Best Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Walleye: 2023 Top Picks

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Ice fishing is a popular winter pastime that brings anglers into frozen lakes and ponds for a bountiful catch beneath the ice. One fish species highly sought after during ice fishing is walleye, known for its delicious taste and challenging nature. To make the most out of your ice fishing experience, finding the right rod and reel combo is crucial. Having the right gear ensures you’re prepared for the environmental conditions and unique challenges when targeting walleye.

An ideal ice fishing rod and reel combo for walleye should perfectly balance sensitivity, durability, and weight. While sensitivity is essential to detect the subtle bites of the elusive walleye, it’s also vital to have a rod with enough backbone to set the hook and fight larger fish. Regarding reels, a quality ice fishing reel should feature a smooth drag system and be resistant to freezing temperatures, ensuring flawless functioning even on the coldest days.

When choosing the best ice fishing rod and reel combo for walleye, attention must be given to the rod’s length, power, action, gear ratio, line capacity, and overall construction. Selecting a combo with the right balance of these factors will help maximize your chances of catching your target: the hard-fighting, delicious walleye.

We tirelessly researched and tested various ice fishing rod and reel combos to help you find the perfect setup to elevate your walleye-catching efforts this ice fishing season. Let’s dive into our top picks and help you make an informed decision for your next ice-fishing adventure.

Best Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Walleye

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best ice fishing rod and reel combos for catching walleye. Check out our top selections below to find the perfect fit for your next ice-fishing adventure!

PLUSINNO Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

PLUSINNO Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

We highly recommend this combo for walleye ice fishing due to its sensitivity, durability, and comfortable grip.


  • Sensitive and durable fiberglass composite tip
  • Comfortable cork handle for cold conditions
  • Smooth stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts


  • Maybe less suitable for larger fish species
  • The two-piece rod is not mentioned in the product description
  • Could benefit from a floating design

This PLUSINNO ice fishing rod and reel combo has been a pleasure to use for walleye. The sensitive and durable fiberglass composite tip ensures we can easily detect subtle bites. At the same time, the comfortable cork handle helps to keep our grip firm even when the temperature drops. The 28-inch medium-power rod is an ideal length for fishing inside hub or wheelhouse shelters and has proven effective when jigging with spoons for walleyes.

The smooth stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts are a bonus as they prevent the line from getting caught, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ice fishing experience. Moreover, this set is portable since it can be packed under 16.5 inches for easy transportation and storage.

This rod and reel combo may be less suitable for larger fish species, so it might not cater to all ice fishers’ needs. Additionally, the product description didn’t mention that it is a two-piece rod, which could be a crucial detail for some users. Moreover, a floating design could be helpful to prevent accidentally losing the rod down the ice hole.

Overall, the PLUSINNO ice fishing rod and reel combo is an excellent choice for walleye fishing, delivering sensitivity, durability, and comfort. However, users looking to target larger fish species might want to explore other options.

13 Fishing – Microtec Walleye – Spinning Ice Fishing Combos Regular 28″ M

13 Fishing - Microtec Walleye

A reliable and affordable ice fishing rod and reel combo that delivers exceptional performance for walleye anglers.


  • Solid fiberglass blank provides durability and sensitivity
  • Custom handle design for improved walleye fishing experience
  • Stainless steel guides offer smooth line flow and resist corrosion


  • Some potential finish issues at the handle connection
  • The reel may not be of the highest quality.
  • Potentially inconsistent shipping and packaging quality

Our recent ice fishing trip using the 13 Fishing Microtec Walleye combo impressed us with its performance. The solid fiberglass blank ensured durability and provided the sensitivity needed to detect subtle walleye bites. We were able to feel our minnows and every fish that hit our bait, thanks to this combo.

The custom handle design for walleye applications made it significantly more comfortable for us to hold and maneuver. Furthermore, the stainless steel guides allowed for smooth line flow while also offering excellent resistance against corrosion—a crucial aspect when ice fishing.

However, we must mention that there might be some minor finish issues, particularly where the handle connects to the rod. Moreover, while the reel does its job, it isn’t necessarily top-notch in quality. Another concern we had was the packaging and shipping, as some users received damaged products.

