Best Ice Fishing Rods

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The temperature might still be hot enough to still be thinking of drinking ice tea as opposed to hot chocolate, but fall is right around the corner.

Which means that the icy winds are not far behind it.

Time to start planning your winter fishing trip! You’ll need to get outfitted so read on for our list of the best ice fishing rods plus some shoutouts for good pier fishing rods in case you don’t see any ice this winter.

Do You Really Need An Ice Fishing Rod?

Starting a new hobby is always daunting once you see how much money you may need to spend to get started.

It makes sense to use what you already have, so if you are a fisherman then you may be thinking you’ll use your old ice fishing rods.

There is nothing inherently wrong with using your pier fishing rods to go ice fishing, but there are some disadvantages.

  • You can’t properly fish over the hole when fighting the fish. Yes, those tiny ice fishing rods will help you fight the fish better than a bigger one because you are standing right over the hole. With a longer, regular rod you have to stand way back and it becomes harder to fight the fish.
  • Longer rods won’t fit or fish well when you’re in a fishing shelter/hut. If you have never been in an ice fishing hut then you may not realize how tight it is in there. You don’t necessarily have to stay on one, but most people like comfort. You’ll definitely need an ice fishing rod in this scenario.
  • Longer rods don’t have the lighter sensitivity required for lethargic winter fish bites. When you have a fish one, it sometimes just feels like a weight at the end of the line instead of a hooked fish so you may miss the signs that you need to set the hook. A small ice fishing rod is much more sensitive.

What Size Ice Fishing Rod Is Best?

When fishermen go ice fishing there’s a variety of fish they could be looking for: perch, trout, walleye, bluegill and even bass. 

All of these fish vary in length, weight and strength meaning that you might need different rods depending on what fish you want to catch. Ice fishing rod length can vary from 18” all the way to 48” but the most common sizes seem to be around 24” to 30” long. 

You’ll want to get a shorter rod if you’re targeting fish like perch or bluegill but if you’re looking to catch a bigger fish like trout, you’ll need a longer rod.

I guess the answer really is that it all depends. Evaluate what you will be fishing for and then you’ll understand what size rod you need.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

Shakespeare provides entry level poles for pretty much every type of fishing, and their Ugly Stiks will usually outperform any similarly priced model. The Ugly Stik GX2 is in exactly that boat, so let’s take a look at what makes this rod great for the ice fishing novice.

There are three different sizes, each of which might be suitable for a different angler. For the best all-around performance, the 28” model is probably the most advised, though.

These poles are extremely sensitive as well, which is a boon for any ice fisherman. This extra sensitivity is necessary for you to be able to get more information from the water beneath you, and that little bit of edge can be the difference between a full bucket and going home empty handed.

The handle is well coated with EVA foam, which means it won’t slip out of your grip while you’re on the ice. 

If you’re just getting started, snap one of these up and you’re on the right path. They’re all-around great, and come in at a bargain price.

I recommend going with an ice fishing rod case for storing your rod. Since it doesn’t get much use it helps keep it in pristine condition and will have it lasting years. A good ice fishing rod case is the MTM Ice Fishing Rod Box that I highly recommend when it comes to pier fishing rods.

Shakespeare Youth Ugly Stik GX2 Rod And Reel Combo

If you want to have a rod that you can use as a pier fishing rod when the winter is over so you can maximize its economy then I always recommend going with Shakespeare Ugly Sticks pier fishing rods. This youth version isn’t just for kids.

They work great as ice fishing rods since they are not too long, but they are very durable and strong. 

Then in the summer, you can use it as a pier fishing rod if you’re looking to catch baitfish like harbor pollack, mackerel or herring. 

The spinning reel sports a double-anodized-aluminum spool and an oversized bail that winds in line smoothly and casts with minimal resistance. Compression bail springs aid in increasing the reel’s lifespan. 3+1 ball-bearing system for smooth retrieval and greater sensitivity. Encapsulated, instant anti-reverse keeps out the elements. Soft-touch handle knobs won’t strain fingers for longer days on the water.


I hope this article has gotten you excited to try out ice fishing. If you are having trouble picking out ice fishing rods then just start with the Shakespeare listed above and get yourself a good ice fishing rod case.

If you have any questions about these rods or any others you might be interested in then drop a line in the comment box below and I’ll get back to you quickly!

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