Ice fishing gear for this winter
An ice fishing rod may seem like a simple device, but not all ice fishing rods are created the same. Much like when picking fishing rods for open water, the length, power, and action of an ice rod are key variables. To some extent, rod length correlates with your target species, with shorter rods being used for smaller sunfish, and longer rods being more useful for large walleye, pike, or trout. You also need to consider where you plan to spend your fishing time: inside a shelter or outside in the elements. Most anglers who fish from shelters will choose shorter rods due to the limited space available inside. In contrast, winter fishing outside a shelter does not place any rod length restrictions, and many mobile anglers prefer longer rods to make fishing more comfortable while standing.
The wattage rating of a rod – such as light, medium, or heavy – describes the typical weight of the lure that will cause a rod to flex. So a rod with an ultralight power rating, which would make an excellent crappie rod, will flex much less weight than a medium or heavy wattage rod. The action of a rod describes the position along the blank where the major bending or bending will occur. Think of the action in terms of the “backbone” of the cane – a fast acting cane will flex near the tip and therefore have a long, stiff backbone. In contrast, a moderate action rod will have its flex point lower on the blank, closer to the shaft, where a less substantial backbone can act as a shock absorber when fighting larger predators.
Will you be ice fishing for walleye?
In many parts of the Ice Belt, walleye reign supreme – and for good reason. Walleye remain active under the ice, consuming prey and channeling calories into the maturation of their reproductive tissues, which will be used during the spawning season – usually just as the ice leaves the lake. Hooking and landing walleye through the ice requires you to have a rod with specific qualities.
Most walleye anglers choose a 32 to 36 inch rod when ice fishing. A rod at the shorter end of this range is a good choice for shelter fishing, and a 36 ″ rod is perfect for hole jumping. Select a rod power according to your presentation. A classic 1/8 ounce rattle spoon dressed in a minnow’s head pairs well with a medium-powered ice fishing rod. If you are fishing in large walleye waters like Lake Winnipeg or Lake Erie, where much larger rattle baits and jigging spoons are typically used, a medium heavy power rod is more appropriate. Because walleyes have such a bony mouth, a cane with a stiff spine is usually needed for a good positive hook. Choose a rod with fast or even extra-fast action to hunt walleye through the ice.
Best Ice Fishing Rod for Walleye: G. Loomis IMX-PRO ICE 331F
This is an incredibly versatile walleye fishing rod useful for both live and man-made presentations. G. Loomis
The perfect ice fishing rod for walleye, the G. Loomis IMX-PRO ICE 331F is a 33 inch rod with medium power and fast action. Tubular graphite construction reduces weight while improving sensitivity. The REC Recoil one-leg guides stand up to the abuse of fishing in extreme conditions.
Will you be ice fishing for panfish?
More ice fishermen hunt sunfish – broadly defined as bluegill, crappie, and perch – through the ice belt than any other species. Sunfish are generally easy to locate, can be found both shallow and deep, and are reliable biters throughout the season. Due to their abundance and constant appetite under the ice, sunfish are regular guests of fish fries in the dead of winter.
Sunfish are smaller than other ice fishing species, and because of this, a crappie rod will typically be 22 to 26 inches in length. They can be longer when mobility outside a shelter is essential. Panfish anglers feature very light bait – often waxworms or spikes mounted on tiny tungsten jigs – so a light or ultralight rod is most appropriate. Choose an ice fishing rod action depending on the particular panfish you are hunting. Crappies, with their easily tear-off paper mouths, often require a fast or medium-fast acting rod, while bluegill and perch can be effectively targeted with fast or extra-fast acting rods.
Best Crappie Ice Fishing Rod: St. Croix Rod Croix Custom Ice Pan Finesse
Excellent rod for light crappie, the Croix Custom Ice Pan Finesse rod is 24 inches long with a solid carbon blank for extra sensitivity and durability. This lightweight rod works well with tungsten jigs and teaspoons, and its extra-fast action combines a sensitive tip with a firm backbone for positive hooks. The high contrast rod tip eliminates the need for an accessory spring bobber.
