Top 6 Best Ice Fishing Reel For 2021 | Top-Rated Products With Buyer’s Guide

Never let the winter season stop you from enjoying your favorite fishing activities. Wondered how this is possible given the harsh environment it presents? But, is it even better to stay indoors doing nothing? Of course no! Especially if you are a serious angler who enjoys every new experience that fishing brings. What you need is the right gear that not only protects your body from the harsh weather but ensures that the day out is worth it.

First, you will need to get the warm clothing that is tailor-made for fishing to ensure your health is not compromised in any way. After that, you will need other equipment with the best ice fishing reels to complete the list. Remember, in ice fishing, you do not cast the line, but instead, it is dropped through the holes that are made using an ice auger. This, therefore, means you will need a unique reel that is suited to work perfectly in freezing waters. 

The ideal reels are those that provide high performance regardless of the cold weather. Note that the sensitivity of the line may be compromised by low temperatures, and therefore the reel should work well to compensate that. With this article choosing the perfect ice, the fishing reel is like a walk in a park. We analyze the six best-rated reels in the market and provide the buyers’ guide with FAQs to make your work easier.

READ THROUGH THE ARTICLE, and you will get everything needed regarding the greatest ice fishing reels that will leave you in awe. 

Top Top 6 Best Ice Fishing Reel For 2021 (Best Picks)

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Best Ice Fishing Reel

Detailed Review of the Best Ice Fishing Reels

In order to understand why the above reels have made to the list, we will do a thorough analysis of each of the products. You will get to understand in-depth the unique features that make the reel work well in a freezing environment. The review will also help you choose one that will best suit your fishing style. Check all the products before making a decision, and by a click of a button, you can get a perfect reel with high performance during the winter season.

01. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels for Ice Fishing

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels come with great features yet affordable. Made of a slim graphite frame and balancing system that is computerized, you get a gear that is lightweight for fatigue-free fishing. When you match with a perfect ice rod, the 500 size reel gives an incredible performance in cold weather.  In fact, even if it is your first ice angling trip, you will definitely fish like a pro.

The reel is high powered by the superior drag system that provides an outstanding stoppage strength of up to 17.5 lbs. The fighting power is further enhanced by the ideal mesh drive gear, precision machined pinion gear, and hardened primary metal shaft. With nine first-class ball bearings and one instant anti-reverse bearing, you will get a smooth performance. To wrap it up, Summers/Centron has a durable and stylish finish with a strong anodized aluminium spool and power launch lip that holds more lines that can be cast for long-distance.

Key Features

  • Lightweight as a result of computer balancing system and narrow graphite frame
  • Exceptional drag system that gives extraordinary stoppage power of 17.5lbs
  • More fighting power
  • Nine-ball bearing and one instant anti-reverse bearing which gives smooth performance
  • Durable and stylish finishing


  • Brand: KastKing
  • Style: A:Centron 500-ultralight/Ice fishing
  • Stoppage power: 17.5lbs
  • Ball-bearing: 9+1

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02. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

Ugly Stik GX2 combo is a perfect fishing gear that comes to a reel and a rod.  The reel is size 20 and can be used in ice fishing to pull out the catch without straining. The rod is made of sturdy Ugly Stik blanks, which are well-known for their performance and durability. You also get a better balance with a lighter rod with a stylish finish to complete the look. Ported aluminium spool can withstand cold weather and can be used with strong fishing lines that can maintain sensitivity even in freezing waters.  The sensitivity is further enhanced by the clear tip design that helps you detect subtle bite from sluggish fish.

There is no need to worry about the rust since the reels have stainless steel guides and other parts are also made of corrosion-resistant materials.  The reels are kept firmly in place and can be adjusted as they have twist-lock seats. Get one and fish all day long with comfortable EVA handles.

Key Features

  • Comes with a rod that has Ugly Stik Blank construction
  • Sze 20 reels which are suitable for ice fishing
  • Winders are kept firmly in places with twist-lock seats
  • One-piece stainless steel guides that are rust-free
  • Ported aluminium spool for durability


  • Brand: Shakespeare
  • Model: USGXICE26LCBO
  • Weight: 5oz.
  • Gear Ratio: 4.4:1
  • Max Drag: 6lbs

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03. Goture Ice fishing Spinning Reel

Goture Spinning reel uses advanced waterproof precision technology, rust-free stainless materials and excellent sealing performance to deliver a gear that is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. The 5+1 bearing with anti-backup bearing systems gives a smooth performance for the fantastic fishing experience.  

Beginners can easily use this reels since it has an anti-twist line roller, which decreases the line entanglement and reduces its wear. You get a superior drag force without any damage on the reel as a result of sturdy gear made of brass and hardened metal main shaft with 3-disc carbon-resistant washers. Purchase this Goture reel and enjoy fishing with balanced and lightweight equipment for all day long.

