Ice fishing is different from many other forms of fishing – instead of casting, you simply drop your line in a hole created by an ice auger.
This means that the function of an ice fishing reel is different. Ice reels are typically ultra-lightweight, especially compared to standard fishing reels.
Choosing the right ice fishing gear can be difficult, and reels are some of the most complex fishing equipment. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you. Our list of the top ice fishing reels is sure to help you find the best one for your next fishing trip.
Top 10 Ice Fishing Reels
- Goture Spinning Fishing Reel
- Fiblink Inline Ice Fishing Reel
- KastKing Centron Spinning Reels
- Celsius Blizzard Spinning Reel
- Clam Corporation Gravity Reel
- KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel
- Frabill Straight Line Ice Fishing Reel
- Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Spinning Reel
- Shakespeare Glacier Ice Reel
- Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel
Goture Spinning Fishing Reel
The first reel up on our list is the Goture Spinning Fishing Reel. This reel is an all-around must-have for any ice angler. If you want to really catch fish on the ice without breaking the bank, this is the reel for you.
The Goture spinning ice fishing reel has stainless steel, waterproof bearings, an anti-twist line roller, and ambidextrous capabilities. This is definitely a reliable reel for your ice fishing arsenal.
Fiblink Inline Ice Fishing Reel[amazon box=”B07JLCYPSW”]
For those of us that prefer an inline ice fishing reel, the Fiblink Inline Ice Fishing Reel is a fantastic choice to buy. This reel is the ultimate, no-frills inline reel for ice fishing when you want to be out there catching fish.
No walleye, crappie, or perch will be safe from any ice angler armed with this bad boy. The simple design makes it easy to use and always effective with its 2.7:1 gear ratio, 4 +1 ball bearings, and one-way clutch.
KastKing Centron Spinning Reels[amazon box=”B06ZZ29RH4″]
The next reel we want to recommend for ice fishing this winter is the KastKing Centron Spinning Reel. This ice fishing reel is a great value at such a low price, and the quality is top-notch for the money.
The KastKing Centron features a 9 +1 ball bearing system and a whopping 17.5 pounds of drag, capable of stopping all the big fish and pulling them right to your ice hole. Not to mention, the color scheme on this reel is very stylish and durable.
Celsius Blizzard Spinning Reel[amazon box=”B00OTOJY32″]
Up next is the Celsius Blizzard. This is easily one of our favorite spinning reels for ice fishing because of its sturdy aluminum construction and light weight.
The Celsius Blizzard uses a 4 ball bearing system and even has an extended yoke to make fishing with gloves on a bit easier. This one is always a surefire spinning ice fishing reel for any angler getting out there on the lake this winter.
Clam Corporation Gravity Reel[amazon box=”B07T9H322Z”]
Another great option when it comes to fantastic inline ice fishing reel is the Clam Corporation Gravity Reel. This reel is sleek looking and built to last.
Our favorite part about the Gravity reel is that it has adjustable drag to keep exactly as much tension on the line as you want. You should definitely consider picking one of these up for your next ice fishing trip when you want to reel in some big fish up from under the ice.
KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel[amazon box=”B09J4GLQ5R”]
KastKing is one of those brands that we have always trusted to make a great ice fishing reel, and they have yet to let me down. The KastKing Zephyr is no different in this regard, either.
First of all, we absolutely love the look of the KastKing Zephyr. This spinning reel is the product of their new design, and we think it looks great. The best feature, we think, is the anti-slip feature on the spool to keep braided line in place.
Frabill Straight Line Ice Fishing Reel[amazon box=”B00L1YII6C”]
If you’re looking to splurge a bit on one of the fancier ice fishing reels out there, we would recommend the Frabill Straight Line Ice Fishing Reel. This reel is pretty unique with its clamshell design that covers the spool so you can grip it in your palm if you desire
The Frabill Straight Line ice fishing reel uses a 3.7:1 ratio and a 5 +1 ball bearing system for smooth, powerful operation while fishing, along with 22 inches of line retrieval per revolution.
Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Spinning Reel[amazon box=”B01M5DH6MU”]
Pflueger has always been one of our most trusted name brands when it comes to fishing reels, and their ice fishing reel is no different. The Pflueger MONICEB Monarch is a spinning reel that will not let you down when it comes to catching fish this winter.
The MONICEB Monarch features a 5 ball bearing system with corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings for the ultimate durability after multiple ice fishing seasons.
Sheakespeare Glacier Drop Ice Fishing Reel[amazon box=”B087W4MBPQ”]
This next ice fishing reel is a great budget pick. The Shakespeare Glacier Drop ice fishing reel is simple, lightweight, and affordable. We even like the blue-on-white color scheme.
The Shakespeare Glacier Drop is a great choice for anyone in search of a reel that’s easy to use. The free-drop button on the Shakespeare Glacier Drop is incredibly useful, and the wide spool makes for 8.2″ of line retrieval per revolution.
Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel[amazon box=”B07HSZYWB8″]
Last, but not least, we want to recommend the Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel. This is one of our go-to reels for ice fishing and it should definitely be one of yours, too. This is another semi-affordable reel that is always worth a shot.
Probably one of the coolest parts of buying a Piscifun ICX 5 is that you can choose your color scheme. It comes in red and black or silver and black. As for features, it has a graphite body and rotor as well as a 5 +1 sealed bearing system. We highly recommend this one to all ice anglers out there.
Tips for Buying
As winter is upon us, ice fishing season begins. If you’re thinking of hunkering down on the ice to see what you can catch this year, you might want to consider first which equipment to bring with you.
The market is flooded with great new models of fishing poles, reels, and other accessories. If you want the best reel for your dollar this year, you’ll want to consider a few key factors. These include design and durability, reel type, controls and handle, and additional features.
If you are able to look at all these factors, you will be able to find the reel that works for you. Price doesn’t always equal quality. This is why we’ve compiled some of the best information to help you make your ice fishing reel purchase this year.
What to Look for When Buying Ice Fishing Reels
Knowing what to look for when buying your gear can help you save money and fish better. Ice fishing reels come in all shapes and sizes, with a number of helpful features. Be sure to look at the following features when deciding on the best ice fishing reels.
Durability Against the Elements
Ice fishing isn’t the same as summer fishing on a melted lake. It’s also very different from deep sea fishing or surf fishing. Each environment and climate brings its own set of challenges and benefits. It is essential to become familiar with these conditions so that you know what features you will need your reel to have.
In ice fishing weather conditions, durability is an incredibly important quality. With the extreme elements like freezing cold water, jagged ice, and wind chill, you’ll need a reel that can stand up well to mother nature.
A plastic reel can spell trouble for ice fisherman because the cold can cause it to become brittle. Opt for metal in these conditions to avoid damage to your equipment.
Spinning Reels vs Inline Reels
Not all ice reels are the same type. There is an inline ice reel for every need and occasion. The major categories are ice fishing spinning reels and inline reels. There are a few major differences between these reel types. Know the benefits and detriments of each to help make your decision.
- Inline ice fishing reels have several benefits including less twisting. This makes them a frequent choice for ice anglers. They are smooth and consistent and stand up well to the elements. They don’t hold as much line as other types of reels, but this is fine as you don’t need as much line to ice fish as you do to fly fish.
- Spinning reels on the other hand are better for larger fish. They also don’t hold a tremendous amount of line, but again, this is not entirely necessary for ice fishing. These are the ideal choice for fishermen using live bait on the ice. The drag adjustments on these reels are better than that of the inline reel.
Both inline and spinning reels have their benefits and detriments, so your choice should come down to your needs as a fisherman. If you are using live bait for larger fish, opt for a spinning reel.
Handle and Controls
As stated above, ice fishing involves freezing cold water and ice. For this reason, you will be using ice fishing gloves while you fish. Take this into consideration when choosing a pole and reel. Your thick gloves will make a normal pole difficult to grip and operate, so you’ll need to look at designs made specifically for operating with thick gloves.
When you look at the construction of the rod and reel, be sure to find one with controls and a handle that are easy to operate with gloves on. You can ensure this by choosing one with a large foam handle. This is considered the easiest choice to use with gloves.
With all the new innovations in fishing technology, new equipment often comes with special features. These can help with ease of use, convenience, durability, speed, or other beneficial qualities. Know what you need so that you can invest in the features that are important to you.
There is no need to spend extra money on reels with features you don’t care about. On the other hand, it can vastly improve your ice fishing experience to get a reel that makes your life easier. Know what you want so that you can find the features that actually matter to you as a fisherman.
Spinning reels have better drag systems than inline reels. The drag system impacts the reel-in once a fish has been hooked on your line. The drag capacity of your reel tells you the size of fish you will be able to reel in.
Some reels have adjustable drag capacities, which is great for adapting to the environment you are fishing in. Be sure to choose a reel with adjustable drag capacity so that you can catch all types of fish.
The harsh environment and freezing cold temperatures can affect the functionality of your equipment if you aren’t properly prepared. Anti-freeze capabilities allow your reel to continue functioning in these extreme temperatures. It’s likely that cold will lead to frozen, seizing reels. Avoid this by ensuring that the reel you buy is anti-ice or anti-freeze.
Inline reels are often the best ice reels for anti-freeze capabilities. Choose the best inline ice fishing reel so that you can fish in any climate or condition.
Ball bearings affect how smooth your reel is. If there are more bearings, the reel will be smoother. Be sure that you buy a reel with bearings made of quality materials like stainless steel. This is so that when you are reeling in the fish, the line catches less and is easier to pull.
Ice fishing is a wonderful hobby, sport, and career. You don’t have to be an expert fisherman to enjoy it, however. Know the ins and outs of ice fishing reels so that you can make an educated purchase that benefits you.
The type of reel you buy impacts your ice fishing experience. You can choose between inline and spinning reels, and opt for special features like anti-freeze. Use this guide to help you learn all that you need to know about your gear, so that you can buy the best reel for your needs.