When out on the water ice fishing, anglers should be using fishing gear specific for the colder activity, rather than just warm weather gear. Being out in the cold means your fishing equipment needs to be engineered differently to match the winter elements.

There is no casting, so short rods, jigs and hard lures are better for ice fishing and will make the tracking of a winter catch easier. Whether it’s a big fish or a smaller fish, ice fishing season needs its own fishing equipment to keep up with what can sometimes be fast action.

How to Choose an Ice Fishing Pole

  • Material – A graphite or fiberglass rod are a good way to go. A graphite rod is strong, whereas a fiberglass rod is lightweight. Flexibility and durability are important, especially for catching bigger fish.
  • Length and weight – Older rods tend to be around 24” but now can be found up to 40”. Choosing the right rod length should depend on where your ice hole location isand, in a hut, or not.
  • Action – You want to find a good balance when it comes tofast action. A faster rod (bends near the tip) is better for a good hook but can snap since it’s less flexible. A medium action rod may be the best way to go as it bends near the middle.
  • Power – This is the pressure it takes to bend. If you are going after bigger fish, use a heavy power rod. Lights are good for the smaller species.
  • Line Weight and Guides – 6-pound lines are most common, but go heavier if you’re using a heavy power rod. Guides should be sturdy to prevent twists.

Best Ice Fishing Pole

Best Ice Fishing Pole

Here are some the best picks for an ice fishing rod that’ll work for any ice angler.

1. St. Croix Mojo Series

This is a carbon fiber rod that has good action, moderate power and is mid-range price. The smaller models are built to have spinning reels with larger poles having the ability to have a casting one. The moderate power poles are 24 or 28” with stainless steel guides. They have a split cork handle that allows the angler to feel what’s happening on the line. They have sturdy reel seats as well.

2. 13 Fishing Tickle Stick

No bobber is needed with this rod as it has a flat tip. It has clean hooksets each time. The tip is sensitive and will let you detect bites easily. It is a good rod for small or bigger catches. However, the flat tip means it is more prone to breaking so good storageis important. The reel seat is good and the handle comfortable so hand placement can be varied. It can take lots of line weight and most size lures up to mid-range.

3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

This a great graphite rod and a size 20 reel combo if you are heading out in search of Walleye. It is a good jigging rod as it has flex and good action for visible movement. It is lightweight and perfect for microbaits. It is extremely sensitive. This rod can be used right or left-handed. It comes in three sizes depending on what you are heading out to catch.

4. Fenwick HMG

This is a medium-heavy pole that is on the bigger side and on the lower end of the price spectrum. It is longer than most but great for catching walleye or pike. It can use multi-hook lures, includes a hook keeper and has aluminum oxide inserts that create line guides that are strong and reduce the friction on the line. The cork handle providesa comfortable grip. The pole is strong but sensitive enough to feel even small bites on the line.

5. Fenwick Elite Tech

This strong graphite medium-heavy rod is great when going for the larger fish and is not overly expensive. Its tip is fast, and you can get good clean hook sets. It works with both spoons and jigs. The tip is sensitive and will let you feel any line activity. It is a light rod even though it is longer. As a bonus, this rod can use a baitcaster reel if you want.

6. St. Croix LBI24ML Legend Black Ice Rod

The Legend graphitepole is one of the best. It is flexible and strong. It has one spring bobber to help make it more sensitive. It comes in various power ratings to suit your fishing style. It comes with a locking reel seat that helps with stability when you have a big catch.It has stainless steel guides that need a little more lubricating than usual but overall a great pole. It is lightweight but able to handle almost any type of fish you might hook.

7. Duckett White Ice Rod

This is a high-end rod that is one of the best and that is reflected in the price. It is well balanced and lightweight while being strong with good sensitivity. It is low-resin, so it has more fiber per unit, meaning the angler is going to get good strength with less weight. The handle is made from triple-A cork and has a Fuji reel seat. All rods styles have been used and tested by some of the most avid anglers. Higher price but the quality is great.

8. St. Croix CI28MLXF Custom Ice Rod

This is a series of rods that offer extreme performance. They are solid carbon with REC recoil guides that have a black pearl finish. All poles have a split grip high-grade cork handle for comfort and sensitivity. These rods have versions that will work with whatever type of fishing you are going to do. They come with a great 5-year warranty.

9. 13 Fishing AA27L-MAG Archangel Ice Rod – 27 in

An innovative carbon pole for out on the ice. It has a fox hole hook keeper, double diamond-covered guides, a highly visible tip and overall great sensitivity. The blank and handle have been merged into one piece, so vibrations are very obvious. It is durable and easily deployed.


Ice fishing is a great winter activity that isn’t overly complicated, so long as you’re using the right gear. Buying the right fishing pole is important though if you are going to have a successful time out. Make sure you find one that is strong and comfortable that fits your budget. There is something for everyone, no matter how big or small the gear budget is.