Best Walleye Ice Fishing Rod 2020/2021
If you plan on hitting the ice this winter chances are you're in the market for a new walleye ice fishing rod.
Ice fishing is one of my favorite times of the fishing year and the run up to it is just as important. Like me you are probably chomping at the bit to get out there:
Religiously watching the weather reports for that all important drop in temperature!
Comparing notes with your friends as and to when the ice is just right. So dust off your shelter and ice boots and get out there!
Rods for ice fishing are of course some what specialist pieces of equipment especially if you are inside in an ice shack/shanty.
Walleye Ice Fishing Rods
The best ice fishing rods for walleye are sensitive enough to feel what whats going on down below yet have enough backbone to handle a stubborn walleye that doesn't want to surface.
There are a number of important factors to get right when choosing an ice rod. Although they may look like small, cheap kids rods for panfish they are usually purpose built especially he shorter rods for indoors.
Ice fishing rod length is generally determined by how and where you intend on fishing.
All other things being equal a longer rod will generally cast further and more accurately than a shorter rod. When casting crankbaits or spinners the length can be an important factor.
However, when ice fishing you don't need a rod that is built for casting. The majority of ice fishing is either done using a small bait under a bobber or more commonly jigging with any number of different walleye ice fishing lures.
Fishing through a hole in the ice does need any kind of casting setup so you can tailor the rod to whether or not you are indoors or outdoors.
Ice fishing in a shelter or shack is certainly one of the more comfortable ways to spend a day out on the ice, however it will limit your rod length greatly.
Space is usually limited in there unless you spend a lot of money on buying a really large ice shack.
Less space around the ice hole requires a shorter rod. The majority of indoor ice fishing rods will fall somewhere in the range of between 24 and 32 inches in length.
These shorter rods can need to have enough backbone in them yet still sensitive enough to feel whats going on when it comes to setting the hook.
With a longer rod it is easier to get this balance right, that's why manufacturers will build the blanks on these shorter rods with a specialized taper.
If you plan on braving the elements without the comfort of an ice shelter then you are going to be a lot less limited in the length of your ice fishing rod.
Anywhere up to about 38 inches in length is more than enough to get the most out of it. Any longer and you run the risk of not being able to control the fish through the ice hole once hooked.
A long rod at normal fishing times will give you more control and generally more power, but when your line is running through a small hole in the ice you need it to be short enough to make quick adjustments in direction as you fight the fish.
Depending on the depth and the weight of the lure that you will be fishing with for most ice fishing applications a medium to medium heavy power should work.
These rods are already light enough and if you stray into the light to ultra light power rating then chances are they will be just too light.
Most of the rods on the market will have a fast action i.e the will bend sooner closer to the tip as opposed to a slow action that will bend more towards the reel seat.
Best Walleye Ice Fishing Rods
1. St Croix Mojo Ice
With one of the most innovate split grip designs on the market the Mojo Ice from St Croix is feels like a true feather weight yet is capable of handling walleye and large lake trout without feeling like it is going to buckle under the pressure.
Not only does it feel slightly lighter but due to it's exposed design you have the added advantage of being able to feel exactly what feedback is coming back through the rod blank.
The stainless steel guides help to reduce freezing even in the harshest of winters.
The reel seat is a custom designed "twist lock" which allows for a very positive locking mechanism. This results in the reel staying tightly pinned to the blank with no movement and very little chance of loosening.
- Tapered carbon blank
- Innovative split grip
- High quality reel seat
- Stainless steel guides
2. Fenwick Elite Tech Ice
One of the cheapest ice fishing rods available from Fenwick these Elite Tech rods are still built to a pretty high standard.
There full cork handle is nicely shaped and is still comfortable after several hours of jigging.
The high modulus graphite blanks have been furnished with snaked stainless steel guides, completed with zirconium oxide inserts.
With a big range of sizes and powers available it should be noted that the action on these rods is fast only.
- Lock down reel seat
- Full cork handle
- Stainless steel guides
- Zirconium oxide inserts
3. Berkeley Lightning Combo
Available in a 24", 28" and a 32" model these little combination ice rod and reel from Berleley offer exceptional value for money.
If you are bring the kids out for their first adventure on the ice then this is one hell of a deal.
There are three rods in the range from ultra light up to medium heavy.
Only thing of note is that the reel comes pre-spooled with some low quality mono that you may want to strip and replace.
- 20 size reel included
- Skeleton reel seat
- 3 lengths
- 3 different powers
4. St Croix Avid Jigging Ice
A purpose built jigging rod the St Croix Avid Jigging Ice fishing rod has a solid carbon blank with Kigan stripper guides and a solid carbon handle.
The jigging rods are a little stiffer than the other Avid ice fishing series rods.
They come in 27", 30" and a 36" length. The power ratings range from a medium/light up to a medium/heavy.
- Kigan Stripper guides
- Solid carbon tapered blank
- Purpose built for jigging
5. 13 Fishing Widow Maker
A serious ice fishing rod, for those who want the level best in performance the Widow Maker from 13 Fishing is built from high quality materials only.
They are extremely durable and can take a real beating. The rod blanks are from 30 ton graphite which results in a rod that is not only extremely light it is also perfectly balanced.
The line guides are some of the toughest you'll find on any ice rod, double diamond coated ALPS guides ensure that your line slips through them with minimal wear and tear.
- 30 ton graphite rod blank
- Portuguese cork handle
- ALPS double diamond coated guides
- Evolve reel seat