Ice fishing reels: our top picks

Throughout the year, people enjoy fishing as an outdoor activity. Even in winter, where in some places fishing is through the ice. That's where ice fishing comes in – a challenging winter sport that requires the right equipment to make the most of the experience. One critical piece of equipment that no ice angler can do without is a reliable ice fishing reel. This blog post will examine the best ice fishing reels available on the market today.


1. Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB Spinning Reel


The Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB spinning reel is a top pick for ice fishing enthusiasts. It's packed with features that make it ideal for catching fish in icy waters. It has a high retrieve rate and excellent line capacity, while being lightweight and incredibly sturdy. The ultra-smooth drag system makes it easy to reel in big fish without putting too much strain on your wrist. For serious anglers, the Shimano Stradic CI4+ is a worthwhile investment due to its performance and durability.


2. Abu Garcia Revo SX Ice Spinning Reel

A great option for ice fishing reels is the Abu Garcia Revo SX Ice Spinning Reel. Rust-resistant frame and components make it perfect for chilly waters. For ice fishing, the reel has a smooth drag system and a spool designed to minimize line twists and tangles. Additionally, the Abu Garcia Revo SX is an affordable option, making it accessible to a wide range of anglers.


3. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel


The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is a budget-friendly ice fishing reel that doesn't skimp on quality. It has a durable build and a lightweight but sturdy graphite frame that won't crumple under the pressure of reeling in a large catch. The reel's drag system is equally impressive, allowing for smooth and precise control, and its line capacity is more than sufficient for ice fishing. If you're just getting into ice fishing or need an affordable replacement reel, the Okuma Ceymar is an excellent choice.


4. Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

Penn Battle II spinning reels are well-known and well-loved for ice fishing. It has a tough and robust metal body, which can withstand harsh winter conditions and still perform at a high level. The reel's drag system is smooth and easy to adjust, which is crucial when fishing in icy waters. For seasoned anglers, the Penn Battle II is a great value, as it is versatile and can be used for multiple types of fishing.

5. Pflueger President Ice Spinning Reel

The Pflueger President Ice Spinning Reel is a budget-friendly option that doesn't sacrifice quality. The body and rotor are made from high-quality graphite, and the sealed drag system prevents water damage. The reel's retrieve rate is impressive, giving you complete control over your line. It's also a great option for those who have arthritis or other wrist issues, since it's easy to handle and requires minimal effort to reel in fish.


When choosing a fishing reel, consider these factors

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best ice fishing reel:
Durability: Given the harsh conditions of ice fishing, it's crucial to choose a reel that is durable and can withstand extremely cold temperatures.
Material: The material of the reel determines its durability and performance. High-quality materials like aluminum or graphite are recommended because they resist corrosion and are lightweight yet strong.
Type of Reel: There are three main types of reels used for ice fishing: spinning reels, inline reels, and bait casting reels. You'll need to decide which type suits your style of fishing best, since each has its own advantages.
Drag System: For fighting fish and preventing line breakage, a good drag system is essential. Look for a reel with a smooth, adjustable drag system.
Ball Bearings: A reel's smooth operation is ensured by ball bearings. A higher number of ball bearings usually means smoother action, but quality is also important. Look for reels with high-quality, shielded, or sealed ball bearings.
Gear Ratio: This determines how fast you can retrieve a line. A higher gear ratio retrieves the line faster, which can be useful when dealing with active fish.
Size and Weight: Smaller and lighter reels are often better for ice fishing as they are easier to handle in cold conditions and cause less fatigue.
Ease of Use: Consider how easy the reel is to use, especially with gloves on, as you'll likely be wearing them in cold weather.
Line Capacity: Make sure the reel can hold enough lines for the depth you plan to fish at and the size of fish you're targeting.
Price: Finally, consider your budget. There is no guarantee that the most expensive reel will meet your needs. Find a reel that offers the best value for your money by comparing features and prices.
Insulation: Some reels have insulation to prevent them from freezing in cold temperatures. This can be a valuable feature if you're planning on fishing in extremely cold conditions.
Handle Design: You should always use a reel with a comfortable, non-slip handle, especially if you're wearing gloves or if your hands are wet.
Anti-Reverse Feature: This prevents the handle from spinning backward and allows for immediate hooksets, which can be crucial when ice fishing.
Line Twist: Line twist can be a major issue in ice fishing due to the small diameter of the hole and the way the line is reeled in. The design of some reels minimizes line twist, which can enhance your fishing experience.
Noise Level: An angler may prefer a reel with a low noise level so that fish are not scared away. If this is a concern for you, look for a reel that is known for its quiet operation.
Maintenance: Reels that are easy to disassemble and clean can save you a lot of hassle in the long run. You can prolong the life of your reel by performing regular maintenance.



When it comes to catching fish in icy waters, the right ice fishing reel can make all the difference. Whether you're looking for a top-of-the-line option or a budget-friendly choice, there's an ice fishing reel for every angler. When looking for the perfect ice fishing reel, consider the Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB, Abu Garcia Revo SX, Okuma Ceymar, Penn Battle II, and Pflueger President. Any of these options will ensure a successful and enjoyable ice fishing experience. Happy fishing!
Back to blog