Best Walleye Ice Fishing Rods

Best Walleye Ice Fishing Rods - Top Picks

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The walleye is part of the cunning perch family of fish species. That’s why the excitement associated with ice fishing for walleyes is irresistible. However, you need the right rod to catch this fish.

Deciding which one is the best ice fishing rod can sometimes be quite difficult. You’ll have to keep an eye on the length, quality, action, materials, etc.

In this article, you’ll learn about the best walleye ice fishing rods you can find on the angling market, how to use them effectively and enjoy your icy walleye adventure.

Roland Brooks

Daddy by day, fisherman at night.

Top 3 Best Ice Fishing Rods for Walleye

Best Overall

13 Fishing - Microtec Walleye

13 Fishing – Microtec Walleye

Best Spinning Rod

Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod

Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod

Best Combo

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing

Good Walleye Ice Fishing Rods

1. 13 Fishing – Microtec Walleye – Best Overall Walleye Ice Fishing Rod 
2. Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod – Best Spinning Walleye Ice Fishing Rod
3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing – Best Combo Walleye Ice Fishing Rod
4. Fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod – Walleye Ice Fishing Rod for Larger Fish
5. St. Croix Rods Custom Ice Fishing Rod – Best Custom Walleye Ice Fishing Rod
6. Plusinno Ice Fishing Combo – Best Budget Walleye Ice Fishing Rod

Table of Contents

Walleye Fishing Rod Recommendations

#1 Best Overall - 13 Fishing - Microtec Walleye

13 Fishing - Microtec Walleye

WHY WE LIKE IT: This Microtec Walleye Ice Fishing Rod is famous for its stainless steel guides and carbon fiber materials, giving anglers a unique combination of performance and durability. It’s highly effective with braid, mono, and fluoro fishing lines.

  • Colors: Green/Gold
  • Length: 28 inches
  • Materials: Aluminium, Fiberglass, Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 10 ounces



BUYING ADVICE: When looking for an extra high-quality rod that has stellar features for a good price, the 13 Fishing – Microtec Walleye should do the trick. We’ve been fishing with this rod for a while, particularly with the medium-heavy power one, and we routinely pull in bigger walleye.

FEATURES: The 13 Fishing – Microtec Walleye rod has a 3BB reel, soft-touch handle knob, and stainless steel guides, making it light and comfortable for the hands. The rod also has an aluminum spool, solid fiberglass blanks, and a custom handle design for various walleye applications, such as full grip, dead stick, and split grip.

Add to this the affordable price, and you have everything you need to make your next fishing trip a success. Get out there and catch some big walleye.

#2 Best Spinning Rod - Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod

Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Abu Garcia Vendetta is unique because it enables excellent sensitivity and exquisite spinning actions. It’s very comfortable for walleye ice fishing, and the length of 25 inches makes it an ideal choice as a medium-light rod.

  • Colors: Multicolored (black)
  • Length: 25 inches
  • Materials: Solid carbon, high-density EVA, and stainless steel
  • Item Dimensions: 2 x 1.25 x 20.5 inches



BUYING ADVICE: If you’re considering a rod that’s good for spinning and catching walleye particularly, then you won’t be wrong for choosing this one. The Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod allowed us to enjoy some of the best ice fishing moments mainly because of the precision design and EVA handles.

It is also quite affordable and durable – we’ve tested it in several water areas and weather conditions, including many-a sketchy ice holes.

FEATURES: The Abu Garcia Vendetta Ice Spinning Rod has a solid carbon blank for sensitivity. As for durability, it has stainless steel guides with stainless steel inserts. The EVA handles add even more to your casting’s comfort.

#3 Best Combo - Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is ideal for walleye ice fishing because of its outstanding design with an upgraded graphite body and a cold-forged aluminum spool. It is also quite powerful and performs great at spinning. The rod tip is also hard and very durable for all ice fishing conditions.

  • Colors: Black
  • Length: 26 and 30 inches
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds



BUYING ADVICE: A highly versatile and good-quality rod will give you the chance to catch tons of walleye. The Shakespeare Ugly Stick GX2 has all the necessary boxes checked so you can have a fruitful fishing trip. However, this rod is not for fishermen that plan on reeling in a heavy catch.

