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Best Ice Fishing Reels – Shopping Guide & Top 5 Products Revealed!

While virtually you can use any kind of reel for most types of fishing, going with a specialized product is by far the most efficient option. Nothing is more frustrating than getting some good game, only to fail bringing it back just because you have the wrong reel.

Your battles will give you limited power, so your adventure will become a nightmare. The situation is even more obvious when looking for the best ice fishing reel.

Best Ice Fishing Reel – Shopping Guide & Top 5 Products Revealed!

Ice fishing is definitely a different kettle of fish. Your options are a bit more limited because you are stuck to one area only. In other words, you need to do it right if you truly want to come back home with some fish. Luckily, you can find a bunch of ice fishing reels that can support you – here are some of my top rated recommendations.

Top 5 Ice Fishing Reels

KastKing Summer And Centron Spinning Reels

I find it hard to decide on one reel only – KastKing has developed two ice fishing reels that can support you in most situations. There are not too many differences between them either. Practically, it represents a matter of personal preferences, as well as the bells and whistles you want to see.

Both reels are available in a few different sizes – at this point, you have to consider the type of fish you normally go for. I must say it – once fitted on the right rod, such a reel will make you feel like a professional. Everything feels so much easier and it looks like the reel does most of the work for you.

The reels are extremely lightweight and quite compact. The frame is narrow and based on graphite. Despite being light, the material is quite strong and durable. I am surprised it is not a standard in this range yet. The whole system is computer balanced too – no matter what rod you fit the reel on, it will not affect the balance.

The superior drag system is extremely smooth and can give you a serious advantage while fighting fish. The drag goes up to around 18 pounds, so you can easily deal with relatively large fish without putting too much effort in. The main shaft is based on hardened metal, while the pinion gear is precision machined.

The smoothness is given by the ball bearing system. There are nine ball bearings, as well as an instant one way anti reverse bearing – quite mandatory for ice fishing if you ask me, especially as your capabilities are a bit restricted.

Last, but not least, you will get a beautiful reel that will inevitably bring in some compliments. The icy white appearance is excellent. You have a compact reel that provides performance and looks good on the rod. What else can you ask for?

Best price and deals


  • Solid and smooth ball bearing system
  • Lightweight because of the granite in its composition
  • Available in more sizes
  • Superior drag system


  • Not the most suitable reel for saltwater applications, as it might start corroding

What do other anglers say?

“Definitely not what I expected. It looks great. Sleek, beautiful design… But I care more about the performance. This is my best ice fishing reel, super smooth and feels solid as you use it. It is excellent when battling large fish.”

Give it a try here.

Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel

Piscifun is one of my favorite brands out there and a common recommendation from my side, whether you are a complete beginner or you actually have some clues about what you are doing. It is quite easy – you will get a quality reel that costs four times less than other similar alternatives with the same quality standards. It sounds good, eh?

Anyway, this baby from Piscifun is excellent for ice fishing and comes in two different color combos – black and silver or black and red. The design has nothing to do with the performance – just a matter of personal preferences. As you hold it, it feels well put together and quite solid, despite being compact.

The body is durable and solid. Similar to other brands, Piscifun has started implementing graphite. The material is used for both the rotor and the body. It is one of the reasons behind its lightweight profile, but it is also durable and tough – which is important in harsh winter conditions.

The retrieve is smooth and feels good. If you have never used a quality reel before, you will be impressed. There is a 5+1 ball bearing system. All of them are sealed and just like you have probably guessed already, you have an instant anti reverse. Besides, the drive gear is made of zinc alloy.

The spool is made of CNC aluminum. I think this could be the best ice fishing reel if you are after a solid spool. It is water resistant and features an amazing line management system. I pushed it to get some knots and tangles – impossible.

While not necessarily a matter of performance, the handle is quick folding and ensures no issues whatsoever if transportation or storage are limited. Sure, it helps if you do not have too much space, but then, I would not really fold and unfold it five times a day.

Best price and deals


  • Quality materials used in its design
  • Available in a few different color combos
  • Durable and well put together
  • Great value for money


  • Too small to be used in saltwater applications

What do other anglers say?

“You can tell straight away that you have a quality reel. Lift it in the air and it feels well put together. It is solid, but also compact. It will not really affect the balance – tried it on four different rods. I find it extremely smooth and I like the way it lays the line. It makes everything so much easier.”

Check it out here.

Fiblink Inline Ice Fishing Reel

Fiblink may not ring too many bells among newbies. But if you have been in this industry for a while, you might be familiar with it. I find it extremely cost efficient. Plus, there are no bells and whistles that only add to the price. In other words, this could be the best ice fishing reel if you want simplicity and convenience.

The reel is extremely simple to use – ideal whether you are experienced or this is your first quality reel. It makes no difference how harsh the weather conditions are. You get a smooth performance, as well as an adjustable drag system – your personal requirements come first. The best part about it? This feature is less likely to affect the line management. I actually tried to abuse it a little for a test – no twists or tangles.

Value for money is another reason wherefore I find this reel superior. It is, indeed, affordable. Yes, there are no fancy features. But then, you have aluminum for the handle and star drag. Gears are made of durable brass, while the shaft is based on stainless steel. All these materials make the reel extremely durable. They are not posh or fancy, but trust me – you can abuse this reel without showing any signs of weakness.

The instant reverse is a must in ice fishing. It saves you time and it provides convenience. Talking about convenience, I love the free spool release button. It is excellent if you feel like the line is about to break. You can achieve the same result if you turn the reel off though.

