Ice Fishing Rods
Picking out the best ice fishing rod isn't complicated. Start off by thinking about your target species, along with which types of lures or baits you plan to use. From there, you can simply match the species to the appropriate rod action and power that you'll need.
Keep in mind that slow action rods aren't generally used when ice fishing because light bites are often hard to detect. Fast or medium-action rods offer more sensitivity and give you a better feel for even the slightest nibbles.
Selecting an ice rod isn't much different than selecting any other type of fishing rod. Once you know which rod action and power will be best for the fish you plan to target, you can consider rod material and length. Just be sure to keep your ice fishing gear, including lines and reels, within the same power and strength range.
Ultra-Light Ice Rods
Ultra-light ice fishing rods are generally best for panfish, such as bluegill or crappie. These rod blanks are usually shorter in length (21 to 24-inches) and made to be rigged with 2 to 4-pound monofilament line.
Light Ice Rods
If you want to catch perch through the ice, light rods are a good fit. A light ice rod in the 24 to 28-inch length range rigged with 3 to 4-pound test line can be used with jigs or spoons.
Medium Ice Rods
Medium rods are ideal when ice fishing for walleye, bass, and most trout species. If you prefer to ice fish while standing, and like to move from spot to spot, you may want to choose a medium rod blank in the 36 to 48-inch range. Shorter blanks are better suited for fishing in ice shanties or tents.
Heavy Ice Rods
Heavy ice fishing rods are best for larger species such as pike, muskellunge, and lake trout. Many anglers prefer using heavy ice rods with additional length when ice fishing for these types of species. Longer rod blanks, up to 50 inches, give you the necessary leverage and room needed to land larger fish.
Ice Rod Materials
Graphite, fiberglass, and composite blends are your main ice rod blank options. Graphite is the lightest and most sensitive, but fiberglass is generally more durable.
Once you have a good understanding of ice rod blanks, you can even start building your own custom ice rods using a simple rod building kit that contains all of the components you need.