7 Best Ice Fishing Reels To Make Your Ice Fishing Trip More Exciting

BEST FOR MONEY

Eagle Claw In Line Ice Reel

BEST OVERALL

Pflueger MONICEB Monarch

BEST PREMIUM

13 Fishing Black Betty

Anglers are aware of the fact that the same reel that is used in summers is not compatible with ice fishing in winters. Therefore, having the right fishing gear couldn’t be more important when you go out in the winters for any outdoor activity.

On top of that, it also requires high-grade equipment, fishing skills, knowledge about the subject, experience, and a chunk of patience. As we are aware of the fact that, in winters, as the temperature drops down, the activity of fish also gets slowed down.

That makes fishing even more challenging. Even if you are a competitive sport angler, you are going to need a top-quality ice fishing reel in your fishing gear for a perfect catch. Now we know that the market is flooded with thousands of options, each with its unique specifications.

However, it seems difficult to choose the best amongst them. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the 10 best ice fishing reels that will surely make your fishing session worthwhile. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Best Ice Fishing Reels of 2021

Buying an ice fishing reel for yourself is quite a tricky task. However, it is also fun to know more about the advancement in fishing equipment and the recent tools updates. This way, you can keep yourself efficient and can have a chance to get the most amazing and durable fishing reel, especially for the winters.

With the cold breeze outside, even the fishing gloves couldn’t stop your hands from getting cold. Think about what happens to the equipment in such harsh weather. That is why a high-quality ice reel is what you need for ice fishing ventures. These reels are specifically designed to handle such situations. On top of that, they can work effectively even when the temperature drops too low without jamming the bearings. Here are some top-of-the-line products to ease you with the hunt.

Compare Table

7 Best Ice Fishing Reel
Under $50
From $50 to $100
Above $100

BEST OVERALL

Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:

BEST VALUE

Eagle Claw Inline Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:

BEST PREMIUM

13 Fishing Black Betty Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:
71A9KMZG5UL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

KastKing Summer and Centron Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:
41ydciMUeRL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

Daiwa QZ Ultralight Spinning Reel

User rating:
Price range:
71mpZiR3IdL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

Abu Garcia Max Ice Fishing Spinning Reel

User rating:
Price range:
71jrkKnF5mL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

Frabill Straight Line 371 Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:

Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Spinning Reels

Pflueger lightweight reel for ice fishing - Best Ice Fishing Reel high quality spinning reel

Fist in our list is the most trending, ultralight ice reel to use in the winters and the best known Pflueger MONICEB Monarch spinning reel. What makes it so special is its feather-light quality that offers maximum comfort to the users. Among the series of high quality ice fishing reels, this is equipped with five ball bearing systems with one anti-reverse drag.

Similarly, this ice finishing reel has stainless steel bearings that are rust-free and last longer than the others. Sometimes there are accidental shortcomings for which one is not prepared. Such as the ice reel may fall out and get dented, which might destroy the angle and line. Nevertheless, Pflueger is crafted with a high-quality material that can withstand such events without having a scratch.

This aluminum-based ice spinning reel is certified for its durable ergonomics. Thus, offering you the maximum comfort level while you spin back the dragline with smooth operations. Another important feature about this ice reel is that it has a graphite body and rotor.

Which gives it a smooth finesse finishing and keeps it evergreen. That means it won’t rust even if the weather is too harsh, making it a perfect and ideal choice for your ice fishing venture.

Having said that, Pflueger is solely focused on how to increase the life span of the fishing reels. Besides, when you wind the line, it sometimes gets cranky. But given the build-in aluminum wire bale, the line stays sharp and straight lifetime.

Furthermore, the most important factor is to have a firm grip while wearing gloves. Gloves make it difficult to grab the handles and control them at the perfect. But with Pflueger, the handlebars are large, letting you have a firm grip even with the bulky gloves you’re wearing on.

Pros
  • Durable graphite body and rotor
  • Good retrieval rate
  • Well-balanced with 5 ball-bearing system
  • Anti-freeze finesse
  • Aluminum bail wire
  • Powerful drag with 6lbs.
  • Light in weight
Cons
  • This doesn’t feature an anti-reverse switch.