We managed to get walleyes down the icy lakes and ponds. But we also caught other fish species, including panfish and bass.

FEATURES: Shakespeare designed the 20-spinning reel with one ball bearing and twist lock reel seat, making it great for ice applications. The EVA handles contribute more to uninterrupted and comfortable ice fishing.

#4 Best for Larger Fish - Fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod

Fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Fenwick HMGIf is the best ice fishing rod for blank contact and lighter jig-fishing action. This ice-spinning rod has a solid backbone to land you plenty of big walleyes.

  • Colors: Black, Cork
  • Item Dimensions: 3 x 2.8 x 71 inches
  • Materials: Premium cork, stainless steel, solid carbon



BUYING ADVICE: If you want medium-light power and fast rod action that is perfect for catching bigger fish, you shouldn’t hesitate to buy the Fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod. The rod is quite affordable and made from quality materials that are durable and provide incredible sensitivity.

We’ve been fishing with the HMG Ice Spinning Rod for years and caught many big walleyes without any breakages or damage to the rod.

FEATURES: The Fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod has a premium cork handle with TAC trim and solid carbon blanks for greater sensitivity. The stainless steel guides are quite light, allowing the rod to be sensitive but still powerful.

#5 Best Custom - St. Croix Rods Custom Ice Fishing Rod

St. Croix Rods Custom Ice Fishing Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: The rod’s fine-tuned performance and durable materials make the St.Croix Custom Ice Fishing Rod one of the best fishing gear we’ve had. It has recoil guides for a smooth return to position and split-grip cork handles for all-day comfort.

  • Colors: Black, Cork
  • Style: 7 available, including Medium/X-fast, Medium-light/Fast, and Medium/Moderate
  • Size: 5 available, including 28-inch, 30-inch, 32-inch, and 36-inch
  • Materials: Carbon, cork, recoil



BUYING ADVICE: If a customizable rod (to some extent) is what you need, then the St.Croix Custom Ice Fishing Rod is a good place to start. It might seem expensive, but the durable carbon blanks and the cork handles will last you for years. Furthermore, we’ve witnessed how delicately the rod is designed and how you can use the hi-vis tip to detect even the tiniest movement of the lure.

FEATURES: The manufacturers used solid glass and carbon materials and applied two slow coats of Flex-Coat cure finish. Added to this is the in-built proprietary blank technology giving more extreme performance.

#6 Best Budget - Plusinno Ice Fishing Combo

Plusinno Ice Fishing Combo

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Plussinno Ice Fishing Combo rod is quite versatile. It comes in 3 sizes with three available rod powers. This gives you the freedom to choose – all for an affordable price. Moreover, this rod is highly sensitive and has a smooth reel and super-smooth guides.

  • Colors: Black/Red
  • Size: 3 available, including 27” Medium Light Power and 26” Light Power
  • Material: Fiberglass



BUYING ADVICE: When on a budget but still looking to get a good quality rod, the Plusinno Ice Fishing Combo is one of the best. It’s ultra-light but sensitive and strong.

We’ve felt the quality of the super smooth guides and soft Eva grips firsthand. The Plussino Ice Fishing Combo Rod is comfortable, durable, and provides great action when coupled with some of the best ice fishing lures.

FEATURES: This rod comes with fast action tip and is made from highly durable fiberglass, giving it enough sensitivity and power for any ice fishing trip. But what makes this rod unique is the fact it comes as a full ice fishing kit. Instead of purchasing the rod and lures separately, you can get everything at once, including a reel line and lure set.

Criteria to Consider When Choosing an Ice Fishing Rod for Walleye

Type Of Rod

The first thing you should keep in mind is choosing the right type of ice fishing rod. Different ice rod types apply to different species. For example, if you target fish like panfish, walleye, trout, and perch, then you should buy light or medium power ice fishing rods. On the other hand, you can use heavy power rods for catching pike and musky.

Moreover, the type of rod is associated with the casting and actions. You must assess the fishing conditions and your skills and choose accordingly. If you want a baitfish action, then go for the casting rod. However, if you want a more versatile reel system, go for the ice-spinning rod.


