Best Ice Fishing Rods – Rods and Combos Reviewed in Full

I fyou are in a rush the Best Ice Fishing Rod is the Akataka Ice Fishing Rod.

If you’ve ever gone ice fishing, then you’re aware of the concentration and patience that it takes. By having the right kind of gear to go ice fishing, you can more easily concentrate and effectively catch fish through the ice. More specifically, the fishing rod is perhaps the most important element to consider before planning your ice fishing excursion along with a good pair of ice fishing boots.

The fishing market today for ice fishing rods is extremely diverse, and they come with features that not many people are aware even exist. This guide can help you to think about vital factors to take into consideration when you’re browsing the market. And it even contains some of the best ice fishing rods for your convenience.

The Best Ice Fishing Rods Go As Follows:

  1. Akataka Ice Fishing Rod with Carbon Fiber Constructions – (Best Overall)
  2. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel and Rod Combo – (Budget Option)
  3. St. Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing Rod – (Great Value)
  4. 13 Fishing Widow Maker Evolve Ice Fishing Rod – (Highest Performing)
  5. Fenwick Elite Tech Ice Fishing Spinning Rod – (Most Durable)
  6. Abu Garcia Venerate Ice Fishing Spinning Combos – (Most Convenient)
  7. St. Croix Custom Ice Rod – (Most Customizable)
  8. Fenwicks Methods Ice Fishing Spinning Rod – (Most Versatile)
  9. Fenwicks HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod – (Most Affordable)
  10. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Dock Runner Spinning Combo – (Most Convenient)

 

Product Reviews

1. Akataka Ice Fishing Rod with Carbon Fiber Constructions (Best Overall)

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5/5

Features:

  • 26 inches length
  • Carbon fiber construction
  • Cork handle
  • Stainless steel guides

Presented as a more durable and budget-friendly option, the Akataka Ice Fishing Rod is one of the most affordable and high quality poles on the market. It features a carbon fiber rod body that offers lightweight and hard properties. Not only is the rod durable and firm, but it’s also sensitive to pressure at the same time. With the flat tip technology included with this pole, customers like the fast-acting performance of the rod.

They say that it helps them conveniently catch more fish than other types of ice fishing rods on the market. Even more than that, this rod comes with a comfortable handle that has sturdy reel bases. The handles themselves are comfortable and help you to grip the rod with friction. As for the pole, there are stainless steel guides that can keep the fishing line in the right place to prevent any tangling.

Pros:

  • Made with an extremely sensitive tip so you feel practically every bite
  • Carbon fiber body is durable, sensitive and lightweight
  • Features a comfortable and firm handle

Cons:

  • Only available in either 24 or 26 inches

 

2. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel and Rod Combo (Budget Option)

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5/5

Features:

  • Comes as rod and reel combo
  • Size 20 reel for ice applications
  • Aluminum spool
  • Stainless steel guides
  • 1 ball bearing

Unlike most of the other ice fishing rods on the market, this Ugly Stik rod is available as a combo that provides you with both a rod as well as a reel. The size 20 spinning reel that’s included is capable of working in various different types of weather conditions, and the spool is made with a durable and lightweight aluminum material.

Furthermore, this Ugly Stik fishing rod features a clear tip design that has improved sensitivity and features a twist lock seat for the reel. The handle is classified as EVA, and the reel even comes with one ball bearing for your convenience.

Pros:

  • Available in medium, light or heavy tension
  • Features a twist lock reel seat
  • Comes as a combo with a rod and reel

Cons:

  • Rod is only available as a one piece, so it may be more difficult to transport it

 

3. St. Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing Rod (Great Value)

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4.5/5

Features:

  • Precision-tape solid carbon
  • Split-grip cork handle
  • Stainless steel guides

St. Croix released their Mojo Series of fishing rods with the desire to deliver optimal performance.This Mojo Series Fishing Rod is particularly beneficial for ice fishing because it contains a precision-taper solid carbon blank. The handle is extremely comfortable, since it’s made from a split-grip cork material.

And the reel seat is ideal for practically all types of ice fishing techniques. Even more, the guides included on this fishing pole are stainless steel and lightweight to ensure optimal performance. Individuals that have previous purchased this pole admire the overall structure of the rod, claiming that the handle construction is high quality and comfortable.

Pros:

  • Available in different tension styles, from light to medium or heavy
  • Includes a premium split-grip EVA handle
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Previous customers claim that the eyelets didn’t line up with the handle on the pole

 

4. 13 Fishing Widow Maker Evolve Ice Fishing Rod (Highest Performing)

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4.5/5

Features:

  • Solid body graphite construction
  • Portuguese cork handle
  • Flat tip technology

For a more high performance rod, this pole from 13 Fishing features a solid body made from a graphite material in order to give it a lightweight effect. This is especially beneficial for ice fishing because many customers have a positive review about the amount of sensitivity the rod has overall. Not only is it extremely sensitive to the fish bites, but customers also benefit from the quickness of the pole.