Key Features

  • Precision pinion gear system that is compact, balanced and decreases shaking when fishing
  • Non-corrosive stainless steel bearing for both saltwater and freshwater conditions
  • Superior drag system with a control knob for fighting big fish effectively
  • Ultra-smooth performance as a result of anti-reverse bearing
  • Ultra-light for non-fatigue fishing
  • Anti-twist line roller for non-entanglement of line


  • Brand: Goture
  • Model: 500
  • Weight: 4.97oz.
  • Ball Bearing: 5+1

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04. Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel 

The Piscifun ICX5 reel is made of graphite that gives it a durable and robust body to withstand freezing water. You can conveniently carry this gear since the handle can be folded quick and easy. Furthermore, you will smoothly retrieve the catch with 5+1 sealed bearing and instant anti-reverse in action. The CNC aluminium spool also prevents water from getting into the rotor for a smooth and unfluctuating line lay. 

Two different colour options provide you with choices to match with your favourite rod, and the general body stands out from the rest. As you will need to have your gloves own, Piscifun ICX 5 has extended stem that makes operations easy and provides maximum dexterity. Buy one and increase your success in the winter season.

Key Features

  • 5+1 sealed bearing for smooth and reliable performance
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio that provides perfect speed for less effort in bait retrieval and fish hunting
  • Exclusive drag performance due to carbon fiber washers and stainless steel discs
  • Positive click for fast hookset even for subtle bites
  • Extended foot for improved grip feeling 
  • Long-lasting zinc alloy drive gear for powerful performance


  • Brand: Piscifun
  • Model: ICX5
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Bearing: 5+1
  • Max Drag: 12lbs

For more information and current pricing, click the button below.

05. Eagle Claw In-Line Ice Reel

There is less line twist in Eagle Claw In-Line compared to other types of reels. Made of Teflon drags system, you will fish comfortably as they won’t freeze in ice water. Furthermore, the drag can be adjusted easily with the use of a convenient free spool release button. The 4+1 ball bearing design provides smooth performance without any damage as a result of a sturdy nylon body built.  This, therefore, means Eagle Claw In-Line Ice Reel, will give you a simple and powerful gear without breaking your bank.

Key Features

  • Smooth drag system
  • Reduced line twist
  • Nylon body and spool construction for long-lasting services
  • Comfortable and strong aluminum handle
  • Spool tension adjustment


  • Brand: Eagle Claw
  • Model: ECILIR
  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Bearing: 4+1
  • Gear Ratio: 2.6:1
  • Max Drag: 15.5lbs

For more information and current pricing, click the button below.

06. Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Spinning Reel

Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Spinning Reel offers superior performance in the toughest freezing conditions. The five rust-free stainless steel bearings provide smooth retrieval even when dealing with the big and sluggish fish. Graphite body construction, together with the rotor keeps the reel lightweight for comfortable and fatigue-free fishing all day long. No bending whatsoever as a result of rigid and thick aluminium bail wire that thwarts any mist-shaping. The rubber knob offers an extra grip with an extended stem that ensures you hold it comfortably while wearing protective gloves. Monarch Ice Spinning Reel is the smartest choice when it comes to overall quality for the value. Get one, and you will never regret fishing on the ice!

Key Features

  • Rust-free five stainless steel ball-bearing
  • Lightweight graphite construction
  • Rigid aluminium bail wire that prevents bending


  • Brand: Pflueger
  • Model: MONICEB
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2:1
  • Max Drag: 6lbs
  • Bearing: 5

For more information and current pricing, click the button below.

Factors to consider when choosing the ice fishing reels – Buyer’s guide

The specifications of the reels will guide you on the one that will serve your needs best and gives you a fantastic fishing experience. Therefore, every aspect of the gear should be looked at in order to choose the best in the market.  The key features that should be considered before making a purchase are discussed below:

Drag Capacity

The drag system is what will help you in reeling in the fish. Therefore, you should look at the maximum drag of the gear before making a choice. The more the drag capacity, the bigger the fish you can hook with your reel. Adjustable reels are the best since you can fish different species of various sizes. This increases the versatility of the gear, which makes it a better option for all time fishing.


The quality and the number of bearings should be looked at. Usually, the functionality of the wheel will largely depend on the type of bearings. Those that are made of quality materials such as stainless steel are the most ideal, and they are known to perform well in cold weather. You will enjoy long-lasting services since the material is corrosion-resistant. 

When it comes to the number, those with many bearing provide smooth performance.  Less bearing can present a challenge when reeling in the catch as it can cause unnecessary pressure on the line. This can create a loophole for fish to escape, and the streak can easily snap. Therefore, when given two choices, go for the one with more bearing holding other factors constant.

Spool Quality

The longevity of the gear and type of fish that you can catch with the reel is dependent on the quality of spool.  Those that are made of high-grade aluminium are the perfect choice since they can withstand ice waters for a long time. The ice fishing spools feature an inline design that prevents line twisting when spooling and is also able to hold more lines that those of other reels.  This is crucial as the fishing will be done in greater depths. 


The other necessary ice fishing gear will contribute a significant load that you will carry on. Any other way to reduce weight is to get a lightweight reel so as to reduce fatigue while fishing so that you can continue for long hours. Additionally, lighter reels are more comfortable, easier on the wrist and convenient in terms of storage. 

