Ice Fishing Rods
Ice Fishing is a sport that requires a ton of equipment. There are dozens of different products that ice fishermen purchase, from reels and rods to augers and sleds every year.
Without a doubt, the most important part of ice fishing is having the right rod. Low-quality rods aren’t made to handle the rugged winter conditions, while high-quality rods are reliable and help anglers land monster fish.
Whether you’re fishing for larger species such as Walleye, Northern Pike, and Lake Trout, or smaller species such as Panfish, Rainbow Trout, and Perch, it’s important to have the right rod.
For example, a stronger rod is needed for Walleye, while a more sensitive rod is needed for Panfish.
Regardless of the species you target, we’ve got you covered. In this review, we’ll break down ten of the best ice fishing rods and help you decide which option best suits your needs.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 – Crappie & Trout
4.5 Stars | 108 Customer Reviews
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is a beast of an ice fishing rod. Ugly Stik designers built the blank of the rod using a sturdy combination of graphite and fiberglass materials. Pop-outs have been eliminated as well with the addition of one-piece stainless steel guides.
Although this rod is strong, it retains professional level sensitivity. The clear-tip design allows anglers to feel the lightest taps from even the smallest fish. This rod has the best-balanced qualities, ideal for Crappie and Trout fishing.
Customers rave about the durable and lightweight EVA grips used on the handle. They’re comfortable and provide extra friction to keep the rod from slipping.
It’s also a winner when it comes to aesthetics. The modern design of the rod makes it almost appear futuristic and ahead of its time.
13 Fishing Tickle Stick Ice Rod – Walleye
4.7 Stars | 196 Customer Reviews
Although 13 Fishing’s Tickle Stick has a funny name, it’s far from an amateur piece of equipment. The durability of the rod comes from the PC2 construction or parallel composite construction.
You’ll notice the rod has a completely flat tip. This is enabled through the linear placement of the fibers throughout the blank.
This is a great feature that has multiple benefits for anglers. As 13 Fishing puts it, “It increases the angler’s ability to detect both ascending and descending strikes with far more accuracy than any other ice fishing rod.”
It also increases the rigidity of the blank and ensures a long lifetime of the product. It’s these qualities that make it perfect for targeting Walleye.
The last defining characteristic of the Tickle Stick is its Custom Reel Seat. This feature is constructed from hand-selected 3A grade Portuguese Cork, which is as high quality as it gets.
St. Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod – All Species
4 Stars | 9 Customer Reviews
The St. Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod is arguably the most popular rod for ice fishing and boasts many great qualities. The blank (or body) of the rod is made from solid carbon, making the product a bit more expensive. However, even with the steep price tag, it’s still a great buy for the money.
The split-grip handle is offered in both cork and EVA grip types. The stainless-steel guides are lighter than the ones on most other rods as well.
Overall, the best thing about St. Croix rods is that they come with a generous 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. You won’t find another rod manufacturer who has this amount of confidence in their products.
Plusinno Ultralight – Beginner Friendly
4.4 Stars | 127 Ratings
The Plussino Ultralight Winter Rod is the most versatile product on this list. It’s well-suited for both serious ice fishermen and beginners. It has a professional-level performance and has no learning curve at all.
A fast-action tip and high-quality fiberglass construction allow this rod to be both sensitive and strong. You’ll really be able to feel everything that happens under the water.
Anglers have two models of this rod to choose from: the 27″ Medium-Light Power option and the 28 Medium Power option. There’s a Plussino ice fishing rod for every species around the country.
We say it’s beginner-friendly because it’s easy to assemble and is comfortable in hand for extended days out on the ice. If you don’t already own ice fishing tackle, this is a great first-time buyer option.
Shakespeare Wild Series – Lake Trout & Northern Pike
4.5 Stars | 99 Customer Reviews
The Shakespeare Wild Series Spinning Rod is now known as the go-to rod for anglers targeting larger fish species. The solid fiberglass, moderate action blank design can withstand the force of even the largest Walleye, Lake Trout, and Northern Pike.
Guides are something that’s often overlooked by novice anglers. The Wild Series has some incredibly rigid stainless steel guides that somehow manage to be lightweight as well.
The grips on this product give anglers plenty of leverage for fighting monster fish while remaining comfortable. Overall, it’s inexpensive and is a great value for the cost.
Abu Garcia Veritas Spinning Rod – Walleye
4.5 Stars | 97 Customer Reviews
The tough blank of the Abu Garcia Veritas Spinning Rod is made from 24-ton carbon. It’s a phenomenal choice for targeting larger fish species as well. The handle is made with the popular High-Density EVA split-grip that’s satisfying to hold.
A unique feature of the Veritas is the micro-click reel hood. It’s often a feature overlooked by anglers, but it ensures you’ll never have reel connection problems. No one wants their expensive ice fishing reel to break off from their rod while fishing.
It also features SS guide frames with premium aluminum oxide inserts.
13 Fishing The Snitch – Panfish
4.3 Stars | 39 Customer Reviews
The best rod for Panfish Ice Fishing is The Snitch made by 13 Fishing. It has a “soft touch” frame that gives you extra sensitivity to feel the lightest of taps. You’ll be able to feel panfish bites and hold the rod in a pistol grip position without the spool getting in the way.
This rod can be purchased as a Combo package with a Decent Reel, specially designed to be paired with The Snitch. The quick tip and high-performance reel let you feel even the smallest bites, creating the perfect panfish combo.
Fenwick Elite Tech Perceptip – Trout
4.1 Stars | 8 Customer Reviews
The Fenwick Elite Tech Percetip is a medium-strength rod, perfect for trout fishing. The lightweight ultra-light fly guides allow vibrations to be transferred from the line, down the rod, all the way to the angler’s hand.
Our favorite feature is the premium cork handle that Fenwick has featured. It’s molded to fit your hand position best and has TAC trim for extra grip.
Fenwick calls their tip color “Blaze Orange”, and it sure does provide contrast against the white snow. This makes it far easier to detect small fish bites when out on the ice.
St Croix Legend Black – Finesse Fishing
5 Stars | 2 Customer Ratings
The St Croix Legend Black Ice Rod is great for finesse fishing applications. The tip of the rod features an anodized, high-tension stainless steel strike indicator. It detects small strikes better than any other rod on the market.
Since the spring indicator system is both adjustable and interchangeable, you can customize the rod’s performance to match your exact fishing conditions. A blank built from precision-tapered solid carbon and a handle with a secure-lock reel seat make this a premium product.
While it doesn’t have the St Croix Mojo’s 5-year warrant, it does come with a 1-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
Berkley Cherrywood HD Spinning Rod – All Species
4.5 Stars | 113 Customer Reviews
The Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is undoubtedly the most versatile ice fishing setup on the market. It doesn’t have all the bells as whistles that other products have, but it’s durable and can be used to target dozens of species.
The blank is built from a 100% fiberglass construction, the handles are made entirely out of A-grade cork, and the sliding ring reel seat is made from graphite. Additionally, the guides and inserts are durable, high-strength stainless steel.
If you’re looking for a durable, reliable, and versatile ice fishing rod that will last for years, this is a fantastic option. You won’t have to worry about special pieces breaking or the lightweight nature compromising the strength.