That being said, the 13 Fishing Microtec Walleye ice fishing rod and reel combo provides a fantastic fishing experience for walleye enthusiasts at an affordable price point. Its strengths outweigh the minor issues, making it highly recommended for those seeking a reliable ice fishing setup.

Zebco Stinger Ice Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo 36″ Rod – M

Zebco Stinger Ice Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

The Zebco Stinger Ice Combo is versatile and reliable for ice and light boat fishing.


  • Durable fiberglass rod blank
  • QuickSet anti-reverse feature
  • Designed for cold weather applications


  • May not suit larger species
  • Handle may be uncomfortable for some users
  • Greased gears could need maintenance

We tried the Zebco Stinger Ice Combo and found that the medium power 36-inch fishing rod makes targeting light species such as panfish and trout a breeze. The sensitive and durable fiberglass rod blank is built to withstand tough conditions, while the Twist-Lock reel seat ensures stability during use.

The QuickSet anti-reverse feature in the reel prevented the handle from moving backward, helping us set our hooks firmly in the mouths of fish. The reel’s changeable right or left-hand retrieve is adapted to each user’s fishing style.

One downside we noticed was that this combo might not be suitable for targeting larger species due to its medium power. However, the superior construction of Zebco’s all-metal gears, greased specifically for cold temperatures, still made it an effective combo for cold-weather fishing. The 4.3:1 gear ratio and front-adjustable drag provided smooth performance and versatility in various fishing conditions.

The comfortable EVA rod handle was decent for all-day use, though some users may find it uncomfortable. Maintaining the greased gears can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s still a worthwhile investment for dedicated anglers.

In conclusion, the Zebco Stinger Ice Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo are highly recommended for ice fishing enthusiasts who value convenience, flexibility, and reliability in cold weather applications.

PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

The PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Combo is a great choice for its sensitivity and durability, perfect for walleye ice fishing.


  • Sensitive and strong fiberglass composite rod
  • Upgraded guide rings designed for ice anglers
  • Ultra-light and smooth reel


  • Accessories are of lower quality
  • Rod construction may seem unusual
  • Not suitable for extremely heavy species

We recently used the PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo and were impressed with its sensitivity and strength. The fiberglass composite rod offers a wide range of power options, making it suitable for various needs, such as ice fishing for walleye, panfish, perch, trout, pikes, and bass.

The upgraded guide rings on this combo are designed specifically for ice anglers. They are compact, smooth, and made of stainless steel, preventing the wet fishing line from freezing and sticking into the guides. This ensures a comfortable and hassle-free ice fishing experience.

The spinning reel also impressed us with its lightweight aluminum body and rotor, providing the necessary durability for harsh winter conditions. It features 3+1 high-quality bearings and precision gear engagement, allowing for ultra-smooth performance when battling big fish under the ice.

One downside we noticed is that the included accessories are lower quality than the rod and reel itself. However, this doesn’t affect the overall performance of the combo. Additionally, some anglers might find the rod construction unusual but interesting.

Moreover, this combo is not designed for handling extremely heavy species, so it may not be the best choice for some ice anglers targeting larger fish. Despite these minor setbacks, we believe that the PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is a reliable and cost-effective option for those who enjoy ice fishing for walleye.

PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo

PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo

We recommend this combo for its sensitivity, smoothness, and usability in ice fishing for walleye.


  • Sensitive and strong rod
  • Smooth and durable guides
  • Ultra-light and smooth reel


  • Average reel quality
  • Medium-light power
  • No lures and lines included

Our experience with the PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo has been satisfying. The high-quality fiberglass rod offers excellent sensitivity and strength, perfect for detecting the subtlest bites and successfully hauling in our catch. The fast action tip is ideal for ice fishing for walleye, as it provides the necessary sensitivity for detecting this elusive fish.

The stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts ensure smoothness and durability, preventing line sticking and enhancing sensitivity by transferring vibrations from the line to the rod and our hands. The ultra-light reel’s body and rotor are lightweight aluminum, reducing weight without sacrificing strength and durability. With its 3+1 bearing and precision gear engagement, this combo offers an ultra-smooth performance that we found quite impressive.

