Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Rods in 2022
If you’re an ice fisherman, then you know that the right gear can make all the difference in the world. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 10 best ice fishing rods for 2022. These rods are sure to help you catch more fish this winter!
Our top pick for the best ice fishing rod is the 13 Fishing Tickle Stick. This rod is perfect for beginners, as it is easy to use and very forgiving. It is also built with quality components, which means that it will last for years.
We’ve also reviewed several ice fishing rods from brands like Fenwick, Shakespeare, Shimano, and more. So, whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly option or something a little more high-end, we’ve got you covered.
Feel free to read on for more information or simply scroll down to see the full list.
13 FISHING – Tickle Stick – Ice Fishing Rods
Best For Beginners
Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
Best by Budget
Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
Top 10 Ice Fishing Rods Reviews
- 13 FISHING – Tickle Stick
- Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
- Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
- ST.CROIX Rod Mojo Split-Grip Eva Handle Lake
- Frabill 6986 Combo Spin Pnfsh Popper 30 Dead STK
- Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
- Shimano Convergence Ice Fishing Rods
- 13 FISHING Widow Maker 26″ Ice Fishing Rod
- Clam Jason Mitchell Meat Stick Rod
- Fiblink 2-Piece Portable Travel Ice Fishing Rod
1. 13 FISHING – Tickle Stick – Ice Fishing Rods
13 Fishing has quickly become a top choice for fishermen all over the globe with their amazing product lineup that includes some of the best ice fishing rods on the market today. The Tickle Stick ice fishing rod is one prime example of what 13 Fishing has to offer, and it’s quickly gaining a following among anglers for its incredible combination of performance and affordability.
One of the primary selling points of the Tickle Stick is its sensitive tip, which allows you to feel even the lightest bites when ice fishing. This makes it possible to detect even the smallest fish, and it can help you avoid missing any potential catches. Additionally, the sensitive tip also helps to reduce the amount of backlash that often occurs with ice fishing rods, making it easier to land fish.
I also noticed that this rod has a really good backbone. This is important for two reasons. First, it gives you the power you need to fight bigger fish without breaking the rod. Second, it helps to keep your line from getting tangled when casting, which can be a big problem with ice fishing rods.
This ice rod is currently one of the most affordable ice fishing rods on the market, and it offers a lot of features that are usually only found on rods that cost twice as much.
The Tickle Stick is also one of the lightest ice rods on the market, which makes it easy to transport and use. It also helps reduce fatigue when fishing for long periods of time.
One downside that I noticed was that the guides on the rod did not line up perfectly. This wasn’t a big deal, but it was a little bit annoying.
2. Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
The Fenwick HMG is meant for a variety of fish like perch, trout, walleye, and bass. It’s a high-quality rod with sensitive carbon blanks.
This one has stainless steel guides that won’t rust as easily, due to the aluminum oxide inserts. It also comes with a durable reel seat to complete the package.
It’s easy to pull the fish from the ice as it has a comfortable cork handle. Plus, it has plenty of backbone which is always taken into consideration.
It’s sensitive, so you’ll notice even the most tender bites. You can choose between a few rod length and action options, although the 27” medium is best for ice fishing.
3. Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
This Shakespeare Wild Series fiberglass rod is ideal if you’re going to fish inside your ice shed. It has more guides than what you’d see on most spinning rods, which makes it more suitable.
It has soft fiberglass blanks with moderate action and stainless steel guides. It’s a durable piece that can handle frequent use and all kinds of conditions.
What stands out the most is the combination of flexibility and strength. It has plenty of backbone for you to fight different types of fish.
The light tip makes it easy to feel even the lightest bite. Plus, it has HTG – Hybrid Tech cork grips for maximum comfort.
Keep in mind that the grips do soak up water since they’re not waterproof.
4. ST.CROIX Rod Mojo Split-Grip Eva Handle Lake
St. Croix Mojo Split is one of the best ice fishing rods suitable for other fishing styles. It works for many techniques and species like trout, panfish, pike, lake trout, and walleye.
The precision-taper solid carbon blank gives you the right amount of action, strength, and sensitivity. But it’s lightweight, so you’ll get fast action.
This product has Sea Guide stainless steel guides, which makes them a bit more durable.
Another thing we should mention is the split grip handle. It gives it extra balance and sensitivity, so it’s comfortable to use even in the cold.
Overall, you can tell it’s handcrafted since it feels nice and comfortable to use for hours on end.
5. Frabill 6986 Combo Spin Pnfsh Popper 30 Dead STK
Frabill has been around since 1938, so you’d assume they know what they’re talking about. And, it’s true. They do know, and it’s why we still trust them.
The 6986 Combo fiberglass rod is excellent if you’re looking for a rod to start ice fishing with.
The panfish system is made to enhance your casting, strike detection, and overall performance. It comes with an ultra-sensitive micro-spring bobber, a custom reel seat with cork, and micro ice guides.
Its reel is quite simple to work with, especially thanks to the anti-reverse function.
It has solid fiberglass composite blanks for maximum durability and resistance. We should also mention the ambidextrous handle, making this one suitable for right- and left-handed anglers.