Furthermore, this pole contains a Portuguese cork handle that’s been hand selected. The guides are produced with a thin, double diamond wire material. And the pole itself features a two piece flat tip blank technology. All of these factors combined make the pole durable and easy to carry.

Pros:

  • Made with a lightweight graphite material
  • Contains a hand selected Portuguese cork handle for comfort
  • Has an evolving reel seat

Cons:

  • Some customers complain that they received the pole already damaged in the mail

 

5. Fenwick Elite Tech Ice Fishing Spinning Rod (Most Durable)

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4.5/5

Features:

  • 28”
  • 100% high modulus graphite
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Zirconium oxide inserts

The Fenwick Elite Tech fishing rod is formulated with 100% high modulus graphite blanks that help to keep the overall construction sturdy and long-lasting. To make sure that the fishing line is kept where it’s supposed to be, this pole comes with smoked stainless steel guides that have Zirconium oxide inserts.

By having Zirconium oxide inserts, you don’t have to worry about the material developing rust or corrosion over time. Lastly, this pole is available in various different lengths, ranging from 16 inches all the way to 42 inches. Customers prefer this pole over many others because of its range in available sizes.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Made with Zirconium oxide inserts and stainless steel guides
  • Available in sizes anywhere from 16” to 42”

Cons:

  • Customers claim that the handle is lower quality and uncomfortable to hold

 

6. Abu Garcia Venerate Ice Fishing Spinning Combos (Most Convenient)

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4.5/5

Features:

  • Low temperature gear lube
  • Extended reel stem
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Carbon fiber construction

Conveniently, the Abu Garcia Venerate Ice Fishing Rod is available as a combination with the reel. It’s classified as a spinning rod combo, so the reel included functions as a spinning reel with the rod. It comes as a three bearing system, and it’s produced with low temperature gear lube.

In addition to that, this has an extended reel stem that can help you more easily manage the spinning reel system, and it’s produced with a solid carbon blank. Customers claim that they prefer this combo from Abu Garcia more than combos released from other companies because it’s more sensitive and easier to use. They also say that the overall construction is nicer, since the reel is extended for easier functionality.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Available as a combo that comes with a reel in addition to the rod
  • Includes an extended reel stem

Cons:

  • Acts as a spinning reel system, so it may not be suitable for everyone

 

7. St. Croix Custom Ice Rod (Most Customizable)

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4/5

Features:

  • Cork handle
  • 20”, 24” or 28”
  • Fast tip

If you’re looking for a rod that has optimal customization, then this rod is beneficial because you have the ability to choose the specific size of this fishing rod. Available sizes range from 20 inches to 28 inches. The various size options is beneficial because customers claim that they can conveniently choose a rod based on their indoor ice fishing or their outdoor excursions.

In addition to that, these St. Croix fishing rods offer great sensitivity needed for ice fishing in particular. Previous customers even claim that the rods not only have the sensitivity that they’re looking for, but they also have a great backbone for hook sets.

Pros:

  • Fully customizable
  • Optimal sensitivity
  • Available in different lengths for various locations

Cons:

  • More expensive than other rods that offer more features

 

8. Fenwicks Methods Ice Fishing Spinning Rod (Most Versatile)

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4/5

Features:

  • Interchangeable actions
  • Improved grip on handle
  • Comes with a hard travel tube

Offering maximum versatility, the Fenwixks Methods Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is able to interchange between blank actions. Because of that, you can control the amount of power and sensitivity that the pole has. This is especially beneficial if you often switch locations when you’re fishing, and many previous users really like this feature.

In addition to that, this fishing rod is beneficial because it comes with a TAC handle that can help you to grip the pole in all types of weather conditions. This product even comes with the hard travel tube for your convenience.

Pros:

  • Offers you the ability to interchange between blank actions
  • Handle provides the grip you need in all types of weather conditions
  • Comes with a hard travel tube

Cons:

  • You’ll have to purchase a spinning reel that’s compatible with this pole separately

 

9. Fenwicks HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod (Most Affordable)

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

3.5/5

Features:

  • Graphite construction
  • Black stainless steel guides
  • Aluminum oxide inserts
  • Premium AAA grade cork handle

For those looking for a more affordable option, the Fenwicks HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is available in various different levels of tension. It has a high modulus graphite blank and even features tapered construction that has more moderate actions for your convenience.