Featuring 4+1 ball bearings, the reel is quite smooth. Also, you have a 2.7:1 gear ratio. More expensive competitors can come with more ball bearings. They might be a bit smoother, but who cares? This unit gets the job done without any hassle at all.

The grip is based on cork. Not only does it look good, but it is also comfortable and less likely to freeze in the wintertime – it feels alright to use when the temperature goes too low. Finally, there are a few different sizes and two colors – bright yellow and gold.

Best price and deals


  • Excellent value for money
  • Solid and durable materials in its design
  • Comfortable handle
  • Comes in more colors


  • You have to buy it for left or right handed users, as you cannot switch it

What do other anglers say?

“I was not really expecting a durable reel. I only wanted a reliable backup for a more expensive reel. Surprisingly, this reel from Fiblink has become my main reel. It is so smooth and easy to use that I tried it again and again and again until it became my best ice fishing reel. Great buy!”

Find out more about it here.

Ellen Archery Inline Ice Fishing Reel

Ellen Archery is not the most famous name in this industry, but it can certainly ring a bell for ice anglers. Its best ice fishing reel looks good and features just the right technologies to make the difference while out there. Moreover, it has a few bells and whistles that will certainly impress you.

I got this reel for a test drive because of its smoothness. While most ice fishing reels are smooth, this one goes a bit further. It has a solid 8+1 ball bearing system. It is not smooth, but extreme. If you make the upgrade from a smaller ball bearing system, it feels like it does most of the work for you. The ratio is set at 2.6:1/

In terms of design and durability, it looks like the manufacturer has focused on small details. You got aluminum CNC machined parts and a stainless steel spindle. The line wheel design is flawless. Moreover, the reel is treated with anti corrosion oxidation. It can resist impacts, so it will take a good beating. No matter how hard you try to abuse it, it will maintain its integrity and performance.

The reel weighs less than 7.8 ounces. It is light for this segment. It will not really affect the balance on your rod – I have tried it on three different rods. Another useful feature is the automatic cable patent raft fishing tackles. Its main role is to eliminate some of the most common issues in this range – the uneven cable problems.

Finally, let me mention a few other things that can enhance your experience – adjustable discharge and discharge system configuration. You can remove the line wheel within seconds. Also, you will have to choose the left or right hand orientation, as you cannot change it yourself.

Best price and deals


  • Few superior technologies to ease the fishing experience
  • Incredibly smooth
  • Anti corrosion treatment
  • Can resist impact, scratches and dents


  • Instructions are not available in English when it comes to servicing and maintenance

What do other anglers say?

“Wow! Looking for a backup ice fishing reel for my more expensive unit, only to realize that the backup is better than the main reel. I do not think I have ever experienced such smoothness. I love the feel too. You fit this on the rod and you know you are about to get some results.”

Check it out here.

Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

Pflueger is one of the big players on the market and its best ice fishing reel can seriously make the difference. It is one of my favorites and comes with a graphite body – self lubricating, strong and lightweight. It is one of the smallest units in this range, but it is easy, comfortable and less likely to compromise the balance on your rod or the performance.

The multi disc drag system is based on a stainless steel washer. It is oiled for a smoother performance. Furthermore, you can fully adjust it, even if the catch is on. The drag pressure depends on the size you choose, but it is proportionally higher than in other similar units.

As for the casting performance, I have never seen anything like this. The spool is fixed, so you can cast any kind of lightweight items – baits or lures. The distance… Wow! Seriously… If you are after distance and cost efficiency, this might be the best option for you.

Let me mention the nine stainless steel ball bearings too – you can imagine the smoothness. They can resist corrosion too. You have an anti reverse feature and a durable handle made of aluminum.

Best price and deals


  • Quality design with a bunch of solid refinements
  • Great value for money
  • Exceptionally smooth
  • Easy and long distance casting


  • Not a good option for saltwater uses

What do other anglers say?

“The ultimate ice fishing reel, no doubts about it. I have used many ice fishing reels, but this one tops all of them. Whether you want smoothness, durability, lightweight profiles or bells and whistles, this is the best option you can try. Totally happy with it.”

Check it out here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you have no clue what features to look for or you are unsure about certain elements, there will obviously be a few question marks in your hunt for the best ice fishing reel.

What kind of lure or bait should beginners use?

It depends on the fish you normally go for. Do your homework regarding the location and find out what kind of fish you might get. Then, stop in a local bait shop and mention the fish. Some of the most basic options include small jigs or perhaps some maggots too. If you see someone else catching fish while you struggle, watch and learn.

What signs tell you that there might be fish below?

If there is snow on top of the ice, try to find some holes that have already been used. You might find small groups of shanties here and there. You can check the larger one – chances are it has been used the most, so there might be some heavy fish hanging around.

When is it safe to go ice fishing?

There are more rules and there are always some risks. The ice should be four or more inches in thickness – this is the main rule. On the other hand, you can usually get there after a week of freezing nights – the temperature should go under freezing levels. The stage agency or local angling associations can also give you some tips. Never take ice for granted and always double check upfront.

How do I choose the best ice fishing reel?

Many reels share the same designs and general features, but you usually need to consider small differences and details. Also, you should know what type of fish hang around your waters.


As a short final conclusion, deciding on the best ice fishing reel is not such an overwhelming task. It takes a bit of time and education and not necessarily regarding reels and manufacturers. Instead, you have to know what type of waters you fish in too, not to mention the most common species you go for, as different situations ask for different reels.