Eagle Claw Best Ice Fishing InLine Reels

Eagle Claw inline ice fishing reel

Simple in its construction, yet our personal favorite, Eagle Claw, introduces the most elegant model of the Inline ice fishing reel. Until now, we have been listening to many customers about the reviews upon graphite body, carbon, and stainless steel spinning reel.

Now, we are presenting the top-notch inline reel that is geared with the Nylon body and nylon spool system. It is easier to handle with the given lightweight feature. In addition to this, it is also compatible with catching large fish. This makes it a must-have in your fishing essentials.

Having said that, its build material and the Nylon spool with a free spool release button makes it a reliable and compact-sized inline reel for ice fishing sessions. In addition, the built-in power enables this ice reel to hold on to the large stubborn fishes and drags them to the surface with maximum ease.

It is compatible with both left-handed ice anglers and right-handed ones. Handles are a crucial element in any ice fishing reel. Therefore, as the name suggests, Eagle Claw has an ideal aluminum handlebar that allows firm grip and full control over the lure even with your gloves on. Adding more to its feature, this handle is non-slippery even if your gloves are wet.

The oversized handles make it easier to control, whereas the compact size and light weight make it easier to carry around wherever you want. When talking about the performance, the components of this ergonomically designed ice reel works efficiently even in the cold temperatures and harsh weather. Furthermore, because of its inline construction, the dragline will stay sharp and straight without forming tangles.

Pros
  • Adjustable and classic inline ice fishing reel
  • Convenient portability
  • Easy and free spool release with an adjustment
  • Nylon spool and body that makes it anti-slippery
  • A free spool release button
Cons
  • The plastic guard of the spool is weak and breaks off easily.

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels

KastKing fishing gear reel for ice fishing session

KastKing is the ultimate companion for ice fishing trip and has the most elegant style with slick, smooth construction. With the narrow graphite frame design, the premium quality adds to it a great value.

With the tedious and minute entailing, reels become more functional. When you are looking for premium quality that offers durability along with the comfort of easy handling, there goes your top-of-the-line KastKing centron spinning reels.

KastKing is the next-generation reel with modulated features that make it an ideal choice for your ice fishing. Having said that, it features lightweight because of the narrow graphite construction. Along with that, it is geared with a powerful drag system for up to 17.5lbs.

Although ice fishing is more challenging, making it difficult to catch fish because of their slow movement. For that reason, with the built-in technology of hard metal main shaft, it is a great choice for bringing in the bait.

However, if you are not careful yourself out in the cold weather, this high quality spinning reel backlashes and could freeze upon you. Besides, make sure to rinse it off after every drag. Doing so will enhance its performance.

In addition to its features, this durable ice reel has an anti-corrosive layer that eliminates the risk of getting rusted. Thus, it adds up to the longevity of the reel. Unfortunately, saltwater is contagious for the reels. It destroys the protective coating leaving it out in the open to rust. For that reason, it has been crafted with a defensive line of aluminum material.

Pros
  • Lightweight and durable ice fishing reel
  • Incredible stopping power for up to 17.5lbs
  • One-way anti-reverse bearing for smooth operations
  • Elegantly designed durable design
  • Well-balanced and the best ice fishing reel
  • Nine quality ball bearings
Cons
  • The glitch in the drag system

13 Fishing Black Betty Freefall Hardwater Inline Ice Fishing Reel

Black Betty Ice fishing spinning reels with aluminum spool

This here is easily adjustable according to the ice anglers. On top of that, the build material has a framework of graphite and aluminum. Whereas the body is crafted from graphite to keep it rust-free, the handle is made of aluminum.

Both these metals play a major role in the longevity of this ice reel. Even the harsh weather wouldn’t be able to affect its performance. Despite that, graphite body reveals an average quality of the reel compared to the Nylon and smooth Teflon drag system structured spinning reels.

As the name Free Fall suggests, it gives you full command over the performance at all times. You can control this ergonomically designed reel anytime at any angle you want it to be. Moreover, it contains a trigger that is used to engage or disengage the spool with its on and off switch.

In addition, this feature helps detect the fish bite when it eats on the drop. You can pull it back with the anti-reverse lever instantly. However, sometimes it causes a backlash when the system gets stuck somewhere, for example, if you haven’t been able to set the hook right to its place.

Furthermore, this spinning reel features up to 4 ball bearings that are made of stainless steel. This enables the reel to work efficiently, even in cold weather. Moreover, it hooks up for a reliable and smooth retrieval. Meanwhile, it features instant anti-reverse with an adjustable star drag dexterity.

