Best Ice Fishing Reels of 2021


ice fishing rods and reels

Looking for a new ice fishing reel for the upcoming season? Our SCHEELS fishing experts break down which type of ice fishing reel you’ll need—inline or spinning—as well as offer their recommendations for the best ice fishing reels of 2021. No matter if you’re a beginner angler or experienced, our best ice fishing reel suggestions offer something for every skill level.

Before selecting your next (or first) reel, it’s important to understand which type of ice fishing reel works best for you. If you're just learning how to ice fish, a spinning ice fishing reel is a good option because they can handle a variety of different ice fishing techniques, sizes and species of fish, and generally cost less too. For those who have some experience, an inline ice fishing reel is a great choice because you’re able to perfect your jigging technique as well as enjoy a bit more durability when on the ice.

Best Spinning Ice Fishing Reels

Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel

Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel: lightweight, affordable, and perfect for any type of fish

If you’re targeting a variety of different species, the Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel is a reliable choice. Made from a combination of aluminum and graphite, this spinning ice fishing reel is lightweight yet durable enough to tackle any size fish. The price-point and ease of use is perfect for someone who is just learning how to ice fish too. Plus, you can use the Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel for both ice and open water fishing.


Scheels Outfitters Pro Classic Spinning Reel by Daiwa

Scheels Outfitters Pro Classic Spinning Reel by Daiwa: ultra lightweight, deep spool, and perfect for big game fish

If you’re an angler who targets predator species, the SCHEELS Outfitters Pro Classic Spinning Reel by Daiwa is just what you need. The design of this ice fishing reel is a collaboration between the Daiwa’s reel craftsmen and SCHEELS fishing experts to bring you one of the best ice fishing reels. The larger profile and deep spool of this reel makes it great to use with longer rods and heavier lines that are required for predator fishing. Plus, the ultra lightweight feel keeps your rod comfortable for long days on the ice.



Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel

okuma ceymar baitfeeder spinning reel: lightweight, baitfeeder system, and perfect for deadsticks

If you’re looking for the best ice fishing reel for deadsticking, the Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel is the perfect option to add to your collection. Featuring a quality baitfeeder system, this ice fishing spinning reel sets up your live bait presentation in such a way that entices the fish to strike. Both our fishing experts and customers alike love this ice fishing reel for deadsticking:

  • “These work great! So much so that I ordered a second one.” ~ Mark P.
  • “I own several and love them all. This is a good ice reel for the money. Love the baitfeeder option for deadsticking walleye and pike on the 1000 series.” ~ Dan M.

Best Inline Ice Fishing Reels

13 Fishing Black Betty FreeFall Inline Ice Reel

13 Fishing Black Betty FreeFall Inline Ice Reel: Instant hookup system, freefall performance window, and prevents twists

If you’re looking for the best inline reel on the market, our experts recommend the 13 Fishing Black Betty FreeFall Inline Ice Reel. The trigger system on this ice reel allows for ultimate line control while the inline design prevents line twists, especially when using light lines. You can easily operate the Black Betty FreeFall with one hand and trust that the durable design keeps this inline reel operating even in the coldest temperatures.

Clam Dave Genz Ice Spooler Elite Reel

Clam Dave Genz Ice Spooler Elite Reel: affordable, run and gun style, adjustable drag

For those who like to hole hop while ice fishing, you want to make sure to invest in a quality ice reel that won’t freeze up. The Clam Dave Genz Ice Spooler Elite Reel is one of the best ice fishing reels for this style of fishing. Being a fly fishing style inline ice reel, the Clam Dave Genz Ice Spooler Elite features a longer reel foot compared to traditional fly reels so that you can comfortably hold your rod. Plus, this ice fishing reel can be used by left- or right-handed anglers.

Whether you’re looking for an ice fishing spinning reel or an inline reel, our experts’ picks for the best ice fishing reels are a great place to start. If you have additional questions about which type of ice fishing reel you should invest in, be sure to contact an ice fishing expert at your nearest SCHEELS location.