Are you going to ice trout?
A cold-water species, trout maintain high levels of activity under ice and often respond favorably to aggressive artificial presentations. The remoteness of many high-quality trout fisheries gives an added layer of appeal to trout-oriented trips, which can take anglers far offshore into the frozen bays of the Great Lakes, or deep into the wilderness. wilderness dotted with pines from the Canadian provinces.
The trout we’re talking about aren’t the little ones swimming in the neighborhood stream. They are large, powerful fish that can weigh 20 to 40 pounds, with attitudes up to the task. Thus, the characteristics of a quality ice fishing rod for trout will be quite different from those of walleye or crappie rods. First of all, trout fishing rods are generally long – often 36 to 42 inches in length, to provide the leverage we need to pull trophy trout 50 to 100 feet under the ice. Second, because trout responds well to large lures and heavy baits, anglers need rods with medium to heavy or heavy powers. Finally, the rod action can vary from fast to moderate-fast or even moderate, as slower rod actions can absorb powerful descents and surges as trout begin to approach the ice cap.
Best Ice Fishing Rod for Trout: G. Loomis IMX-PRO ICE 372F
An exceptional choice for lake trout or even for jigging for northern pike, the G. Loomis IMX-PRO ICE 372F is a 37-inch rod designed with a tubular graphite construction that makes it both light in the hand and very responsive. . Its medium-heavy power is perfect for large airplane jigs and tube jigs, while the fast rod action ensures effective hooks when trout bites occur in exceptionally deep water.
Inexpensive Ice Fishing Rods: What You Get for $ 60 or Less
Walk around any fishing tackle store in the Ice Belt, you will see an abundance of rods and combos at low cost. A closer inspection will begin to reveal why these rods are so inexpensive – the line guides aren’t aligned, the handles have flaws, the paint is sloppy. And that’s just what you see. Put them on ice, under the pressure of a quality fish, and their deficiencies will not be long in bringing out their ugly heads. There are some quality rods that you can own for $ 60 or less like our selection below, but this is certainly a “careful buyer” at lower prices.
Best Cheap Ice Fishing Rod: St. Croix Rod Mojo Ice Fishing Rod
Mojo Ice rods come in lengths from 24 to 36 inches, and in wattages ranging from ultra-light to heavy, it’s easy to find a Mojo Ice rod that matches the species you are looking for: panfish, walleye, bass, etc.
Ice Fishing Rod FAQ:
What is the best length for an ice fishing rod?
Choose an ice fishing rod based on your target species. Usually, as the fish gets bigger, the rod lengthens. Panfish anglers often choose rods 22 to 26 inches long. Those who hunt lake trout and northern pike choose long rods, often 36 to 42 inches long. If you are looking for walleye or bass, choose a rod length between these two ranges.
What is the best virgin material for an ice fishing rod?
Ice fishing rods can be designed with carbon (graphite), fiberglass, or a mixture of these two materials, just like open water fishing rods. Rods with graphite blanks tend to be more sensitive and have faster actions than rods with fiberglass blanks.
How much should I expect to spend on a high quality ice fishing rod?
You can get a great species-specific and technique-specific ice fishing rod for $ 130 to $ 200. Expect these rods to be light and well balanced, very sensitive at picking up light bites, and excellent for setting hooks – and keeping fish hooked during combat. A very inexpensive ice fishing rod – one in the range of $ 10 to $ 30 – won’t provide the performance you expect, nor will it withstand the challenges of fishing in extreme cold. If you’re just starting out, start with $ 50 to $ 60 rods and increase the quality as you spend more time on the ice.
A final word on buying the best ice fishing rods
Don’t compromise on quality when choosing the best ice fishing rod. Poorly made rods make fishing difficult, do not allow finesse, and can fail when you have a fish.