Multiple aspects of built-in inline mechanics count for its tendency to work efficiently without getting frozen by the cold. It has been ergonomically crafted with aluminum spool construction and maximum durability.

Having said that, this is so far the great reel for ice fishing in the winters due to its detailed construction. In addition, this ultimate spinning reel features an ultralight-weight that is easier to handle and carry along.

Pros
  • Allows hard water anglers to hit the reel in-depths
  • Durable and lightweight reel
  • Single-handed operation
  • Flawless performance
  • Protective coating to prevent rust
  • Stainless steel ball bearings
Cons
  • Magnetic drop speed doesn’t work much because of casting aluminum metal.

Daiwa QZ Ultralight Spinning Reel

Daiwa Crossfire ice fishing high quality spinning reel

Among the top ice fishing reels, this is featured with the 4 bearings to perform efficiently even in harsh weather. Furthermore, Daiwa is deliberately featuring an ultralight design that provides utmost comfort to the ice fisherman.

Thus, it reduces and eliminates wrist fatigue with a well-balanced weight across both sides. That way, you won’t have to apply extra force when the fish battles. Some might say that ice fishing only accommodates a special reel, but this is compatible for both seasons. Therefore, you can take this to the regular fishing session, as it works perfectly for ice fishing.

Since it has come to our attention that this classic reel features a D-spin design, we have seen how efficiently it works with harsh weather conditions. Not only, but it also performs with slick and smooth operation, as well as it acts as an ice spinning powerhouse. This powerhouse factor is due to the D-spin design.

Moreover, Daiwa comes in two versatile models so that you can choose and customize the rod depending on your signature fishing style. Both feature a complex housing that shields the gears of the ice fishing rods and reels.

Moving forward, it has a built-in special gear Digi-gear system that is responsible for ergonomic speed, durability, comfort, and power. Along with that, this 1000 model reel features a longer stroke oscillation for an effortless catch.

Due to the construction of a blend of ABS and aluminum material, it ensembles a lightweight feature. That makes it unique and highly reliable for an ice spinning reel. Meanwhile, it has a front-mounted drag that can be adjusted easily and has an incredibly smooth outlook.

Pros
  • Ultralight spinning ice fishing reel
  • Front-mounted drag system
  • Easily adjustable
  • Do not rust
  • Deep jigging
  • Infinitive anti-reverse technology
Cons
  • Overall, it is the best choice for an ice fishing venture; however, the drag system is rough.

Abu Garcia ICEMAX Spinning Reel

Abu Garcia standard ice fishing reels

Specifically designed for cold weather conditions, this here is the top-notch spinning reel for your ice fishing sessions. Thanks to its simplistic yet elegant design, it has outsmarted all others in the line.

This ergonomically styled reel comes in a sleek design with unique features in the lead of best spinning reels. Moreover, having a look at its compact size amazes the users for its compatibility with harsh weather conditions. The manufacturer has put a lot of effort into its making.

With the built-in aluminum spool system, you can perform the task with ease of operations. It can be easily stored inside the bag, and due to its lightweight capacity, you can hold it all day long and won’t even feel a thing. Thus, it eliminated wrist fatigue by making your ice fishing much more fun and adventurous.

Therefore, the best ice fishing reels are the ones that offer superior performance, just like Abu Garcia, within a limited budget despite the low-temperature conditions. However, because of the freezing temperatures, you might experience some trouble with the sensitivity of the line for detecting if fish has been caught in the hook.

In addition to that, it also features a line management system that offers users to use of versatile and any lines with it. Finally, this ice reel itself has a built-in gear lube specified for harsh weather conditions so the angler will not end up with a frozen rod in his hands.

The ultimate goal of the ice fishing rod and the spinning reel within the ice fishing gear is to retrieve the angle without getting interrupted. However, this whole process acquires smooth and effortless operations. Besides, thanks to the IM gearing system, which is entirely composed of machined gears. Along with that, it has a built-in Rocket line management system that provides effortless control over the reel all along.

Pros
  • Ultimate Rocket Line management system
  • Ball bearings allow smooth and effortless control
  • Cold gear lube for anti-freeze
  • Lightweight graphite body
  • Rust-resistant material with an anti-ice system
  • Budget-friendly top-of-the-line reel
Cons
  • It contains a little weight that sometimes makes it difficult to operate.

