Best ice fishing rod- 2019’s #1 rated reviews & ultimate guide

When it comes to ice fishing, the rod in use isn’t just a long standard piece of gear. There's a lot more to bear in minds such as the type of fish species you're after and durability. In some cases, just having one single rod won’t do the trick and that’s where we come in.

Upon taking various factors into account, we were able to round up all the information you’ll need so as to have the best ice fishing rod this season. Regardless of whichever species you’re after, we got you covered.

In a short while, we’ll take a look at the best ice fishing rod reviews for the money and thereafter see all you should consider if you’re just getting started on choosing one.

Let’s get started right away then, shall we?

We could’ve just done a quick search on the web for the best ice fishing rods you could get in 2018, put together the list and presented it to you but then, this wouldn’t really cut it, would it?

So, we opted for the surest way possible which included hours of research whereby we reached out to some of the top brands in ice fishing rod manufacture, critics and first-hand users at which point we were able to come up with the top 7 picks.

As for the buying guide, we did do an extensive research on the internet and with this coupled up with our experience in the ice fishing department, there’s no way you could go wrong as far as choosing the best is concerned.

Comparison Chart

In order to save you the trouble of having to read all the way to the end, we put together the comparison chart below that is comprised of the best-priced ice fishing rods guaranteed to give you a kick for your buck.

Best ice fishing rod reviews- the top 7 expert’s recommended picks

With any of these 7 picks, you’re guaranteed to have an ice fishing expedition unlike any other you’ve ever had. No better way to enjoy durability and performance all in one. Let’s start off our reviews with one of the best from St Croix, shall we?

1. St. Croix Legend Black Ice Fishing Rod

St. Croix Legend Black Ice Fishing RodSt. Croix Legend Black Ice Fishing Rod

It does come in five different sizes and you can choose one based on your preferred style of fishing an in addition to this, it has been released exclusively just for this year’s ice fishing season meaning you’ll be getting the latest features.

Includes a strike indicating spring bobber

Right out of the box, you’ll be getting a strike indication spring bobber which will come in handy for ice fishing. Considering you’ll most probably be having your ice fishing gloves on; this feature ensures that you do know when the bait is struck so that you can start reeling in your catch.

High sensitivity

In addition to having the bobber, the sensitivity of the rod is amazing. Provided you’ll be holding on to the reel you will always know when it’s time to start reeling in your catch.

A locking reel seat

Yet another thing that you’ll appreciate on the St. Croix Legend is the built-inlocking reel seat which ensures that the ice fishing reel eats where it’s always meant to be for a comfortable experience.

  • Includes a strike indicating spring bobber
  • There’s a locking reel seat
  • The handle is highly sensitive for utmost reliability
  • The spring bobber is a little flimsy and difficult to adjust

2. St. Croix Mojo Ice Fishing Rod

St. Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing RodSt. Croix Mojo Series Ice Fishing Rod

As far as brands are concerned, St. Croix is one of the best you could get as we’ve already seen on our premium section of the ice fishing reels. That being said, let’s find out whether this one lives up to its brand name, shall we?

A high-quality split -grip cork/EVA handle

When it comes to sensitivity, the handle on this one is just one of the best. The cork/EVA grip, in addition to being sensitive is also one of the lightest handles you could get which also makes it one of the most comfortable handles available on ice fishing reels.

A customized reel seat

In addition to having a highly sensitive handle, there is also a customized reel seat. This is also ideal for different techniques in order to give you utmost versatility while ice fishing.

Lightweight, stainless-steel guides

For the guides, the reel boasts durable stainless steel which cuts down on the overall weight of the rod and most importantly is corrosion resistant hence increasing the rod’s longevity.

As for the blank, you’ll be getting one that’s made of precision-taper solid carbon which means less weight and durability at the same time.

  • A custom reel seat for different techniques
  • Lightweight and durable stainless-steel guides
  • A premium split-grip cork/EVA handle for a high sensitivity
  • There’s a lot of different options and you could easily be confused on which one suits you best.

3. Fenwick AETOS Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

Fenwick AETOS Ice Fishing Spinning RodFenwick AETOS Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

It does come in 7 different sizes and depending on the type of species you’re targeting, you can settle for a rod of just the perfect weight and length. How about we take a look at what makes it a worthy enough ice fishing rod to have among our reviews?