The EVA grips designed for winter also contribute to the overall user experience. The soft EVA and cork handle balance sturdiness and convenience, offering a superior grip that remains secure even when wet. We appreciate the variety of rod sizes available – 26-inch Light power, 27-inch Medium Light power, and 28-inch Medium power – allowing us to pick the one that suits our specific needs.

In conclusion, the PLUSINNO Ultralight Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo is a dependable choice for ice fishing enthusiasts looking to catch walleye. Its sensitivity, smoothness, and winter-friendly design make it an invaluable tool in harsh conditions. Remember that no lures and lines are included, so you may need to purchase those separately.

Buying Guide

When it comes to selecting the best ice fishing rod and reel combo for walleye, there are several key features and factors that we should consider. In this buying guide, we will discuss these factors and offer some tips to help you make an informed decision.


The material of the rod and reel plays a crucial role in its performance and durability. Fiberglass and graphite are the most common materials used in ice fishing rods. Fiberglass is more durable and less likely to break, while graphite is lighter and more sensitive, helping us detect subtle bites.

Rod Length and Power

Rod length and power are important factors to consider as they affect the casting distance and the ability to handle different fish sizes. For walleye, a 24 to 36-inch rod is ideal, providing a good balance of sensitivity and power. Regarding power, medium-light to medium options work great for walleye ice fishing.

Reel Type and Gear Ratio

Two main types of reels are used for ice fishing: inline and spinning. Inline reels are specially designed for ice fishing, offering reduced line twists and better lure presentation. On the other hand, spinning reels are versatile and can be used in various fishing situations.

The gear ratio refers to the number of times the spool turns for each handle rotation. For walleye ice fishing, a moderate gear ratio of around 4:1 is ideal, providing a good retrieval speed and power balance.

Line Capacity and Drag System

The reel’s line capacity is crucial, especially when targeting larger walleyes. Ensure the reel can hold enough lines of the preferred type and weight. Additionally, a smooth and strong drag system is essential for handling powerful runs and sudden jerks by the fish.

Handle and Comfort

For extended periods of ice fishing, it’s important to have a comfortable handle that allows for a secure grip. Look for ergonomic handles made from cork or EVA foam and keep your hands warm.

To make an informed decision when choosing the best ice fishing rod and reel combo for walleye, consider these factors and prioritize features according to your specific needs and preferences. Happy fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal ice fishing setup for walleye?

The ideal ice fishing setup for walleye includes a sensitive and medium-light power rod paired with a dependable reel with a smooth drag system. Combining this with a quality ice fishing line, such as fluorocarbon or braided line with a fluorocarbon leader, will help us detect light bites and catch more walleye.

Which rod length is preferable for walleye ice fishing?

We recommend rod lengths between 28 and 32 inches for walleye ice fishing. This range offers a nice balance between sensitivity and control, allowing us to effectively feel subtle bites and efficiently set the hook and fight the fish.

What size reel is recommended for walleye ice fishing?

A size 20 or 25 spinning reel is recommended for walleye ice fishing. These reels have the right line capacity and appropriate drag settings for the light lines typically used while ice fishing for walleye. Selecting a reel with a smooth and reliable drag system is crucial to handling the pressure during a fight.

How do St. Croix ice fishing rods perform for walleye?

St. Croix ice fishing rods perform exceptionally well for walleye. They offer a variety of models with high-quality materials and construction, providing excellent sensitivity and responsiveness. The St. Croix Legend Black or Mojo Ice series are popular choices for walleye ice fishing.

Are 13 Fishing ice rods suitable for walleye?

Yes, 13 Fishing ice rods are suitable for walleye. The 13 Fishing Widow Maker and Tickle Stick series are especially well-suited for targeting walleye due to their sensitivity, strength, and balance. These rods are designed to give anglers a better chance of detecting light bites and successfully hooking walleye.

Are custom ice fishing rods a good investment for walleye fishing?

Custom ice fishing rods can be a great investment for walleye fishing if we have specific preferences or requirements not met by available pre-made rods. Custom rods allow us to tailor the rod’s action, power, and other characteristics to our specific needs, potentially leading to a more enjoyable and effective fishing experience. However, they often come with a higher price tag, so consider your budget and preferences when deciding whether a custom ice fishing rod is right for you.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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