Frabill Straight Line 371 Ice Fishing Reel

How to maintain best ice fishing reels?

Last but not least, in our curated list of best ice fishing reels, Frabill is among the high-quality, sustainable reel. That being said, it is favored with the ergonomic spool design that features a guard for a firm palm grip.

The composition of this compact styled fishing reel makes it powerful, and with its sheer strength, it stays rigid and straight even under saltwater conditions. However, many competitors despise Frabill, as it is the top-most straight-line fishing reel compatible with the frigid temperature.

Besides, the build material comes with a straight line of 371 with a 3:7:1 powerful gear ratio. This gives the reel a strong push with a powerful speed. Moreover, you will still want to reel for about 22 inches of line each rotation of the handle.

With the built-in 5 plus 1 ball-bearing mechanism, it allows smooth and effortless spin. Meanwhile, when it is cold outside, you will have to wear gloves too. This sometimes makes it difficult to handle the reel. However, in this case, the long stem offers enough space for the reel so you can have a strong and firm grip upon the oversized handles.

This makes it a high-quality ice spinning reel. Nevertheless, it has an ultralightweight that lets the users control the angle with a smooth drag system and an anti-reverse feature.

Furthermore, this model acquires a small anti-bait alarm system that detects fish’s activity beneath the water, and you’ll be able to know when a fish makes contact. That way, a fish won’t be able to get any forewarning.

Having said that, this surely has a remarkable design and impressed the users with its ambidextrous alignment. Moreover, it has a reliable constructive model with the retrieval of about 22′ for each revolution.

To wrap up, this here acquires an incredible construction that works perfectly well even in cold conditions. However, spooling mechanism is modest and very practical, which saves you effort and time.

Pros
  • Lightweight reel
  • Sturdiness
  • Sheer strength for a controlled grip over the handles
  • Drop-in small jigs to the depth without the twist inline
  • Prevents coiling and tackle spinning
  • Rust free material
Cons
  • The free spool is sluggish, and there’s a minor defective issue with the gear.

What to look for before buying the best ice fishing reel?

What to look for before buying the best ice fishing reel?

Ice fishing is a mundane fishing sport. It seems exotic, thrilling, and quite exciting. The exclusivity of this sport makes it even more yearning. The sort of fishing reel you have will affect your catch rate, whether you are a casual angler or a competitive sports angler.

You should do some thorough study to locate the greatest ice fishing reel, whether you want one that gives you more precision or one that you can use to teach the kids how to fish. Ice reels are those that can be used in a variety of environments.

Compatibility with the rod

A good rule of thumb is to make sure it’s sturdy, versatile, and resistant to damage from freezing temperatures. Also, make sure your reel is compatible with the rod you’ll be using. Rods, like reels, are rated for different line tests, so if you use a greater test line than it was designed to withstand, you risk damaging it.

Baitcasting rods are stiffer than spinning rods since they are used for casting. Depending on the style of fishing you undertake, you can either mix and match your ice fishing rod and reel combinations or buy ready-made combinations.

Appearance

Experiment with different combinations if you wish to be an active participant in the activity. Ice fishing reels are designed differently than standard reels since you must use them while wearing gloves, and the fishing is static rather than dynamic.

The reel body is more robust/thicker to prevent the line from freezing, so don’t be fooled by its appearance. Also, because ice fishing does not need throwing casts, the spools are inline, meaning there is no twist. To put it another way, the line stays on the spool.

Ergonomic Handles

Additionally, the handles of our top-rated ice fishing reels are quite dense to make them compatible with the gloves. How else can you prevent your fingers from freezing off? Having said that, the large handle also improves torque. Furthermore, fishing in deeper water can retain more lines than other fishing reels because you will be fishing in deeper water.

Ultralight Ice Spinning Reels

Ice fishing reels are light because they provide anglers more freedom without restricting their movement. They help keep weariness from creeping up on you too soon. Ice fishing reels are subjected to a lot of stress from the environment, so the material they are built of has to be tough.

Material

Stainless steel or aluminum are the best materials to look for. These are rust-proof and lightweight, making them ideal for your purposes.