High modulus solid graphite blanks

With the blank being made from graphite, the rods will, in overall be light, flexible and durable as well making them the best companion for ice fishing.

TAC and cork handle combination

Then handle on this ice fishing reel is a combination of both TAC and solid graphite. This deems it eligible for use out in the elements without the risk of damaging it. The handle design is also quite light which makes the rod even more comfortable to use.

Stainless steel guides and inserts

For the guides and inserts, you’ll be getting durable stainless steel. Regardless of whether you’ll be using this in your ice shelter or out in the elements, it’s not going to let you down whatsoever.


Added onto the design is a hidden handle design reel seat that has got a carbon fiber hood which allows you to get the most out of your ice fishing expedition.

  • Stainless steel guides and inserts
  • High modulus graphite blanks
  • It’s got a combination of TAC and cork for the handle
  • The tip on some variants may feel a little bit stiff

4. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning RodShakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

We're nearly done with our reviews of the mid-range ice fishing rods and taking a look at the third one in this category, this rod is all about giving you a high level of strength without compromising on durability or comfortable usage.

Here’s a closer look

One-piece stainless-steel guides

With the guide being made of stainless steel, this is just the perfect reel choice to have out in the elements since it won’t give in to corrosion or rust. The guides are also designed in such a way that insert pop outs are completely eliminated to give you a smooth experience.

A durable and lightweight EVA grip

For the handle, it’s made of both a durable and lightweight EVA material which is also one of the most sensitive handles you could get on an ice fishing rod in 2018. By giving you a better grip, you’ll comfortably use the reel for hours out in the ice.

A clear tip design

As far as the best ice fishing rods are concerned, sensitivity is one of the most important aspects one should look into. In the case of this bad boy, the clear tip design makes this possible and also gives you an amazing level of strength.

  • Graphite and fiberglass construction for durability.
  • Durable and lightweight EVA grip
  • One-piece stainless-steel guides for pop up elimination
  • The sizing is a little inaccurate and you should double check on this

5. Fenwicks HMGICE28MH HMG Ice Spinning Rod

The HMG series from the Fenwicks ice fishing rods were designed with the best interest of the angler in mind. Every detail is designed with amazing prowess meant to give you a much better ice fishing experience without overlooking durability and comfort.

A twist lock reel seat

There’s no better way to secure your reel on the rod than the twist and lock reel seat design. Regardless of how tough the fight may get, this reel lock mechanism will not disappoint you

Amazing durability and sensitivity

Sensitivity and durability are at it's best with this ice fishing reel. You'll be having solid carbon blanks and stainless-steel guides as well as aluminum oxide inserts that make this possible. in addition to giving the reel high sensitivity, these features also improve its durability to a high degree.

An ergonomic high-density EVA handle

For the handle, it comes in a contoured design which is meant to suit the angler’s interest in the best possible way. Being made of EVA, it is lightweight and highly sensitive as well and regardless of whichever species you’re targeting, this rod definitely has you covered.

  • Carbon inserts and stainless-steel guides & aluminum inserts for sensitivity and durability
  • A contoured handle for utmost comfort.
  • Twist and lock reel seat for secure reel placement
  • You’ll only be having the medium-heavy option and no other sizes

6. Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

Shakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Spinning RodShakespeare Wild Series Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

In addition to being from one of the best brands in the market, this ice fishing reel is not only affordable but it also does come in 3 different sizes, the ultra-light, the light and the medium options all of which are 23, 25 and 27 inches respectively.

Here’s what you’ll be getting from this fishing reel

Stainless steel guides

On any well-constructed ice fishing reel, the guides should be at their best which is why in this one, you'll be getting stainless steel on these. They’re also lightweight which renders the rod ideal for use out in the ice for long periods of time.

A Hybrid Tech Grip

For the handle, there is the hybrid technology grip that renders the handle comfortable enough hence making it a perfect match for this rod

Moderate action & durable blanks

The blank is made from a solid fiberglass or moderate action. This, besides just cutting down on the overall weight of this ice fishing rod is also quite durable and guaranteed to hold up during a struggle quite well.

