bit confusing. These six rods will take out any guesswork as working with them is quite straightforward. With mostly favorable reviews from customers who have used them over the years, these products definitely deserve to make the cut for the best ice fishing rods.

Choosing from the products above would guarantee that you get a good catch because they are all from well-known name brands that many anglers are already familiar with, and were constructed using quality materials. Also, these rods have not much rocket science to it. Almost all the products in question meet the requirements of flexibility and sensitivity, which are necessary for fishing. With that said, it comes down to the smallest details as to which appeals to you the most.

To give you an idea, the Ugly Stik and Berkeley rods provide greater sensitivity but are easy on the arms as they are light in weight. However, the Frabill Fin S Pro is the perfect choice if you are going for something that is ultralight but also powerful, functional, versatile, and efficient. On the other hand, the Fenwick Medium X-Fast has great balance and is best in terms of comfort.

As for pricing, these fishing rods are not that expensive, so you should be able to get any of your choices easily. Still, a few are pricier than others, mainly because of the materials used and the construction. Most rods do not come with a reel, and you have to buy it separately. The Frabill rod comes equipped with a reel and that too with high-quality and great features. As such, if you do not want the hassle of purchasing the reel separately and finding an entirely compatible one, this product should be your go-to choice.