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Ice Fishing Pole V Tip-Up

Using an Ice Fishing Pole Vs a Tip-Up: a Helpful guide

Using an Ice Fishing PoleWe all have different goals and reasons for hitting the ice. Some people are trying to catch the biggest fish, while others are looking for quantity to feed their families. Whatever your reason, you need the right equipment to get the job done. 

If you’re trying to decide whether to ice fish with a pole or a tip-up, let us break it down for you. 

When deciding what type of rig you should use, it’s important to know what your ultimate goal is for the day. 

  • If you are shooting to fill up a five-gallon pail to feed your family, then it may be best to use tip-ups. 
  • If you’re going for the glory of catching a fish worthy of mounting on the living room wall, you may want to just focus on a single hole and stick to a fishing pole.

Ice Fishing Poles

If you’re wondering about using a traditional open-water fishing pole to go ice fishing, the short answer is yes, you can. However, most people find that a fishing pole designed for ice fishing is a better fit. 

Honestly, if you’re in the right location, you can probably catch a fish with nothing more than a stick, line, and hook. But, it’s worth mentioning that poles designed for ice fishing work better. 

Our Favorite Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo:

13 FISHING Ice Fishing Combo Rod and Reel

 13 fishing ice fishing pole with rod and reel combo

Short Pole VS Long Pole

It’s hard to decide when a short pole is a better fit than a long pole. Here’s a quick overview of that.  

Short Pole - Pros Long Pole - Cons
  • Designed to be more sensitive to the mild wintertime bites
  • Easier to carry and store
  • It can fit inside a small ice hut or tent
  • Since the pole is shorter and easier to maneuver, you can dip the tip of the pole into the ice when reeling in a fish, this allows you to control where the fish is going and also helps to prevent your line from getting cut on the edge of the ice hole. 
  • The pole is shorter so easier to fish closer to the hole
  • You don’t have to worry about the line getting cut on edge of the ice hole as much as a long pole
  • Due to its length, it cannot fit in a small ice hut or tent 
  • Fish can spit out the bait without you noticing
  • Not as sensitive so it is  more difficult to detect when a fish on the hook
  • Pole is too long, so you have to stand farther away from the ice hole
  • They are bulkier to carry and store
  • You have to worry about cutting line on edge of the ice hole when reeling in your fish

Ice Fishing Pole Lengths

Ice Fishing Poles Ice fishing poles typically range between 18” – 48” in length. You may be wondering how you know which length to use. The length you decide to use will depend upon the size and type of fish you are going after.



  • For smaller panfish such as bluegill, crappie, or perch, grab an 18” – 24” pole. 
  • For larger fish, like northern pike or giant lake trout, go for a longer and stronger pole in the 36” – 48” range. 
  • For a pole that can handle catching a variety of sizes, go for one that is labeled as a medium-light rod that ranges between 25” – 35” in length.

Using the right pole for the type of fish you are wanting to catch is important. You don’t want to be using an ultra-light rod to catch a Northern Pike only to have the line, or even worse, the pole break right when they get up to the hole.

Reels and Line - Does It Matter?

Reels and LineWondering what type of reel and line should you be using? 

Truthfully you can use any regular reel that you want but should consider that you won’t be casting. Since you are simply dropping the line in the water you want a reel that spools easily and can handle the weight of whatever size fish you are trying to catch. 

You can use a regular fishing line to ice fish. But keep in mind, the line that is designed for ice fishing does work better and kinks up less. 

Another issue that some ice anglers report is that the reels designed for open water fishing can eventually stick in extremely cold temperatures. For this reason, you may need to replace the existing grease with a high-viscosity grease to avoid sticking and freezing. 

Benefits of Ice Fishing With a Tip-Up

If you are trying to feed a lot of people and need to catch a lot of fish then this section is definitely for you. There are many benefits to using tip-ups when ice fishing. 

The obvious and greatest benefit of using a tip-up when ice fishing is that you can have multiple holes and lines at one time. Having more holes greatly increases your chances of bringing home supper and filling up those hungry bellies. 

An additional perk to using tip-ups is that you can cover a larger area of the ice and see where the fish are hitting the best. This allows you to readjust to catch even more fish.


Sit Back and Relax

Another great thing about using tip-ups is you can sit back and be lazy, at least until you see the flag. Then you better shed some layers and take off running before you lose your fish. 

While you can use a tip-up in an ice hut or a tent, most of the time if you are fishing a single hole you will just use an ice fishing pole.

Resist the Freeze

Tip-ups are great because they are specifically designed for the ice fisherman or woman. They are made of components that are resistant to freezing in super cold temperatures and most come with an adjustable sensitivity trigger so you can easily change from light to heavy sensitivity.

Our Favorite Ice Fishing Tip-Up:

HT Enterprise PTE-200 Polar Therm Extreme Tip-UpHT Thermal extreme tip up freeze resistant for ice fishing

I-Fish Pro Vs Tip-Up

Wall Trophy or Belly Filler

Ice FishingWhether you are looking for a new trophy to hang on your wall or fill up everyone’s bellies, you are sure to achieve the results that you desire with one or both of these methods. 

After all, nobody ever said you can’t do both. One method is not necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what you are trying to do. Have fun and experiment until you find what works best for you. 








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5 thoughts on “Using an Ice Fishing Pole Vs a Tip-Up: a Helpful guide”

  1. One of the other top fishing rods on the market is made of fiberglass. The rod has fiberglass tips and can be extremely strong and flexible. If you need a very long rod, this could be the right choice for you. If you are a beginner or a new fisherman, you might want to consider one of these top quality rods.

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