When the summer ends and your local fishing spots freeze over, you should be looking to swap the line on your spool for a more fitting alternative. That’s where ice lines come in, with dozens of brands and types that will perform under these conditions so that not even harsh weather can stand in your way.
We’ve looked at five of these and have ordered them below. By doing this, we’ve narrowed down your options and made your decision an easier one, since you can rest assured that whichever one you pick will be a quality product.
We’ve also explained why you need ice fishing lines and provided a small FAQ section where popular ice fishing questions have been answered.
Here are the links to our top five ice fishing lines, along with a small writeup of what we liked about them and what types of fishing they’re best suited to.
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Best Ice Fishing Line for All Situations - Comparison Table
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Best Ice Fishing Line for All Situations - Reviews
This line is our top-rated and is one of the best-selling ice fishing braid lines on the online market, setting it apart as a reliable product from trusted leading industry line manufacturers.
The result is a micro fused Dyneema fiber superline that’s strong, abrasion-resistant, and features an ultra-thin diameter and superb sensitivity for a subtle cast that is responsive to the slightest of bites.
If you’re ice fishing, this line is the one that’ll deliver the best results. That said, it’s also the more expensive line option, meaning that it’s a purchase that you have to justify.
It’s made with R8 precision braiding tech with a patented combination of eight fibers, seven Dyneema, and one GORE Performance Fiber, all weaved at thirty-two weaves per inch to create the strongest but smallest ice braid.
We picked this one since it’s the top-rated fluorocarbon line to be used with ice fishing, once again pointing to this product being both reliable and well-reviewed.
It markets itself on its invisible fluorocarbon line, its refractive index camouflaging it in the water. It’s not a weak line, however, with a low-stretch formula promoting greater sensitivity and more solid hooksets when fishing.
A premium tip-up line that blows similar competitors out of the water with its quality. It’s made to handle well in cold-weather, featuring a Hydro Fusion construction process that allows it to sink faster and stretch less when engaged in fishing, supporting an impressive diameter-to-strength ratio.
Last but not least is the best ice fishing monofilament on the list, an all-temperature line that remains strong when the temperature drops below freezing.
Best Ice Fishing Line for All Situations - Buyers Guide
Types of Ice Fishing Line
There are four types of lines you’ll find when searching for ice fishing lines, those being monofilament, fluorocarbon, braid, and tip-up lines. Whilst all different, they’re either constructed or treated with specially formulated design features that help them perform better in freezing temperatures.
Those who know their fishing lines will usually recommend mono lines for ice fishing. Why? Because monofilament lines are known for their soft and low memory performance, meaning it’s slightly buoyant and can support certain fishing techniques skilled fishermen may want to execute.
There is a downside to this, however, with you losing some sensitivity when compared to other fishing line types. It’s also more susceptible to abrasive materials, including ice, so you’ll have to replace these lines more often.
Fluorocarbon is generally considered better than mono lines because they’re tougher yet more sensitive, and they stretch less, too. That added sensitivity is great for detecting those very light bites that you would miss with other lines. It also sinks faster, about four times faster, than monofilament lines. This means you should usually reach for fluorocarbon over monofilament if you’re fishing in deep waters.
Fluorocarbon requires some extra care to work with, however, since it has a higher memory and coils up on the spool more often. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to see anglers using cheaper monofilament or braid lines in tandem with ten or twenty yards of fluorocarbon when it’s needed.
Braid line is another option if you’re working with deep water, as well as water with stain to it. Braided lines have ultra-small diameters, low stretch, and a lot of toughness. It’s an efficient option for those who want lines that have the width of a hair that can still pull four to five lbs. The fact it has next to no stretch helps to penetrate hooks at depth.
If you’re angling in single-digit temperatures, you should keep an eye on the water absorption that these lines will suffer from. Some braided lines are coated to reduce this, but those lines obviously come at higher price points.
Tip-Up lines are those made of woven Dacron fibers, meaning that they’re technically braided lines but they don’t function like superlines. Instead, they’re much smoother and very easy to work with, not coiling or kinking despite long periods of use. The tip-up line gets a quicker hookset since they don’t uncoil as fast, keeping the line taut when you catch a fish.
Why You Need Ice Fishing Line
Why is it important to use an ice fishing line when angling in lower temperatures? The answer is simply because they’re made and tailored to work better in those conditions, usually along four different performance categories. These are the lines’ low-temperature performance, abrasion resistance, bite sensitivity, and the line stretch.
This is obviously the most important property of ice fishing lines, because an ice fishing line that doesn’t perform well in cold temperatures isn’t an ice fishing line at all. Fishing lines stiffen in the cold, so manufacturers use different formulations when making low-temperature fishing lines to keep them slack and loose. The results are ice fishing lines that handle better than regular lines would when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
When fishing through ice holes, or along other surfaces where sand, dirt, and grit are present, the jagged edges of these surfaces can fray normal fishing lines. Ice fishing line is made to be tougher and more resistant to the abrasion that shards of ice and dirt cause. As the season progresses, you’ll get dirt and grit collecting on the ice too, creating double the trouble if you’re using regular lines.
Between fish generally being lazier in the winter and the fact you may be fishing through a small fishing hole in the ice, the bites you’ll get will be subtle and slight. Monofilament is a respectable choice but if you want the most sensitivity, you’ll want braid or fluorocarbon lines. The issue of sensitivity is eliminated by the tip-up line since it just needs to come off the spool easily until the fish is within reach.
More or less line stretching isn’t a necessarily good thing since it depends on your method of fishing. Fluorocarbon hasn’t got much stretch to it, is very sensitive, and very responsive when detecting subtle bites. If you prefer to use jigs and spoons for a fluttery action during your angling, having more stretch is great. Braid lines are best for deep water jigging since they have no stretch to them and are good on performance in general.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will braided lines damage my rod?
You may hear some trepidation overusing braided lines since they’re thought to damage the rod rings and reel spool of your fishing rod. You can avoid the spool damage by tightly spooling the line and setting the drag light enough that it slips when setting the hook.
As for the general scoring and the attrition that braids can cause, it depends on both the quality of the line and the quality of the rods. Cheaper braid lines tend to be rougher and cheaper rods aren’t made to the same quality as high-end ones, and so will score quickly when subjected to line friction over a long period of time.
Look for rods with silicon carbide (SiC) guides, since they don’t deteriorate and break when used with braid fishing line.
What colors do fish see best?
As you may have gathered from reading above, the visibility of the line can be an important factor in getting those fish to bite. A line that fish can see can make them suspicious of the bait, not to mention spook them when you first cast the line, so every angler should be aware of which colors are the most visible to fish’s eyes.
If you’re concerned with visibility, you should err on the side of clear lines, though it’s difficult to see above water. If you want to have above-water visibility but beneath-water invisibility, then there are some colors that are better than others.
Fluorocarbon markets itself on its near-invisible presence when put in the water, though some manufacturers tint their fluorocarbon lines with pink since pink loses its color at certain depths.
Monofilament lines come in green, red, and yellow color variants, with green blending into its surroundings well, and all of them working better when the water isn’t clean. This means it’s a tradeoff between your ability to see the line versus the fish’s, and you should know whether you can get away with colored lines at your local fishing hole by being aware of how aggressive the fish are.