10 Best Ice Fishing Rods Reviewed

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Best Ice Fishing Rods

Hello there, and welcome to our review of the best ice fishing rods. As winter sets in, many fishermen want to brave the cold weather and try their luck with ice fishing. But having the right equipment is essential to enjoy the ice fishing season.

Researching these ice rods has been a blast. I’ve gotten the chance to have first-hand experience with each rod while also hearing from other anglers on my team. After 17 hours of research, my team and I decided these ten were the best based on length, stiffness, and weight.

Our best overall pick is the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo ice fishing rod and reel. It’s an excellent choice for anglers looking for a high-quality, durable, easy-to-use ice fishing rod. This ice rod weighs in at just 0.6 pounds, has a comfortable cork handle, and is light-action. Although light and small, the carbon blank gives this rod extreme strength, which ensures durability and control while you bring the fish in.

Whether you’re a veteran angler or a newbie, choosing the right rod can make all the difference in the ice fishing season. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top ice fishing rods on the market. We’ll compare their features, performance, and value to help you find the perfect ice rod for your needs.

Our Top 10 Picks

  1. Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo (Best Overall)
  2. 13 Fishing Widow Maker (Best Medium Power)
  3. St Croix Legend Black Ice (Best Splurge)
  4. Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod (Best Budget)
  5. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 (Best Durability)
  6. Berkley Cherrywood HD (Best Lightness)
  7. Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod (Best Medium Heavy Power)
  8. St Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod (Best Split Grip)
  9. Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod (Best EVA Grip)
  10. Fenwick HMG (Best Cork Grip)

The 10 Best Ice Fishing Rods

Below, we’ve listed ten different ice fishing rods in numerical order. This order depicts what we think are the best options on the market today.

Best Overall

1. Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo

  • Length: 3 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle: Cork
  • Weight: 0.6 pounds

First is the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo ice fishing rod and reel combo. It’s an aesthetically pleasing rod with a cork handle and a 2:6:1 reel ratio with a buttery smooth drag. 

Diving in, this is a 3-foot long, light-action, carbon fiber fishing rod. With this rod length, you’ll have more sensitivity and better control in deeper waters. If you’re searching for panfish that have a very light bite, the extra sensitivity is an advantage, especially when hook setting. 

This ice rod is meant for pan fishing (crappie, walleye, bluegill). But with the right line, you could pull in medium sized fish too. 

Next, the carbon fiber structure adds extreme strength. Plus, the aluminum eyelets (guides) decrease weight. 

This combo is light, strong, and a great “do everything” ice rod. That’s why the Frabill lands under our best overall pick. It’s reasonably priced and comfortable to use, plus the light action makes bites feel more prominent, increasing the fight.

If you’re in the market for a rod and reel combo that will make you smile all day, the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo ice fishing rod is the best ice fishing rod for you.

Best Medium Power

2. 13 Fishing Widow Maker

  • Length: 3 ft
  • Power: Medium
  • Blank: Toray Graphite
  • Handle: Cork + Plastic
  • Weight: 0.1 pounds

Up next, the 13 Fishing Widow Maker is a medium-action ice fishing rod. It’s a versatile rod that can catch anything from perch to lake trout. 

First, the rod is 3 feet long and weighs a mere 0.1 pounds. With the rod’s length and super light weight, setting the hook is as easy as lifting the tip. The material it’s made out of is Toray Graphite. It’s a high-quality carbon fiber material for constructing high-performance rods and aerospace components. The handle is a comfortable cork with a plastic reel holder to make it even lighter and sit in your hand right. 

This pole is a medium rod, but the extra sensitive tip makes it feel like an ultra light rod. If you enjoy catching monster fish with ultralight rods, look no further. Consider spending the extra dollars and get a 13 Fishing Widow Maker. This is the best medium power rod on our list, and if you plan on targeting big game this winter, this is the best ice fishing rod you can have. 

Whether it’s a pike or lake trout, your chances of landing one of these monsters increase with this pole. When deciding, consider the 13 Fishing Widow Maker as your final choice; you won’t regret it.

Best Splurge

3. St Croix Legend Black Ice

  • Length: 2 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Graphite
  • Handle: ‎EVA Foam
  • Weight: 0.3 pounds

Number 3, the St. Croix Legend Black Ice is a highly regarded ice fishing rod that’s won over many anglers. This ice fishing rod is one of the smallest on the list and best used for panfish (perch, crappie, bluegill), but it could handle something like a walleye. 