Ball-bearings

When it comes to decreasing friction in ice fishing reels, ball bearings are quite crucial. These help counteract drag loads; therefore, the more ball bearings, the better the substance also counts. For example, if you wish to fish in the surf or the ocean, choose a reel with shielded bearings to protect the line from seawater.

Anti-freeze Protective Layer

Ice fishing with a frozen reel is pointless. Because you will be utilizing these reels in sub-zero temperatures, ensure they have an antifreeze covering to keep them from freezing.

Drag System

Alternatively, you may find yourself spending more time freezing your line than fishing. The drag is designed to limit the force that may be applied to the line before the spool slides out. Frictionless plates are used for this. A front or back system, or a mix of both, is used on spinning fishing reels. Front drags can be more difficult to modify than rear drags.

Be sure to choose a ice fishing reel with adjustable drag capacity so that you can catch all types of ice fish.

Thus, keeping the takeaways mentioned above in mind, choose the best by subjectively assessing and gauging what would improve your ice fishing experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to maintain ice fishing reels?

Maintenance of ice fishing spinning reels is more crucial than any other task. They stay submerged in the frozen water, so you have to be more careful while packing them away. However, there are multiple ways in which you can retain their shelf-life.

Take a dry cloth and dust away from the dirt. Start with the reel, clean it off first and then move towards the rod. After that, sprinkle some detergent over the microfiber cloth you are using and scrub away the stains and dirt from the reel. Lastly, clean it off with a dry cloth and then store it inside the bag.

How much line is required by an ice fishing reel?

This factor directly depends upon your fishing angle or style. And also the water body type you are going to hunt in. Most commonly, a length of 60-80 feet works perfectly with the long as well as short distance. However, if you are thinking about deep water fishing, go for a much longer line.

Can we use the same fishing reel for ice fishing as we do in summers?

Yes, you can unless you have found a perfectly customized reel compatible with both water conditions. However, it requires high-quality stuff that has a strong build material. Along with that, it can resist water damage to its protective layer and works efficiently without getting jammed in it.

What is the most suitable type of reel used for ice fishing?

Usually, there are three types of fishing reels that are currently being used in ice fishing. These types include inline reel, spinning reel, and baitcasting reel. In this guide, we have explained two of these; inline and the spinning reel. Both of these are the most popular choice among the users.

As the baitcasting reels are more common in catching a large fish. Whereas inline ice fishing reels and spinning reels are usually used for trout fishing, crappie, or catching small fishes like these due to their ultralight weight feature. Thus, they offer perfect balance for weight retention even when a fish tries to fight back.

What should I prefer while using bait?

Alive baits are more useful than artificial ones. Try to get maggots for such a purpose. You can begin with a single maggot upon the line, and after getting skilled, you can fill up the line with maggots depending upon the size of fish you want to target.

Maggots require a moderate temperature. So it is more likely that they would freeze out due to cold weather. Make sure to put them in a box so that they stay alive and you can go fishing all day long.

Final Verdict

Fishing is a sport that requires highly skilled personnel. Along with that, it is also essential to put on some extra effort into getting the right equipment for it, especially when you are thinking about ice fishing.

A fishing reel that you are using for ice fishing plays a major role in acquiring the quality of your fishing venture. For that reason, you require a high-quality spinning or inline reel that can withstand temperature shaft as low as to the freezing point.

Having a low-quality reel could ruin your whole experience. Make sure to do a little research on the topic before making a hefty choice. For having fun and adventure at your fishing session, get yourself an ergonomically designed and the best ice fishing reel that will make your day worthwhile.

Compare Table

7 Best Ice Fishing Reel
Under $50
From $50 to $100
Above $100

BEST OVERALL

Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:

BEST VALUE

Eagle Claw Inline Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:

BEST PREMIUM

13 Fishing Black Betty Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:
71A9KMZG5UL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

KastKing Summer and Centron Ice Fishing Reel

User rating:
Price range:
41ydciMUeRL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

Daiwa QZ Lightest Ice Fishing Reels

User rating:
Price range:
71mpZiR3IdL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

Abu Garcia Max Ice Fishing Spinning Reel

User rating:
Price range:
71jrkKnF5mL. AC SL150 Best ice fishing reel

Frabill Straight Line 371 Ice Fishing Reels

User rating:
Price range:

Andrew Lang

I inherited my passion for fishing from my late father. I often write about my experiences with trout fishing, inshore fishing and deep sea fishing.