  • Hybrid technology handle for a comfortable grip
  • Lightweight stainless-steel guides
  • Fiberglass moderate action blank
  • The eyelets and the grip are not aligned straight

7. Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning RodBerkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

Finalizing our list is yet another outstanding budget ice fishing rod from Berkley. Like the previous one, this one too does come in 3 different sizes suited for different ice fishing techniques.In addition to the different sizes, the performance is top of the line and there's every reason you should settle for this rod

100% fiberglass blanks

The blank, being one of the major parts of a fishing rod should be at its best, right? Considering this fishing rod has fiberglass, it’s one of the best as far as flexibility is concerned.

The blank is also guaranteed to take in enough pounding which most newbies will tend to exert on a fishing rod. The action, however, is not the best and you'll want to only go for the small fish species.

Cork handle design

To complement the fiberglass blank, there's a cork handle on this one which is one of the lightest. In addition to this, they’ll transmit vibrations better which means you get quite a decent sensitivity since the whole rod will come to life once you land a catch.

Graphite reel seat

To allow the reel usage in different styles, the reel seat is made of graphite which keeps your preferred reel of choice in place at all times. This also adds onto the sensitivity and is at the same time cuts down on the weight making the reel really comfortable to use.

  • Durable stainless-steel guides and inserts.
  • Fully cork handles
  • A lightweight and highly sensitive graphite reel seat
  • The reel doesn’t lock in place but uses straps instead

Buying guide- no better way to get the best of the best

The truth is that even with the 7 best ice fishing rods of 2018, you’ll have better chances of getting exactly what suits you best if you knew exactly what to look for. With the aid of the buying guide below, you couldn’t go wrong in choosing the best ice fishing rod you can afford.

The weight of the rod

This is the most obvious feature one should look into irrespective of the type of fishing they’re into. Now, when choosing a fishing rod while paying attention to the weight, you’ll also want to consider the species of fish you’re after.

With heavier rods, you should be ready to cope with the extra weight they come with and vice versa. On the other hand, an ice fishing rod that's too light might easily give in during a struggle which is why you should go for the medium-sized rods. This way, you can target a lot more fish species and you won't have to worry too much about damaging the rod.

But that’s not all…

The performance of the reel also determines how well the rod will hold up and it’s always wise to get the best possible reel you can afford.

Pay attention to the nature of the guides

For the guides, you should choose a rod depending on the type of line you’re using. Even more important, it’s always best that you consider where you’re using the rod and, in this case, we're talking about ice fishing.

If you'll be using the rod in your ice fishing shelter, then one with smaller guides should work just fine. On the contrary, when using the rod out in the elements, going for own with larger guides will stand a better chance of not freezing up as compared to one with smaller guides.

Is the rod sensitive enough?

For sensitivity, this determines how fast you’ll know when the bait is stricken while under water. In order to check for this, you should tap the rod on a hard surface and see whether you can feel the tap on your hand. Feeling the tap on your hand easily should signify that when the bait is struck, you’ll feel it and hence know when to start reeling in

Is the handle really good enough?

Paying attention to the handle will do you a lot of good than you imagine. There are a lot of options you could choose from and whereas all of them may feel good at first, this may not be the case when putting it to an actual test.

The main aspect in concern when choosing a handle is sensitivity. Normally, plastic or rubber handles will be the least sensitive and such rods are also the cheapest you could get.

On the contrary, the most sensitive handles are made of graphite and cork which is what I’d recommend you go for unless you’re on a really tight budget.

The appropriate rod length

The length of fishing rods you should go for it depended on the conditions you’re fishing in. If you’ll be restricted to residing within your ice shelter, then a shorter rod should do due to the limited space. On the downside, as much as a shorter rod will give you the convenience of using it within your ice shelter, they’re not really the best in shock absorption. This leaves you to deal with most of the weight during a struggle.

If you will have to use a shorter rod, then I’d recommend you go for one that’s made of graphite instead of fiberglass as these give you more strength. Longer fishing rods have a huge advantage over the shorter ones since you get more leverage and will hold up to a struggle much better. However, as compared to shorter rods, longer ones are heavier and can’t be used by just anyone.

Final verdict

It truly has been a good review and it’s time we wrapped it all up. Choosing the best ice fishing rod should now be much simpler.

Now here’s the thing…

Getting the best is not always a matter of the brand or the price of an ice fishing rod but it’s a question of whether or not the fishing rod does what you need it to. That being said, I’d recommend that you simply take your time, weigh out your options and finally make your purchase- that’s the best way to ensure that you’ll get to enjoy every dime you spend on the ice fishing rod.

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