The pole is an exceptional ice fishing rod with excellent sensitivity and innovative features. The graphite blank and ‎EVA handle are extremely light materials that help you feel lighter bites. With that said, this rod falls under “light power.” This means catching your favorite species just improved (light power poles add a fun factor by giving you more action).  

The overall length of this rod is 2 feet, with a weight of 0.30 pounds. Since this is a shorter pole, you have improved jigging and better maneuverability in an ice tent. It isn’t the lightest on the list, but the extra beef guarantees stability and strength. With strength comes durability, and this rod has both. This rod can handle everything with high-quality components such as Fuji guides and reel seats, setting you up for success. 

Although, what sets this rod apart from others on our list is the high-tension Stainless Steel Strike Indicator. Its black coil spring is more sensitive than any other indicator on the market, making landing and feeling bites even easier. 

If you’ve got the extra cash, the St Croix Legend Black Ice Fishing Rod is well worth the money. Landing as our highest-priced rod, this one is worth the price ($80). However, if you’re trying to save a few bucks, no worries, there’re six other ice fishing rods on our list below $70!

Best Budget

4. Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod

  • Length: 2.1 ft 
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: E-Glass Carbon Composite
  • Handle: Stainless-Steel
  • Weight: 0.3 pounds

At number 4, we’re introducing the Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod. It’s a compact and lightweight fishing rod explicitly designed for ice fishing. It’s a light action pole that is 2.1 feet long, making this best for panfish (Crappie, Bluegill, Perch). A shorter rod ultimately gives you better maneuverability and greater control. As for the weight, it’s 0.3 pounds, which adds value to the hook setting (with a lighter rod, you can react quicker).

Starting with the makeup of this panfish rod, you’ll notice it features a durable e-glass carbon composite blank that gives you a both strong and sensitive rod. It also has stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts that help reduce friction. Additionally, the rod has a comfortable EVA handle that provides a firm grip even if you’re covered in snow and ice.

One of the standout features of the Fiblink Travel Ice Fishing Rod is its portability. The rod breaks down into three pieces, making it easy to transport and store. It also has a sturdy carrying case protecting the rod during transport and storage.

Another significant aspect of this rod is its price. This is our best budget buy and the cheapest option on our list. Priced at $19.99, this is a steal. Panfish anglers looking for a cheap ice fishing rod might want to give this ice rod a shot.

Best Durability

5. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

  • Length: 2.2 ft 
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Composite
  • Handle: EVA Foam
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds

Coming at you at number 5, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 ice fishing rod is a popular choice for many anglers. Its design is specific for ice fishing and suitable for various fish species, including panfish, trout, and walleye. This ice fishing pole is 2.2 feet and weighs 0.5 pounds. This matters for several reasons. It gives optimal control and jigging and also lets you fish with ease in confined spaces (ice huts).

The rod features a clear tip design. It provides excellent sensitivity and responsiveness to even the lightest bites. This is iconic with Ugly Stiks; the tips add a lot of play, making it a fan favorite. It also has a durable graphite and fiberglass blank that can handle any day on the ice.

The Ugly Stik GX2 ice fishing rod has steel guides designed to prevent ice buildup. Also, the rod has an EVA handle that provides a comfortable and secure grip, even if your hands are wet from digging your ice hole.

Lastly, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is an excellent choice for anglers who want durability and sensitivity. This extra flexible rod improves the fish fight, and no matter how far the pole bends, you won’t have to worry about it snapping. If you’re looking for all this in one package, look no further than the Ugly Stik GX2.

Best Lightness

6. Berkley Cherrywood HD

  • Length: 2 ft 
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Fiberglass
  • Handle: Cork
  • Weight: 0.2 pounds

Next, the Berkley Cherrywood Ice Fishing rod is lightweight, sensitive, and durable. It can handle panfish and medium sized fish without a problem. The blank is fiberglass, which makes it lightweight yet strong, truly making it able to handle most fish. 

The rod’s design has a cork handle that provides a comfortable grip for the angler and stainless steel guides that prevent ice build-up. It weighs 0.2 pounds and is 2 feet long. If you’re trying to become a master at jigging, the shorter length will help you do just that. This fiberglass rod comes with a spinning reel, making this the first of three combos on our list. The others are the Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo and the Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod. 