The materials are another criterion when considering which walleye rod to buy. For example, most of our listed rods have carbon, stainless steel, EVA, and cork design. The quality of the materials is crucial to avoiding corrosion and damage while improving comfort and durability.

The manufacturers usually design the rods with stainless steel guides for smooth action and soft EVA and cork handles for comfort and durability.

The main rivalry between anglers – regarding the materials – is graphite vs. fiberglass. These materials usually constitute the body of the rod. Graphite is more sensitive, while fiberglass is more durable and easily bends.


The length is also crucial in picking the right walleye ice fishing rod. Most professional anglers recommend a walleye rod between 25 and 27 inches. However, you can adjust the length according to your preferences – whether you want to catch bigger or smaller fish.

In the past years, there’s been a trend among anglers to use longer rods – 28 to 30 inches. The reason for this is the more subtle fish movements during winter and the need for better detection. However, these longer rods are more sensitive and exposed to damage.


The action can be defined depending on where the rod bends. For instance, if the ice rod bends at the tip, you have an ultra-fast action rod. On the other hand, if the rod bends to the bottom of the handle, you have a slow-action rod.

We recommend the fast action rods because of the greater sensitivity and the chance to handle bigger walleyes. The slow and medium-action rods must bend a lot before you feel or notice anything.


Power is another of the key criteria for choosing the most suitable walleye rod. Anglers relate the rod power to the amount of force for bending the blank. For ice fishing, there are 4 rod powers: ultra-light, light, medium, and heavy.

When choosing between these, note your targeted fish species and how the power can help you catch them. For example, ultra-light and light rods are incredibly effective for panfish and perch, while medium-power rods are ideal for walleye, white fish, and trout.


The number and quality of the guides directly impact the performance. If you want to buy the best walleye fishing rods, look for the ones with four or more rod guides. Preferably, go for the stainless steel guides because of the increased smoothness and durability.

There can be all sizes of ice fishing guides – from 6 to 14 inches. Professional anglers prefer the 6 inches carbon guides for walleyes. You can also purchase rods with silicon carbide and titanium carbide guides – some of the most advanced guide materials!

Rod Handles 

The ice fishing rod handles are also important in choosing the right rod. The foam and plastic handles are the least sensitive and don’t help you catch walleyes on a cold winter day. That being said, cork and soft EVA handles are incredibly effective for sensitivity and fast noticing of the slightest rod movements.

The ice fishing rod handles can also have plenty of customizable options, such as adjustable rings and a locking reel seat. You should pick rods with blanks extending through the handle. This way, the blanks transmit the vibration and make your walleye rod more sensitive.


The rod’s quality is one of the most important factors in choosing the right one. Always go for rods made from high-quality materials like stainless steel, solid carbon, fiberglass, or cork. These rods have premium materials and strong backbones for strength against larger species. They’re also highly durable in different water and weather conditions.

Walleye Ice Fishing Tips

Locating the Fish

One of the best tips a professional angler can give for catching winter walleyes is locating the fish. The walleyes are usually hiding in gravel bars and rocky drop-offs. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t catch any if you fish around weed edges and mud flats.

You can locate your walleyes by drilling holes where they usually feed and throwing your baits between 6 and 15 inches off the bottom. Break lines with sand or gravel bottom are also a great place to locate your ice walleyes.

Lures & Bait Options

There’re multiple lure and bait options for ice fishing for walleyes. You can use a crankbait, a dead stick, a gliding jig, a rattle, a flutter, and a slab spoon. The gliding jigs allow you to perform a wide-sweeping action or a gentle lift-and-fall, while lipless crankbaits are great for pressured lakes where the bigger walleyes hide.

You can also use the rattle, flutter, and slab spoons to add scent, fluttering, and flashes. The various spoon baits will allow you better mobility and the ability to alternate the pace and moving technique. Professional anglers will also advise you to use lures and baits between 0.125 oz and 0.25 oz for the best walleye fishing performance.

Nevertheless, the best baits for walleyes in all fishing conditions are minnows. The shiner and flathead minnows are most effective for fishing walleyes in icy conditions without worrying about the weather and the time of the day.

