The 8 Best Ice Fishing Reels for 2024


What to Look For in the Best Ice Fishing Reels

When seeking out the best ice fishing reels, you need to understand what you are facing. Ice fishing is cold. Your equipment could be facing below-freezing temperatures.

Durable materials and a quality bearing system all amount to making one of the best ice fishing reels. Your reel is going to take a beating out there in the cold. If you are successful, then you are going to be hauling lots of fish up. There is a reason we fishermen use the phrase ‘burn up the bearings’ when we catch a lot of fish.

Drag systems and sensitivity are another huge part of ice fishing. You are dropping bait into a hole that you have cut out of the ice. You do not have the option to cast the bait where you want it to go. So, your precision drop and the drag system allow you to both put the bait exactly where you want it and allow it to give the most action.

At the end of the day, you are still fishing, so you need a reel that won’t have you spending all your time either putting on a new line or untangling bird’s nests. A smooth reel that is well-governed by a quality spool is what you are after, too!

Considerations Before Choosing the Best Ice Fishing Reel for You

We just hit you with the very best ice fishing reels on the market. You have seen some quality open-faced spin casting reels, a great micro reel in the Daiwa Crossfire, and you might have even been first introduced to the inline spinning reel.

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That Clam Gravity Elite is easily the best inline spinner on the list. If you are looking to make the jump from regular spinner to inline, that is the reel to do it with.

Now there are some high-level considerations to make before committing to one of the best ice fishing reels.

Gear Ratios

A quality gear system is always going to make a quality reel. Well, when you are dealing with the best ice fishing reels, you have to have an effective gear system. The joy of using a good reel in warm weather depends a lot on gears but even more when you are using it in the bitter cold.

Play in the Reel

A smooth reel is one thing, but you have to test the play in the reel, too. If you are always getting tangles then you won’t appreciate that smooth reel anyway.

Ice Fishing Reel

Without the anti-reverse on, turn the reel in reverse. A reel with a lot of play will allow you to reel in reverse a lot before stopping. A reel with little play will not allow you to reel in reverse much at all unless the anti-reverse is on.

The least amount of play, the better!

Ice Build Up

You need a reel that can handle the harsh temperatures and conditions of ice fishing. The best ice fishing reels are going to handle things like ice build-up by being made of the proper kinds of material.

Durability and Materials

As I learned when using the KastKing, even a reel that works well and is built of strong internals, can be destroyed with heavy use. So, when you decide on one of the best ice fishing reel, you should look for one that is durable both inside and out.

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Remember, cold weather, water, and freezing can all have a profound effect on weak materials.

Wrapping up the Best Ice Fishing Reels for 2024

Look, the best ice fishing reels are all going to perform at the highest level for you. However, you have to think about the details. Reeling a large pike in on the Daiwa Crossfire could pose some problems. Then again, it might be just the kind of challenge you are after.

If you are a verticle jigger then you will do better to invest in something like the Black Betty or one of the other inline reels. These reels are just better designed for that kind of technique.

Ice fishing is a unique experience and if you have the opportunity in your area, you should definitely consider it. Fishing is a great survival skill. There is something special about conquering the cold and coming away victorious with a day’s catch despite the ice and cold temperatures.

Want to learn more about fishing, discover more fishing spots, and or read up on the best fishing gear? Then continue your fishing adventure with our comprehensive guides, info posts, and more!

Need some more Minnesota gear? Trust our recommendations to guide your next shopping trip!