As a result of this, the Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice is the lightest combo on our list. This product comes ready to fish with a rod, reel, and line spooled up. Another great add-on is the reasonable price, as this is one of the cheapest on our list.

Best Split Grip

7. Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod

  • Length: 2.6 ft
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Blank: Fiberglass
  • Handle: Cork
  • Weight: 0.2 pounds

Number 7, the Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod, is a pole produced by Shakespeare. They’re a well-known brand in the fishing industry known for their fishing gear performance.

The Shakespeare Wild Series Ice is lightweight and durable enough for big fish. It features a fiberglass blank and stainless steel guides that resist ice buildup. The rod also has a comfortable cork handle, providing a secure grip even if you’re soggy from setting up your camp.

Additionally, this rod and reel combo weighs 0.2 pounds with a length of 2.6 feet and is a medium heavy rod. With a mid-range length, you’re getting the best of both worlds; control and portability. This also improves hook setting and increased sensitivity.  Since it is a heavier style rod, it’s best used for walleye, trout, and other medium sized fish. 

Altogether, if you add the strength of the line and reel, plus the durable steel guides, you can land lake trout and muskie without a problem. If you’re looking for a sturdy medium heavy ice fishing rod, consider the Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Rod.

Best EVA Grip

8. St Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod

  • Length: 2 ft
  • Power: Medium Light
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle: EVA Foam
  • Weight: 0.2 pounds

At number 8, the St Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod, is an ice fishing rod produced by St Croix. The rod provides exceptional performance and sensitivity, making it a popular choice among ice anglers.

The St Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod, features a high-quality carbon blank that is both lightweight and strong. The rod has a fast action, allowing quick and easy hook sets plus a sensitive tip that can detect even the slightest bites. 

Moving forward, the St Croix has a comfortable EVA split grip handle that provides a secure and comfortable grip. The rod is also designed with various specialised features. Such as stainless steel guides and a precision-taper solid carbon blank. This blank adds strength while increasing the flexibility of the rod. Consequently, making this rod one of the most sensitive on the list. 

At 2 feet long and weighing 0.2 pounds, this rod is medium light. It’s a shorter rod, so best used inside in a confined area. That said, the action on this pole will be incredible for 2-5 pound fish (walleye, panfish, rainbow trout), creating an even more adrenaline-filled fishing adventure. 

If you’re in the market for a fun medium light rod, the St Croix Mojo Ice is the best ice fishing rod for you.

Best Cork Grip

9. Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod

  • Length: 2.1 ft
  • Power: Light
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle: EVA Foam
  • Weight: 0.1 pounds

The Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod features a carbon blank, which makes it both strong and lightweight. The rod features stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts. This helps reduce friction and prevent ice buildup. 

The Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod has a comfortable EVA handle that provides a firm grip when needed. The handle also features an adjustable reel seat, which allows you to position your reel for maximum comfort and efficiency. 

Next, the pole is 2.1 feet long and weighs 0.1 pounds. With its shorter length, expect better maneuverability and portability. It’s a light action rod best used for panfish and medium sized fish like walleye.

Overall, the Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod is an excellent choice for fishermen who want a high-quality ice fishing rod to handle it all. Whether you are targeting panfish or medium game fish, this rod will give you the performance you need to succeed on the ice.

Best Medium Heavy Power

10. Fenwick HMG

  • Length: 2.4 ft
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Blank: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle: Cork
  • Weight: 0.4 pounds

Lastly, number 10, the Fenwick HMG ice fishing rod is another high-quality pole that can deliver exceptional performance on the ice. Like the Abu Garcia Vendetta, the HMG has a high-quality carbon blank that is both strong and lightweight. It also features stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts, which help reduce friction.

One of the critical features of the Fenwick HMG is its ergonomic handle, which provides a comfortable and secure grip. The handle is high-quality cork and features an adjustable reel seat that allows you to position your reel for what feels best. 

Following, the Fenwick HMG weighs 0.4 pounds and is 2.4 feet long. It’s rated as a medium-heavy pole capable of catching anything lurking under the ice (panfish up to lake trout). With the mid length, you’re blessed with hook setting and portability. With that said, the Fenwick HMG is a fantastic choice that would complement any ice fisherman on the water, and for $36, you can’t go wrong.

