Published on December 2nd, 2017 | by The Iceman0
The best ice fishing rods
Any list of the best ice fishing rods is going to be subjective. I openly admit that. But so what? Everything on this website is subjective since I’ve written it all myself and from my own point of view.
The idea is that I share my ideas with you. Since my ideas were developed after years and years of ice fishing you can trust what I write. But of course you don’t have to. I am open to hearing from everyone on this and every other topic covered here. I think I know what I am talking about when it comes to ice fishing and I am happy to defend my views.
No two people would agree on the best ice fishing rods because there are all kinds of ice fishing situations. The best rod for catching big lake trout down deep isn’t going to be the best rod for finessing panfish out of a farm pond.
With this list, I have tried to list the best ice fishing rods for each and every situation. I have also tried to list rods that people can actually go out and find, since the hand me down jigging stick my grandpa made is no longer on the market.
HT Enterprises Ultra Light Ice Rod
I first used the HT Ultra Light rods after seeing them on sale at Cabela’s. It was March or April and they had the rods marked down to an amazing $2 or so. I picked up a half dozen.
It I had it to do over again, I would have bought all twenty or thirty rods available. After using these things for years I am convinced that they are among the best ultra light ice fishing rods that you can find anywhere.
They have dense blue foam handles that hold up year after year. The rod blanks themselves are thin and light as you would expect with bright orange tips that indicate even the lightest of bites. At the same time you can pair them with a nice ultra light reel and work everything from mini ice fishing jigs to large metal spoons. These are my go to panfish poles but I have even caught big pickerel on them with no problem at all!
What’s amazing is that these rods aren’t all that expensive even when they’re not on sale. You can find an 18 inch HT Ultra Light Ice Rod on sale for less than ten dollars every day of the year. For the price these rods are impossible to beat.
Celsius Chill Factor Combo
I found the Celsius Chill Factor Combos on Amazon when a friend of mine was looking for some new setups at the beginning of last season. I personally wouldn’t have purchased them. I have never heard of the brand and I don’t like combos, preferring to pair my own rods and reels.
For him price rules. When he saw that he could get a well reviewed ice fishing rod and reel set for less than ten dollars with free shipping to his door he jumped all over the deal and purchased three.
When the rods arrived they were pretty much what I expected. Certainly not the highest quality but definitely sufficient for a season of local ice fishing, which for him usually involves catching several limits of panfish and the occasionally pickerel or trout.
I fished with my friend several times and he never ran into any problems with his combos. Well, at lest no problems caused by the manufacturer. One of the rods was left unattended and it ended up down the hole on the first outing. The other two held up through an entire season.
For that reason, I think these rods could be described as the best budget ice fishing rods on the market today. They can handle a wide variety of fishing situations and they enable people without deep pockets to get on the ice and catch some fish.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
Shakespeare doesn’t have the greatest reputation among fisherman but their Ugly Stik line is a clear exception. Ugly Stik rods have been on the market for years and they have a big following. For a long time their main selling point was that they are supposed unbreakable. Nowadays they don’t seem to focus on that as much.
That’s a good thing since it means they have updated a lot of their rods to make them more modern and aimed at more than just being tough to break.
The Ugly Stik GX2 is a good ice fishing rod for the money. It is isn’t an ultra-light noodle rod, but it isn’t designed to be. It’s a solid ice fishing rod that can handle everything from small panfish to bigger pickerel and even pike.
Fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod
Anyone who has fished with a Fenwick HMG series rod on open water already knows what to expect with this rod. The Fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod is as good as the longer poles from the same set.
This pole is expertly made and looks great. It handles even better. You can feel every movement of your line and lures and give fish the fight of their lives with the HMG.
Some people find no reason to spend any real money on an ice fishing pole, and depending on their budgets and the kind of fishing they do they may be fully justified in their decisions. After all, people spend years fishing with straight poles with nearly no action at all sporting free spool ice fishing reels tapped to the handles.
For those who want to fish with a fantastic rod with great feel and control and can afford to spend a few more dollars, the Fenwick HMG is definitely a top choice.
Tuned Up Custom Rods Precision Ice Rod
The Precision Ice Rod by Tuned Up Custom Rods is perhaps the best ice fishing rod you can buy today. It’s also one of the most expensive. They currently retail for about a hundred dollars a piece.
These rods are used by some of the big names in ice fishing, if that means anything to you. I couldn’t care much one way or the other, but clearly there’s a reason people who ice fish professionally reach for Tuned Up Custom Rods.
If you have ever fished with any of the Tuned Up ice fishing line up you’ll see that they are no gimmick. They are about as well made as it gets and designed for serious ice fishing. They are especially good for light biting perch even though they can just as easily handle big walleye and even the occasional pike.
The coolest thing about the Precision Ice Rod is that is a custom made. That means you can select the options you like when you order. So you are getting the kind of rod you want to have instead just picking from what is already available at the store.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not they are worth the price. I have one and I love it. But I also have all the other rods on this list and they all have their place and function.