Also, the pole is treated with Sub-Zero lube to enhance its water and cold resistance.
6. Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
Berkley Cherrywood HD is a great ice fishing rod to start with. It’s affordable, so you won’t break the bank when you’re still not sure whether you like ice fishing in the first place.
It’s made from fiberglass and has a comfortable cork handle. This means it has the perfect amount of durability and flexibility for catching different fish.
Also, Berkley Cherrywood has three guides, which means better performance in freezing temperatures. It’s ultra-light and durable, so it’s unlikely to break even when fighting crappies up to 22”.
The only downside is that its guides aren’t as strong as on other products. But this one is significantly cheaper, so it’s somewhat understandable.
7. Shimano Convergence Ice Fishing Rods
Shimano Convergence is a great ice fishing rod to use for trophy fish like pike and trout. It does a great job battling some of the biggest fish as it has a perfect strength-to-flexibility ratio.
It’s a one-piece rod with ultra-light power and fast action. But, Shimano offers other sizes and power varieties, depending on the fish you’re targeting.
This fast-action tip makes it easy to drop big baits in deep waters. On top of that, the heavy power allows you to throw different hooks and battle various fish.
It features an optimized guide placement with Zirconia and coil guides. Also, the seamless cork and carbon reel seat bring extra versatility and ease of use.
It feels nice in hands, thanks to its cork handle and lightweight rod blank.
8. 13 FISHING Widow Maker 26″ Ice Fishing Rod
The Widow Maker is another ice fishing rod that’s both strong and sensitive. It’s meant for trout and other fish that have a soft nibble but fights hard once it’s hooked.
This product is up for the challenge as it has enough flexibility to bend without breaking. In addition, it can handle violent head shakes and heavy-duty fights.
Still, it’s delicate, which means you’ll still feel even the softest bite. This also allows you to use finesse baits.
Like most products, the Widow Maker is made from high-quality materials. It has diamond-coated guides, a cork handle, and a Toray graphite rod blank for maximum durability and performance.
As always, the company offers many variations and sizes. However, I’d say the 26” medium light would work well for most people.
9. Clam Jason Mitchell Meat Stick Rod
Clam Jason Mitchell is one of the first rods with a sanded tip. This allowed it to produce rod action that goes from a light tip to a heavy backbone.
It’s among the best ice fishing rods due to its strength, flexibility, and versatility. As it works on nearly all fishing techniques and species, you’ll find it fitting for beginners and experienced anglers.
Back to the sanded tip. It allows you to feel the most delicate bites so that you can set the hook more often. But, it only performs like this on the tip. It keeps the strong backbone you need to fight the fish once it’s hooked.
It comes with premium Dynaflow guides to enable the line to run smoothly. Again, you have the option to pick between a few sizes, but the 24” might be best for ice fishing.
10. Fiblink 2-Piece Portable Travel Ice Fishing Rod
This Fiblink is a two-piece featuring solid E-glass carbon composite blanks. It’s strong yet sensitive, suitable for all kinds of fish like perch, walleye, crappie, sunfish, bluegill, and trout.
It has stainless steel guides and inserts so that the line goes smoothly at all times. On top of that, it looks excellent.
Right at first glance, you’ll notice how unique this one looks. It has an ergonomic grip that’s specially sized and shaped to provide maximum comfort.
Another thing worth mentioning is the twist-lock reel seat, featuring an aluminum alloy screw knob. It’s easy to use even if you’re a beginner.
Buying Guide: Ice Fishing Rods
You want to consider the type of fish you’re after, materials, size, power, rod action, reel seat, construction, sensitivity handle, spool weight, bearing number, and durability before purchasing an ice fishing rod.
Although most ice fishing rods are versatile, you should think about what you’re looking to catch. Being this specific will help you narrow down your list of options.
For example, northern pike requires different features than what you’d need for catching panfish. Some rods might enable you to catch both, but not with as much accuracy as rods made specifically for one species.
Look for a rod that fits the fish you’re targeting. You’ll have other fish bite as well, that’s for sure.
Ice Rod Materials
Ice fishing rod materials are made from graphite, fiberglass, The best material for ice fishing rods is graphite or fiberglass. Graphite is the strongest but has a heavy weight. Fiberglass is light and economical, but not as strong.
Ice fishing is challenging since most of this fish is quite big and heavy. So, you need a strong rod that can handle tough fights and rough conditions.
Its base material plays a significant role in how it performs. Therefore, it should be strong but sensitive and flexible so that you can set the hook the right way.
Fiberglass is strong but not as lightweight or sensitive, which is why these rods usually have spring bobbers.
Size for Ice Rods
The length for ice rods goes from 16” to 42”. These are much shorter than fishing rods we use in warm, open water.
You know how ice fishing works. You’re dropping your lure and lift the fish through a relatively small opening in the ice.
In other words, there’s no distance to cast the lure, so you don’t need a long rod. Still, the specific size you’ll go for depends on the conditions and your target.
The power of a rod is its resistance to bending when presented with a specific weight. So, we usually see ratings like heavy, medium, medium-heavy, and others.