Even more than that, this fishing spinning rod is great for beginner customers because it has black stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts to ensure that the line doesn’t get tangled while you’re fishing through the ice.

Pros:

  • Features a twist lock reel seat that can ensure the reel stays in place
  • Customized handles made from a premium AAA grade cork material
  • Formulated with a graphite material for durability

Cons:

  • Offers various lengths, but the tensions vary within each size

 

10. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Dock Runner Spinning Combo (Most Convenient)

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>>Check Price on Amazon<<

3.5/5

Features:

  • 36” length
  • Comes with rod and reel
  • EVA grips with twist lock reel seat
  • Pre-spooled
  • 6 lb line

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option that still offers optimal convenience, then you may benefit from purchasing this Shakespeare Ugly Stik Dock Runner Combo. Not only does this product come with a rod as well as a reel, but the pole features a durable and high quality construction.

More specifically, the rod comes with an Ugly Tech construction that contains both fiberglass as well as graphite. This combination of materials helps to ensure both durability as well as easy portability. The reel even comes pre-spooled, so you don’t have to worry about setting this pole up and wasting any of your time.

Customers love the fact that it comes as a combo, but they also love this product because of its low maintenance. Since the reel comes pre-spooled and it has 6-pound line in it, you don’t have to worry about setting anything up with this Shakespeare product.

Pros:

  • Comes pre-spooled
  • Low maintenance
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Only available as a 36” rod

 

How Do I Choose the Best Ice Fishing Rod?

ice fishing on lake

Rod Length

The rod length is one of the most important considerations because it helps to determine the amount of pressure you’ll feel when the fish bite. It’s also important to consider because some rods may be too long or too short for the specific environment that you’re fishing in.

To be more specific, you have the option of going ice fishing inside of a hut on the ice or outside on the open on the ice. If you’re going ice fishing inside of a hut or other protective area, then you’ll want a shorter fishing pole. Shorter rods are easier to control and maintain when you’re indoors, but they aren’t very sensitive to pressure.

On the other hand, you can get away with using a longer rod if you’re fishing outside on the ice. Longer rods are able to absorb more head shakes and they can be beneficial for fishermen targeting larger fish. By using a longer pole outside on the ice, you have more room to prepare to cast and reel.

Best Line to Use

There are various different types of fishing line on the market, but the best two types to use for ice fishing purposes are either monofilament line or fluorocarbon line. You’ll need a fishing line that’s specifically made for ice fishing conditions, given the cooler temperatures, the abrasive environment, the light bite sensitivity as well as the stretch of the line.

Both monofilament and fluorocarbon lines offer different benefits, and they both have their downsides.

Monofilament line features a low memory nature and gives a smooth action to the spoons and jogs. It’s more buoyant in the water than other types, so it’s great for ice fishing purposes. The downside of using it may be that it isn’t as sensitive as fluorocarbon fishing line.

Fluorocarbon line is a more high quality fishing line than monofilament, since it’s more durable and has a higher sensitivity than other types of lines. It also has less of a stretch than monofilament, so you’ll essentially have a higher success rate when catching fish.

Not only that, but fluorocarbon fishing line is capable of sinking into the water at faster rates than monofilament, so it’s great for ice fishing in deeper waters. On the downside, fluorocarbon usually coils up if it’s been on the spool for a long period of time. But this can be avoided if it’s taken care of properly.

Sensitivity

The sensitivity that a rod has is perhaps one of the most vital features to consider before you decide on purchasing a particular one. Since you really can’t see into the water or the types of fish that you’re around on the ice, you pretty much only have the pressure of the pole to go off of when fishing.

That being said, it’s important that you have an ice fishing rod that is extremely sensitive to any type of pressure that it experiences. By having a rod that’s sensitive, you can feel practically any type of bite from the bait underneath the ice and in the water. With a highly sensitive pole, you can more effectively catch a larger amount of fish.

Material

Just like with any standard fishing rods, ice fishing rods are available in various different types of material. The two main types of ice fishing materials are graphite and fiberglass. Both of these materials have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it really depends on your personal preference.

Graphite rods tend to be more expensive, but they also have more sensitivity than fiberglass rods. Their blanks are more flexible, so they have the ability to bend sooner and alert you when any type of nibble takes place.

As a downside, it’s more expensive. But the price may be worth the improvement in performance. On the other hand, fiberglass rods are cheaper and more durable than graphite. Given its durability, fiberglass is able to withstand more wear and tear along with the much cooler temperatures when ice fishing.

But it has disadvantages, including the fact that fiberglass poles aren’t as sensitive as graphite rods. They take more time to bend compared to graphite, so this may take away from the overall amount of fish that you can catch.