Place Where You’ll Be Fishing 

There are numerous popular destinations for fishing walleye during the winter months. For instance, you can search for walleyes around mid-depth mud flats and areas where the gravel sand turns to soft water bottoms.

Moreover, the best way to fish an ice walleye is to dig up a hole in the ice under which the walleyes feed. The walleyes often inhabit the 15 to 25-ft water depths, but they also swim around the transition areas where the depth abruptly changes and the bottom drops.

Lakes, ponds, and rivers are the best places to fish ice walleyes. This is because the lakes and ponds will allow you to dig a hole and easily target the walleyes, while the rivers are full of food and one of the favorite ice walleye locations.

Types of Walleye Ice Fishing Rods 

Jigging Rods

One of the best ways to attract walleyes in a dug-up hole is to use a jigging rod. These rods lure the fish by providing vertical movements along the water column. You can use them to sink your bait between the bottom and the surface, right on the depth where the ice walleyes are hunting.

Many professional anglers will advise you to use weedless jigs weighing between 0.0625 oz and 0.125 oz. You can also use the jigs to check the depth. With this rod, you can efficiently fish for ice walleyes in shallow, transition, and deeper water sections. The jigging rods will provide you with longer handles, which means comfort, flexibility, and durability.

Spinning Rods

Most spinning rods for catching ice walleye are made of fiberglass or graphite. These materials make these rods highly durable and effective against all walleye sizes. Even though you can’t use the spinning rods for fishing around heavier covers, you can still use them to enhance the sensitivity around mid-depth mud flats and rocky drop-offs.

The spinning rods for ice walleye are usually very light and will allow you to manipulate them effortlessly. Anglers use the spinning rods for trolling or still-fishing, depending on the water and seasonal conditions. Moreover, spinning reels aren’t only good for catching walleyes, but you can also catch some lake trout or bass.

The spinning rods are a shorter version of the open-water rods and are most effective with light bites for fish with slow wintry metabolisms. The manufacturers design the spinning rods for ice fishing as highly durable and able to withstand even the coldest weather conditions.

Rigging Rods

Rigging rods are another type of ice rod you can use to catch all sizes of walleyes. The rigging rods will also provide you with the sensitivity of the spinning and jigging rods. However, you’ll have to choose the ones with moderate to fast actions for medium and light power, respectively.

The rigging rods will also provide a soft tip that will be firm while the walleye holds the bait in its mouth. The soft tips of the rigging rods will also enable you to detect the bites more easily and act in due time. Professional anglers will advise you to pick the rigging rods for ice walleyes ranging between 7 and 7.5 feet, medium power, and fast movements and action.

Trolling Rods

The best perk about trolling rods is that they’re the cheapest on the ice fishing market. They’re built differently from the casting and the spinning rods – they are usually thicker at the tip because you can’t use them to cast lures into the water distance.

You can use the trolling rods for ice to battle bigger ice fish like walleyes hiding in the lakes and ponds. Furthermore, the trolling rods will allow you to use one or more lines baited with multiple color and size lures for various walleyes. This is a highly-effective way to lure the sluggish winter walleyes.

The best place to use trolling rods is the icy lakes and rivers or around transition areas. You can also adjust the depth of each line to initiate more strikes.

Frequently asked questions

The best recommend rod length is between 28 and 36 inches.

It depends on the fishing conditions. For example, if you fish on stained lakes, set the minnow somewhere between 4 and 8 inches off the bottom. On the other hand, if you fish on clear lakes, expect the walleyes on a 6 to 20 inches depth off the bottom.

The walleyes feed on small perch or crayfish. If they eat small perch during that particular winter month, the most suitable colors are yellow, orange, and green. However, if they feed on crayfish, choose colors like black or red.

No, you don’t have to have a special rod for catching winter walleyes. Nonetheless, your rod has to be a fast-action rod with greater sensitivity and preferably a strong backbone for structured fishing.

It depends on your preference. However, the ideal fishing rod for winter walleyes ranges between 25 and 35 inches.

Usually, the materials make the rod sensitive. Fiberglass is the most sensitive material.