Selecting Your First Ice Fishing Rod

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Choosing An Ice Fishing Rod


For many anglers ice fishing is a new experience. With all new sports a new experience is accompanied with new gear. As with freshwater and saltwater gear, ice fishing is in a whole league of its own. Take a visit to your local tackle shop in any northern area and you’ll discover a huge variety of ice fishing rods. Like freshwater fishing rods ice fishing rods are also designed for different types of fish species, actions and lengths. With a multitude of options to consider now is the time to figure out which rod is right for you. Narrowing down your choices can be a daunting task but we’ll try to help you in making your ultimate decision.

Most ice fishing anglers use rods between 26-30 inches in length with a medium action. Depending on what you will be fishing for a medium action rod will suit most anglers. If you are determined to be more specific than ultra light, light or heavy rod might be for you. If you plan on landing a large northern pike, lake trout or whitefish you may want to consider a medium or heavy action rod with a reel capable of handling 8-12 pound line. For other fish species such as Perch and Crappie you should invest in an ultra light to light action rod. After those golden northern Walleyes? A medium action rod will suit most average size walleyes.

Choosing the action of your rod is the next crucial step. Lures and presentations should be factored into this decision. Rod action is extremely important in the type of play you will expect. There are 3 primary categories of rod actions. Fast, medium and slow. A fast rod will have plenty of play and flex at the tip. Medium action rods exhibit most of their flex near the middle of the rod while slow action rods flex closer to the rod handle. Faster action rods are great for jigging and also allow faster hook sets. For many a rod which is balanced with sensitivity and moderate strength can be a wise choice.

Today’s technology has given us 3 primary choices of rod construction and each of them has their own unique characteristics.


Graphite – Expensive, lightweight, strength, sensitive


Fibreglass – Cheaper than graphite, less sensitive, strong, temperature resistant, durable over time


Composites – Expensive, extremely sensitive, less durable


Choose a rod with a minimum of 4 guide eyelets. The more eyelets on a rod the more the consistent the bend will be. Choose a rod with larger eyelets to prevent freezing up in extremely adverse conditions.

Choosing a proper ice fishing rod ultimately boils down to personal choice but knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of rod will make your decision in purchasing your first ice fishing rod an enjoyable one.



This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2007. Ontario Fish Trips .
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