Action

With ice fishing, you’ll most likely not be tightly gripping your pole the entire time in order to feel for any little bite that you can feel. Instead, you’ll want to be able to sit back and relax while your pole is sitting up. That’s why it’s important that you use an ice fishing rod with fast action when you’re ice fishing.

The action of a rod will essentially determine the rate at which you’ll feel a bite or a nibble take place. So by having a fast-acting rod, you can quickly feel any nibbles within a shorter period of time. Other than fast-acting rods, there are also ultra-fast rods as well as medium actions and slow actions.

The type of action that a rod has also determines how much the rod will bend. Typically, the faster the rod is constructed, the less it bends. So ultra-fast acting rods will only bend at the tip and slow-acting rods will bend practically to the handle.

Comfort

As mentioned previously, ice fishing takes patience and time. There will be times in which you’ll be sitting and waiting for any type of nibble for what seems like hours. Because of that, you want to find an ice fishing rod that is comfortable to hold. In order to find the most comfortable rods, you should consider the features that the handle has.

More specifically, you’ll want to look at the material that the handle is made out of as well as the size of the handle. Most handles will come with a handle made from cork material, but some may have a foam exterior. Cork is a great material for a handle because it’s easy to grip, comfortable to hold and it works well with water.

If the specific type of handle that you have on your fishing pole isn’t comfortable or doesn’t have enough friction, then you do have the option of installing a handle grip on top of it. You can usually purchase these separately from any fishing market site.

ice fishing on lake

Where are you Fishing?

Ice fishing is obviously done while on frozen water. But you should think about what type of water you’re fishing on, since different bodies of water contain very different fish species. Smaller and shallow lakes will have smaller fish, like trout, panfish and some bass.

On the other hand, larger and deeper lakes will have a wider selection of fish that you are able to catch, including musky and pike as well. Not only is it sufficient to think about the type of water you’re fishing on, but the exact location on the ice is also important to consider as well.

If you’re planning on fishing in the middle of the ice water somewhere, then you’ll want a fishing pole that can be assembled into two pieces. This can make the pole easier to carry and transport from land to the middle of the lake.

What Type of Fish are you Looking to Catch?

Since different types of rods are known for catching different types of fish, it’s important that you first consider what type of fish you’re targeting before you purchase a particular rod. Rods can differ according to the amount of power that they have, and the power essentially tells you how much weight the pole is capable of catching.

The more power the rod has, the heavier weight it can support. Because of that, you’ll want a fishing rod that has a higher power if you’re planning on catching larger or heavier fish. There are typically four main levels of power that a rod can have, ranging from ultralight rods to light, medium or heavy rods. Each of them offer benefits in and of themselves, so you should review the specs of each before you choose the best one for your purposes.

 

Common Ice Fishing Fish to Catchmuskie pike

Not all fish like the cooler water, so you may want to think about what types of fish are even available to catch during the cooler months of winter. Usually the deeper waters are the warmer parts of water and the more shallow waters are colder, since they’re closer to the ice and freezing environment.

Consequently, fish that originally enjoy the deeper and cooler waters during the summer time will now usually be near the more shallow regions of the water. Depending on the specific type of water and region you’re ice fishing in, the types of fish species that you’re able to catch may vary. But some of the most common types of ice fishing fish to catch are panfish, bass, perch, walleye, pickerel, trout, pike and musky.

Price

The prices of ice fishing rods range across the market, just like the industry for all other standard fishing rods. There are brands that deliver more affordable rods, but they are sometimes produced with a lesser quality. Likewise, there are also brands that deliver more expensive products that are also not the best quality.

That being said, you should browse the market and review each of the different poles’ features and speculations. Make sure that the brand you’re purchasing from has a good reputation and delivers high quality products for their customers. Most well-made ice fishing poles can range anywhere from $30 to $100, but the average price that you should expect to pay is around $50.

Final Thoughts

Overall, each of these fishing rods are especially beneficial for ice fishing purposes because the rods are shorter and durable. Not only that, but each of these ice fishing rods has increased sensitivity that can help you to successfully catch higher amounts of fish.

Even though they each offer great features for ice fishing, your ultimate best bet is Akataka Ice Fishing Rod. Not only is this fishing rod affordable, but it has an overall construction that can withstand being beaten up. The carbon fiber material in conjunction with the durable and study reel base help to make the rod long-lasting.

You even have a comfortable handle, stainless steel guides as well as a sensitive tip to ensure a more efficient ice fishing process. Given each of these beneficial features, you should consider purchasing the Akataka Ice Fishing Rod on the market to prepare for your next big ice fishing excursion.

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