Ice fishing is an angling sport that is gaining in popularity – enough so that the market is flooded with ice fishing rods and in every option combination you can imagine.
If you are shopping for an ice fishing rod, then you are probably standing in the rod aisle wondering, “what action rod for ice fishing walleye is the best option.”
This article discusses ice fishing rods for Walleye, action, line options, and fishing conditions.
What action rod for ice fishing walleye?
The gold standard rod for ice fishing walleye is a medium-action rod in the 30-inch range.
You can go as long as 34-36 inches if you are fishing out in the open, or you can go as short as 28 inches if you are fishing in a small ice fishing hut.
Action is essential where the rod bends, needs to be somewhere in the middle of the range and the middle of the pole.
For those reasons, medium action is what most people use.
While the action is important, it is not the only consideration that anglers have when choosing an ice fishing pole, especially for Walleye.
These are not always small fish. In fact, walleye can top the ten-pound mark, and when fishing in lakes, you may be surprised by fish that are even larger.
Other fish species include perch, whitefish, big pike, lake trout, bull trout, rainbow trout, and big fat walleye.
You might find all of these fish species on a good day in the same ice hole.
What all that means is that rod action needs to be a combination of other rod features, such as power.
What rod should I use for walleye?
The type of rod you choose should be determined by the type of fish you may encounter.
If you only expect to fish walleye, then a 28-inch -36 inch rod with medium action and with a graphite blank with a medium-medium light power should be good.
The rods are short and need to bend more than a regular fishing rod.
The bend in the rod should be in the middle and, for bigger fish, all the way down to the handle. For smaller fish, medium-light is a good choice.
The other consideration when ice fishing is that you are able to feel the flutter of the lure.
It will help you discern between a bit and lure movement. Medium power and medium-light power should do that.
You might consider medium-light power rods with medium action if you are new to ice fishing.
In terms of reels, a solid 20 series should do just fine.
If you expect to target something like fat lake trout, they can weigh upwards of 45 pounds.
The same is true of big Northern Pike. If that is the case, you want a reel that can handle big fish, which means higher drag settings.
Bigger fish may need a 30-series reel with a 10-15 pound drag setting.
Smaller fish are awesome on a 20 series reel with lighter drag to ten pounds.
Is a medium-light ice rod good for walleye?
A medium-medium is a good place to start for Walleye.
There are more types of fish in walleye ponds than just the walleye.
If you encounter a big fish, the rod must be able to handle all that power.
If you go too light, then you risk breaking the rod. Medium action and medium power with a graphite blank are a good set-up for walleye.
If you are looking for a rod for summer fishing walleye, go with a 7-8 foot rod in the medium, medium-light, or light action range and with medium or light power.
What fishing line should you choose?
Fluorocarbon has become one of the top fishing lines for ice fishing.
It is hard to see in the water, making it a good choice for Walleye.
Mono would be a second choice, and braided line is the last choice simply because it is the easiest to spot, and walleye are very finicky about bait and line.
What depth should I ice fish for walleye?
You find walleye in frozen ponds’ 20-40 foot depth range.
The water is likely the warmest there. In less than 50-feet deep waters, you want to fish on the bottom or near the bottom.
The exception is in lakes that have clear water.
There you will fish in the 10-20 foot depth range.
On sunny days, you may find the walleye near the shallows, where the water is six feet deep.
Ice fishing walleye tips
- Don’t be Afraid to Fish Walleye at Night – Generally, dawn and dusk are the best time to fish walleye at night, but you may also do well at night. Walleye have excellent night vision making the darker hours the best times to target them.
- Adjust the Color of Lures based on watercolor and conditions – A general rule is that silver spoons do well in clear water lakes, while brighter colored lures or spoons do better in tea-stained lakes. Good color choices range from red and orange to vivid greens and yellows. Chartreuse is one of the best colors for walleye.
- Go Live – If lures and spoons are not tempting the walleye, use live bait. You can also use cut bait on a jig to strike finicky walleye.