What To Look Out For When Choosing An Ice Fishing Rod

Once you start looking at ice fishing rods, you’ll notice there is quite a lot of information to gather. Luckily for you, we’ve selected the most critical information to explain further. 


It’s essential to consider the fish you’ll be targeting when choosing an ice fishing rod. Different species have different behaviors, which require different fishing techniques and different size ice rods. 

By considering the species you’re fishing for, you’ll be able to collect information to help select the right rod strength, sensitivity, and action to match the specific needs of the species you’re after.

For example, if you’re fishing for crappie, the best rod would be between 2-2.6 feet and light or ultra-light action. Whereas, if you’re on the hunt for lake trout, you’ll need a 3-4 foot rod with medium heavy action.


Ice fishing rods come in different lengths, ranging from about 24 to 48 inches. Shorter ice fishing rods are better for jigging and fishing in shallow waters, while longer rods are ideal for deeper waters and when you need to set the hook from a distance.

If you’re setting a hook with a short ice fishing rod, you’ll be using a looping hook set technique, but if you’re using longer fishing rods, it’s as simple as raising the tip. With that said, be sure to choose the correct length for your style of fishing. 

Power (Strength)

The rod’s strength refers to its ability to handle different weight ranges of lures and fish. You’ll typically want a medium or medium light power (strength) rod for ice fishing. These will be versatile enough to handle most species you’ll be targeting. 

However, if you plan to fish bigger fish such as muskies or pike, get a medium heavy to heavy strength rod that can withstand the power of these larger fish.


The rod’s action refers to how high up the rod bends when applying pressure. Fishing rods come in several action types, including slow, moderate, moderate fast, fast, and extra fast.

On the more sensitive side, you’ll have more play and action, so you’ll feel everything the fish gives you. Conversely, slower action fishing rods add stiffness and strength to handle larger fish. 

Consider what kind of fish you’ll search for before making your final purchase.

Note that I use action and power interchangeably throughout this article as that’s just angler-speak.

Strictly speaking, action refers to sensitivity, but pardon me as I find it hard to deviate from my natural instincts. Just note that when I say action, I actually mean rod power.

Blank Material

The blank is the foundation upon which all the other components of the rod are attached. For example,  the handle, reel seat, guides, and of course, the tip. The quality of the blank is critical in determining the overall performance of the ice fishing rod. 

A high-quality blank will give you a strong yet flexible and sensitive rod. You should be able to feel even the slightest nibble from a fish while and still be able to handle the weight and pressure of larger fish without the rod snapping or breaking.

When selecting an ice fishing rod, it’s essential to consider the quality and characteristics of the blank and the other components. This ensures you get a rod that meets your needs and performs well on the ice.


Guides are a critical component of an ice fishing rod. They help to control the line and distribute the stress and weight of the fish throughout the rod. Guides are the small metal rings or loops that run along the length of the rod, with the thickest guide, known as the stripper guide, which is located closest to the rod tip.

The primary function of guides is to help the line flow smoothly through the rod, reducing friction and preventing tangling or knotting. This allows for more accurate casting and better control over the lure or bait.

My Verdict

Choosing the right ice fishing rod can make all the difference in your fishing experience. It’s essential to consider factors such as length, power, action, and blank material when selecting a rod. Additionally, investing in a high-quality rod can improve your chances of success and make your time on the ice more enjoyable. 

If you’re indecisive like me and need a little extra help making a choice, I’ve got you covered. The Frabill Bro Series Straight Line Combo ice fishing rod and reel is the ultimate option for just about everyone. The carbon blank and cork handle make the design versatile, light, and strong. Also, the graphite reel that comes with the combo makes this product “ready to fish,” saving you time searching for other products. This rod is a blast to catch fish on, and I promise you’ll feel every bite that comes near your line. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, finding the right ice fishing rod is crucial for a successful day on the ice. You’ll be braving the cold weather, so take your time, do your research, and find the perfect ice fishing rod for your needs.

In the event that you need any other fishing gear, we’ve got you covered too. If you’re looking for ice fishing tackle, our compilation has got everything from ice fishing reels to ice fishing fish finders. If you just need fishing gear in general, this is our comprehensive list.

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Andrew Keaveny is an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for anything in the wilderness. Currently living on his sailboat and traveling the world, Andrew knows his way around the water. When he's not writing, he's enjoying the ocean, fishing, and photography.