Anti-ice system

The materials used in constructing the reels should not be affected by frigid temperatures. The inline reels are the most ideal since they are known to work well in freezing conditions. If you fall in love with the reels without this feature, then carry the anti-freeze paste to use for the effective functioning of the gear.


Thick gloves are a must-have when going out for ice fishing activities. This, therefore, means that you will need oversized handles that provide enough room for a better grip. They should be sturdy and non-slip to avoid breakage or losing grip when reeling in the catch. the handles with large diameters are also ideal as they provide more torque for fighting bigger fish.


The heavy-duty materials are the best in constructing ice fishing gears. This will ensure they function well in freezing temperatures while providing long-lasting services. You cannot, therefore, grab any other reel and head out during winter as it might not work well. Those that are made of either aluminium or graphite are known to perform well in extreme temperatures. These materials, apart from being sturdy, they are also rust-free, which is an excellent feature for durability.


The ideal reel should be strong enough to withstand the challenging ice fishing conditions. Overprotecting the gear will be the last thing you want to think of when angling on the ice. Therefore, the material used should be robust and non-corrosive to ensure you get durable services. Those that are made of sturdy graphite and aluminium should be prioritized.


Q: Which ice fishing gears will I need apart from the reel?

A decent amount of tools are needed for ice fishing because of the harsh conditions it presents. First, you will need an ice auger or saw for making holes on the freezing water where the baits will be dropped. Then you have to buy a rod, line, and bait for actual fishing. Once you have these tools, do not head out before getting yourself warm clothing with the gloves. This ensures fishing is one without any health risks.  

While a camera is not a necessity, many anglers are finding it perfect for an easy and quick catch. Consider checking our article on the best fish finders and try one to see how effortless angling can be. If need be, get tools for making ice shanty to keep heaters inside for extra warmth as you wait for the fish to strike.

Q: Which is the best fishing rod to pair with ice reels?

The ideal rod should be small and lightweight. These types of rods do well when jigging, which is the best technique for ice fishing. Additionally, they offer extra sensitivity, which is needed to feel any subtle bite from sluggish fish. The length should be between 24 to 28 inches.

Q: Can I use the ordinary reel for ice fishing?

Although the other reels can be used, it may not last for a long time. The extreme temperatures demand heavy-duty spindles that are made of durable materials that do not freeze. This may not be the case with ordinary reels, and I would not recommend as you can damage a gear that will serve for an extended period in the summer season. Additionally, the ice reels have an oversized handle that offers enough grip while wearing gloves. 

Q: Between the live baits and artificial lures, which is the best for ice fishing?

The performance of live baits is far much better than that of artificial lures. For a start, you can use a few maggots and keep increasing as you continue gaining experience on the same. Keep the live baits in an enclosed container, probably in a bag, to prevent them from freezing. This way, you can achieve the best results and trigger the lethargic fish to bite.

Q: How can I avoid line tangles?

You need to change the fishing line for every new fishing season. Put the line well on the spool in such a way that it can come out well into the reels tightly. When buying the streak, check on the specs to ensure it is meant for freezing water conditions. Do not use slipping drag and lift the streak while letting it spool continually out of the hole. Lastly, secure the tag limit to a steady object in order to make the line tensile for convenient use.

Features of the Top-Rated Ice Fishing Reels

Product Name Features Price Info
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels for  Narrow graphite design Computer balancing system Superior drag system Smooth performance Durable and stylish finishing Check Latest Price
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo Comes with a rod Original Ugly Stik blank construction Clear tip design Twist-lock reel seats Size 20 spinning reels Check Latest Price
Goture Spinning Reel Advanced waterproof bearing Anti-twist line roller
Powerful gear Balanced and lightweight One year warranty
Check Latest Price
Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel Robust graphite body construction Exclusive foldable handle CNC aluminium spool Deluxe design with extended stem  First-class sealed bearing  Instant anti-reverse with excellent zinc alloy drive gear Check Latest Price
Eagle Claw In-Line Ice Reel   Nylon body and spool construction Star drag with line clicker Free spool release button Spool tension adjustment Smooth Teflon drag Check Latest Price
Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Spinning Reel Non-corrosive stainless steel bearings Lightweight graphite body built Rigid aluminium bail wire Five bearing system Check Latest Price

Final Word

Rather than sit indoors and wait for the summer season to set in, as an avid angler, you should look for appropriate gear to continue with fishing activities even in winter. The reels are one of those ice fishing gear that will determine how successful your day out will be. Therefore, you should take your time to research the best ice fishing reels that the market can offer.

The above-reviewed products make ideal reels that will make you forget about the harsh conditions that freezing water present. Following the buyer’s guide provided, go through them and pick one that best suit your fishing needs.  Remember to pay keen attention to the drag capacity, bearings, handle, the material used, anti-ice system, weight, spool quality and durability in order to get the most ideal. A perfect combination of these features will result in a well-designed ice fishing reel that will not disappoint at that crucial moment. 

Buy one today and see how much fun ice fishing can be during the winter season!

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Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API