5 Best Ice Fishing Rods for Panfish (Reviews Updated 2022)

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Ice fishing is unique in itself – cutting a hole in the ice and trying to lure fish creates for more specialized techniques like jigging. And while there is quite a wide variety of species that anglers ice fish, the panfish is the most popular. The ideal ice fishing rods for panfish should be highly sensitive, lightweight, durable, and tough enough to handle the dynamic strain that comes with ice fishing.

Best Ice Fishing Rods for Panfish

To save you the shopping hassle, we have compiled a list of our top five ice fishing rods for panfish that all boast of great functionality and don’t cost a fortune.

1. Fenwick HMG Rod

Fenwick Hmg Ice Fishing Rod

The Fenwick HMG is a top-notch fishing rod that comes as a spinning rod and features a high modulus graphite blank. It comes with a tapered construction for strength and sensitivity, comes with a moderate action, and different power ratings for versatility. It also comes with aluminum-oxide lined guides, premium-grade cork handles, and a twist-lock reel seat for a solid hold.

  • Lightweight and sensitive.
  • Highly ergonomic design.
  • Very durable and versatile.
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2. St Croix Panfish Series

St Croix Panfish Series

Built specifically for panfish, the St. Croix series come as spinning rods that boast of a unique blend of SCVI and SCII graphite for the best lightweight and sensitive performance. They come with light power and fast action, the Sea Guide reel seat and guide design, and are comfortable to handle with premium-grade cork handles. It is 6’4’’ long, is very tough, and exceptionally durable.

  • Lightweight and sensitive.
  • Panfish-specific design.
  • Ergonomic and durable.
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3. Tailored Tackle Combo

Tailored Tackle Ice Fishing Combo

The Tailored Tackle ice fishing rod for panfish comes as a spinning rod and reel combo and boasts of excellent versatility to different target species. It is 28’’ long, comes with medium-light power and fast action, and is exceptionally sensitive. It also comes with a size 20 smooth performance reel that comes with a decent line capacity, drag control, and sits in between the dual grip cork handles that yield excellent comfort.

  • Very versatile.
  • Comes as a spinning combo, includes a guide.
  • Very sensitive, excellent controls.
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4. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Rod

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Rod

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik comes as a spinning fishing rod and features a unique fiberglass/graphite blend for superior performance. It comes with a single-material guide design that eliminates inserts pop-outs, a high-strength and ultra-sensitive tip, and ergonomic EVA grips for comfort. It boasts of a sleek overall design, comes in lengths between 26’’ to 30’’, and with powers between light to medium-heavy.

  • Excellent durability.
  • Lightweight performance.
  • Sleek design, great variety.
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5. St. Croix Avid Ice Jigging

St. Croix Avid Ice Jigging

The St. Croix Avid spinning rod is specially designed for jigging panfish and features a lightweight, high-strength carbon blank. It sports a slim profile for the most sensitivity and a unique full-grip handle for comfort. It also comes in different lengths and performance ratings, features a Kigan stripper guide, and smooth line guides for line durability.

  • Specially designed for jigging.
  • Very sensitive and comfortable.
  • Very versatile.
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Ice Fishing Rods for Panfish Buying Guide

Small enough to fit into a pan but still big enough for a decent meal, getting the right ice fishing rod for panfish is essential to raise your chances for a great catch. Between the different rod types and prices, choosing the right ice fishing rod for panfish can be a challenge.

Our buying guide reviews the best ice fishing rods for panfish on the market based on their specified features and performance to give you the best options to choose from. We then take it a step further to outline the necessary factors to consider and the qualities to look out for in an ice fishing rod for panfish before you make a purchase.


Ice fishing rods for panfish stand out from other rods especially in their lengths. Unlike other traditional rods where longer means better for farther casts, ice fishing rods are usually short to emphasize portability and strength. Most ice fishing rods will come in between 2’ to 4’ lengths except for a few which may come at up to 6’ long depending on the angler’s preference.


The sensitivity of your ice fishing rod for panfish is one of the most important factors to consider. As you can’t see whether the fish has taken your bait or not, you are relying completely on vibrations that will be transferred through your line to your rod. To maximize sensitivity, your ice fishing rod for panfish should come with ultralight to medium power ratings and fast action.


The materials and weight of your ice fishing rod for panfish is the next important factor to consider. The materials of your ice fishing rod for panfish should be as lightweight and durable as possible. Fiberglass, graphite, and composites like carbon fiber are the most common materials, ice fishing rods for panfish are made from. Fiberglass rods are the most affordable and are common and decently lightweight. Graphite rods are lighter and more sensitive than graphite fishing rods and are also more expensive. Composites offer the best balance between low weight, sensitivity, and power and are also the most expensive. In all, any ice fishing rod for panfish you go for should be as light as possible so you can carry it around conveniently.


Unlike other fishing rod types where mounting options may be available, ice fishing rods panfish is mostly hands-on and thus the ergonomics play an important role. You want the most comfortable, non-slip grips made from EVA or cork, and that will also keep your hands insulated.