Published on December 28th, 2017 | by The Iceman2
The best lines for ice fishing
With so many products available today one might think it would hard to make a list of the best lines for ice fishing. If you were starting out from scratch that would probably be true. But in my case I have spent years on the ice and more hours than I’d care to calculate in fishing stores checking out all the different things pushes as the next “must have” for ice fisherman.
Besides the essential ice fishing accessories that everyone should have there are few things that everyone who wants to go ice fishing must have. While you can fish without a pole you do need at the very least a hook and some line to attach it to.
Here is my list of the best ice fishing lines which is based on extensive research mostly involving trial and error over several seasons. Since I spent so much time trying out different lines you don’t have to. You can trust what I tell you here.
Trilene Micro Ice
Berkley is one of the most well known names in the fishing equipment business. Their Trilene brand lines are among the most popular ever sold in the United States. Over the years they have come out with a number of specialty lines including some that ended up being a lot less popular than their market leaders. While I hesitate to say that those products were based purely on marketing hype so might argue that is indeed the case.
Trilene Micro Ice however is the real deal. It’s low stretch monofilament that lets you stay in steady contact with your jig and make quick and successful hook sets. The stuff really works well in low test strengths for catching panfish on jigs. All of my HT Ultra Light Rods sport this stuff.
Trilene Micro Ice comes in at least two colors. One is bright green and easy to see for detecting light bites. The other is clear and meant to blend in with the water so fish wont see it. I use the latter. This “clear steel” works wonders for me and I have been using it for quite a while now with great success. Apparently there is a red color too but I haven’t seen or used it and I probably never will.
P-Line Floro Ice
P-Line isn’t as well known as Berkley but it has a lot of fans. It seems to be especially popular among hardcore fisherman who spend more time on the water (or ice) than anywhere else. That’s always a good sign.
Fluorocarbon is less visible in the water than regular monofilament. It’s also more resistant to frays from rubbing up against logs, cribs, rocks and fish teeth. That’s why a lot of salt water fisherman use fluoro leaders!
Whenever I am fishing in a place with toothy fish like walleyes and pickerel, I keep a set of specific rods ready. For the most part they are spooled up with P-Line Floro Ice. This stuff doesn’t cost an arm and a leg but it works very well. I have never had a problem with it at all, which I cannot say for some of the other fluoro lines on the market that tend to tangle like the hair on an old mangy mutt.
You can go as heavy as 8 pound test with this stuff without worrying about it being overly visible in the water. Even small jigs can be tied on and catch fish without any line spooking whatsoever.
Sufix Ice Braid
Sufix is another company that is very well known among serious fishermen. All of their lines work very well and have a reputation for being high quality and reliable.
Using braided fishing line is a pretty new concept to me. I only started trying it last season. For the most part I have always been quite alright with a combination or monofilament and fluorocarbon. Of course I do use braid on my tip-ups, but that doesn’t really apply to what we’re talking about here.
Sufix Ice Braid changed the game for me. It allows me to fish a really low diameter yet incredibly strong long when the situation calls for it.
I have one pole that I keep filled with Sufix Ice Braid. I use it for very deep water, when I’m fishing in heavy current under the ice, and when I want to go very heavy with the line without bulking up on the reel. So far I have mostly used this setup for deep walleyes, smallmouth bass and muskies. I plan to try it on pike soon, and I’m confident it will work well.
Even the best “regular braids” aren’t very good for ice fishing. They freeze and kink up and they just aren’t very manageable. Sufix Ice Braid is the exception. It’s specially made for ice fishing and it works really well. It’s not totally freeze proof but it comes pretty close with its “freeze resistance.” With a little care you can do wonders with a reel rigged with Ice Braid.
Sufix Ice Magic
If Sufix Ice Braid is nice then Sufix Ice Magic is fantastic. This is the Sufix company’s ice fishing monofilament line and it works as good or better than the competition.
Sufix Ice Magic absorbs water without freezing. This allows it to sink more quickly than other monofilament lines. It also seems to make it more manageable even in the coldest water. Knots are easy to tie and set and they hold well. The string is strong and helps you get your jigs down deep fast. I have no complaints.
Ice Magic comes in three colors. Two are different shades of orange made for line watchers while the other is crystal clear. I usually go for clear line in all cases but I decided to pick up some neon orange Ice Magic last season just to try it out. I liked it. Of course I added a clear leader at the end of my line as so not to spook any fish but I have to admit that the orange line was a lot easier to watch on the ice. I hate to admit it but my eyes are getting worse with age. Stuff like this will at least extend my years on the ice!
Trilene Cold Weather
While none of the ice fishing lines are prohibitively expensive some like those sold by Sufix and P-Line can cost more than the run of the mill line you would find at any big box store.
Of course you can use regular old monofilament line for ice fishing. I did it for years and so did everyone else. Back in the day there was no other choice.
There is a lot of marketing hype in the fishing equipment industry but some products actually do represent real technological progress. All of the specialty ice fishing lines on this list fall into that category. If they didn’t work better than the original I would just tell you to spool up with some regular Stren and be done with it.
You can still do that if you have no other options. But if you only have a few bucks and want to use some purpose made ice fishing line that really excels in frigid conditions, you can purchase some Trilene Cold Weather and be confident in your choice.
Trilene Cold Weather doesn’t cost a lot and it is totally trust worthy. It holds knots and stays flexible even in the coldest of cold. It comes in a blue color which isn’t too visible to fish under the ice while still being very easy for the angler to see. That’s excellent when you get down to two pound test for finicky panfish and have to rely on looking for slight line movements to set the hook.