You’re supposed to match its power with the line strength. In other words, a rod with heavy power can easily handle a heavy line.
But, once again, you want to think about the fish species you’re targeting. For example, ultra-light and light rods are good for light fish like perch and panfish. On the other hand, pike and lake trout need a heavier ice fishing rod.
The action refers to how fast the rod can bend once the fish is hooked. But you should also think about where it bends and how quickly it recovers.
For ice fishing, fast action rods are the best choice.
Ice fishing rods don’t usually have built-in reel seats. Instead, you’ll have to go for reel attachment with bands or tape.
Think about what you prefer to make the best decision that’ll fit your fishing style.
You should look for a durable construction because ice fishing is tough on rods. Make sure your pole is made from strong materials we spoke about earlier.
But, it’s more than just what the pole itself is made from. Ensure other components are also made from high-quality materials because you’re fishing in freezing temperatures.
Sensitivity is another crucial factor you should consider regardless of your skill level. As we know, many species, especially panfish, are less aggressive during the cold.
A sensitive rod will allow you to feel even the lightest bite. So, it’s good to have a sensitive one, more so if you’re targeting crappie or perch.
Ice Rod Handle/Grip
Ice fishing rods come with a variety of handle options. But, EVA foam and cork are what you’ll see the most.
Also, some have a glued-on grip, while others have a full-length one. Choosing between these options comes down to your preferences and needs.
Whatever you go for, make sure it’s comfortable and easy to grip on.
A spool on your rod is worth all the attention if you’re looking to actually catch some fish. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going for a ready-made rod or a reel combo.
It should be of the right size and have the right capacity to hold the length and weight of the line. It also has to run smoothly even when it’s cold.
Still, it wouldn’t hurt to have anti-freezing lubrication to help out.
Lightweight Ice Fishing Poles
You want to buy a lightweight ice fishing pole because they are easy to handle. They are not heavy, so they’re easier for you when you go ice fishing.
Most poles have many features that help them be easy to use even in the coldest weather.
It’s important to think about the bearing number on the reel if you’re looking to use one with your rod. Reels come with ball bearings to reduce friction and provide smooth performance at all times.
The higher the quality, the better it will perform and function in various conditions. So, more bearings equal better performance.
Ice Fishing Rods Durability
Ice fishing rods are durable because they are made to be able to handle the larger fish that can get through even the tougher line.
Ice fishing lines and rods need to be resistant because of their subject: they’re often used in cold weather and must keep up with large and strong fish like pike, perch or walleye.
Different Types of Ice Fishing Poles
There are two types of ice fishing poles and they are baitcasting and spinning rods. Spinning rods are meant for catching small fish with a lighter line.
Spinning rods are best for beginners because they’re easy to use. Once you’ve put the line on the spinning reel, the spinning reel goes underneath the rod, whereas the seat and guides are on the underside.
Fishing in the winter already sounds uncomfortable enough, and the last thing you want is a rod making things worse. So, make sure it provides the highest possible level of comfort.
Think about its weight and whether you can handle it for hours at a time. Also, it should have a comfortable grip that’s soft, warm, and cozy.
Cork is usually the warmest, but some people prefer an EVA foam handle because it’s softer.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is difficult to define because it depends on many factors. And, it even depends on your skill level and preference. So, what’s easy for you to use might be tricky for other people.
These types of rods are easy to use. All you have to do is drop the hook and wait for the nibble. But, make sure all the rod features and specifications work to your advantage; otherwise, the experience won’t be as simple.
The value of an ice fishing rod is determined by how efficiently it performs and how much use you get out of it. So, the most durable and resistant rods are often the most valuable.
It also depends on what matters to you the most and how much money you’re willing to invest.
Related: Checklist for Ice Fishing Gear
FAQ for Ice Fishing Rods
Is Ice Fishing Better than Regular Fishing?
Ice fishing is not better than regular fishing. The only difference is how to catch it. It’s not easier or harder to catch stuff, but it’s different.
People think that it is better because of the “adventure” thing and being outside in very cold weather. However, it’s not.
What are the Benefits of Ice Fishing?
The benefits of ice fishing are that a lot of anglers find ice fishing to be therapeutic and relaxing. And, you can catch fish that is otherwise found in deeper waters.
It’s different from regular fishing, but the benefits are somewhat the same. It’s fun, relaxing, and challenging in its way.
Is Ice Fishing Easy?
Ice fishing is easy since all you have to do is sink the lure. But, in practice, you’ll learn that the conditions in which you do this are dangerous.
You should have the proper equipment, warm clothes, snacks, water, and patience.
Which is the Best Spot for Ice Fishing on a Lake?
The best spot for ice fishing on a lake is to check with a local bait shop. If not, check the state agency website to see the map of the lake.
Although I think 13 FISHING Tickle Stick is the best ice fishing rod, you can definitely try another one of these. These ice rods are high-quality, efficient, and durable, standing up to harsh winter conditions and fighting fish.
The 13 FISHING Tickle Stick gathers everything you need in an ice fishing pole. It has a sensitive tip and rod features that help you catch larger fish.
Still, you’re unlikely to go wrong with either one of these.
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