To get the most from your tackle, line choice is critical. Unfortunately, this is a complicated subject, and it’s easy to find plenty of misinformation out there. Since the wrong choice can lead to frustration, missed strikes, and broken line, we’d like to help by offering a clear, fact-backed discussion of line basics, followed by a review of the best ice fishing lines.
Table of Contents (clickable)
Best Ice Fishing Line on the Market Today
Weights: 6-100 lbs.
Sufix Ice Braid is available in an enormous range of weights, so whether you’re after panfish or pike, they’ve got the line you need. We’d like to see more options on the light end, but even 6 pound test is remarkably thin in braided line.
Available in two colors--natural tan and steel gray--we like the options, since they give us a chance to match the line to the water we’re fishing.
Sufix applies an anti-icing compound to this braid, and it works pretty well. The line will ice, but simply passing it through the guides should shed that frozen coating without clogging your rod. It’s also very limp, and memory shouldn’t be an issue even on the tiniest spinning reels.
Strong, no-stretch, and sensitive, this Ice Braid is ideal for deep jigging and when you’re after bigger fish. Like all braided lines, we recommend careful knotting.
Weights: 2-6 lbs.
Berkley Trilene’s Fluorocarbon Ice is exactly what the name suggests: a 100 percent fluorocarbon line designed around the needs of ice anglers.
This line sinks quickly, much faster than braid or mono, and it’s invisible to fish. These are serious advantages. It’s also really abrasion-resistant, as fluorocarbon should be. Available in 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 pound tests, if you’re worried about visibility and want to crush crappie and bluegill, you could do a lot worse.
However, the downside of fluorocarbon is evident with this line, too. Especially in heavier weight and cold temps, the Fluorocarbon Ice can get stiff and even threaten to unspool. That’s especially troublesome if you fish with an ultralight spinning reel, and we’d only recommend this line for in-line reels.
Weights: 2-8 lbs.
Berkley Trilene Micro Ice is a monofilament line well-suited for ice fishing. While some anglers have moved away from mono, we see its advantages and recognize that it has strengths other lines don’t. This line has been engineered to reduce stretch, increasing sensitivity while still providing great shock resistance.
Available in 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 pound variants, you’ll find this line in two colors: clear steel and solar. Visibility should be fine, though not on par with light braid or fluorocarbon. While not up for real monsters like muskie, this line should be more than enough to land perch, bluegill, crappie, trout, and smaller pike and walleye. Especially in 2 pound test, this line is a real mono champion, demonstrating that the tried and true isn’t done.
Like all mono, Berkley Trilene’s Micro Ice ties well. Whether it will display elephant-like memory depends in part on your spool size, how often you change your line, and temperature. Generally speaking, we find this mono to be pretty friendly for jigging.
Weights: 2-8 lbs.
Type: fluorocarbon coated monofilament
P-Line’s Floroice takes advantage of the strengths of both mono and fluorocarbon. In that respect, it offers a great combination of shock strength and invisibility. Those are both attributes well-worth considering, and it makes sense to highlight them with this unique approach.
Available in standard mono weights--2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 pound tests--the Floroice isn’t the best choice for bruisers. Instead, it’s built around the needs of perch and trout, bluegill and crappie, with occasional (or accidental) bites from small walleye and pike. Expect near invisibility from this fluorocarbon-coated line in all weights.
Unfortunately, while the Floroice has the strengths of both materials, it has its weaknesses, too. Some stretch and reduced sensitivity are to be expected, and as the mercury drops, this line will stiffen. Icing can be an issue, so this line is best deployed from a shelter rather than when exposed to the elements.
Weights: 5-15 lbs.
PowerPro Ice-Tec is braided superline coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), rendering it less susceptible to water absorption. That’s a good addition, since wet, freezing line is one of the main issues we have with braided lines on the ice.
Available in 5, 8, 10, and 15 pound tests, expect ultra-thin diameters and fantastic sensitivity. Ice-Tec is available in a single color--marine blue--but especially in the lower weights, diameters as small as .1 mm mean that this line will be hair-thin. That should make it all but invisible.
As is usual for braided line, expect some knot issues. PowerPro recommends doubling the line for the knot whenever possible with your tackle, and of course you should lubricate the knot before tightening it as well. Remember that braided line can be tough on skin, so be sure to bring some pliers to cinch your knots down tight.
Weights: 4-30 lbs.
Sufix 832 features a unique braided composition. One strand of a special fiber made by the material experts at Gore fiber--the makers of Gore-Tex--is interwoven with seven Dyneema fibers, providing exceptional strength and promising great water resistance.
That promise isn’t always kept, however, and if you’re fishing unprotected on the ice, freezing can be an issue. But like all braided line, expect no stretch and great sensitivity from 832. Extremely limp, this line won’t remember the shape of your spool, making it ideal for jigging.
Available in 4, 6, 8, 10, 20, and 30 pound tests, Sufix 832 is only offered in a single color, Ghost, which is essentially white. In lighter weights, this 832 is thin enough to be nearly invisible to fish.
As with all braided line, be prepared for some knot issues, wet your line before tightening, and bring a pair of pliers to save your fingers.
Ice fishing is demanding, and generally, braided line offers some advantages for the winter angler. Ultra-sensitive, strong, low-memory, and hard for fish to see in lighter weights, high-quality braided lines have a lot going for them. But they have weaknesses, too, and water absorption that leads to freezing and icing is perhaps the most problematic.
That’s why we really like Sufix Ice Braid. Coated to reduce water penetration, this anti-icing compound really works. At its best, this line has all the advantages of braided line, requiring just a touch more care when tying knots. That makes it a very good choice for ice fishing, and when you add to these strengths the incredible range of weights it’s available in, you can be confident whether you’re after crappie or muskie.
While all of these lines are solid options, this is probably the best of the bunch.
As its name suggests, monofilament is composed of a single strand of what amounts to plastic. Easily the most popular choice due to its simplicity and familiarity, mono has a lot going for it. And while you’ll find plenty of superlines on the water in all seasons, there’s no need to feel unprepared if you choose the right monofilament.
But in other situations, stretch is bad--such as while setting a hook when fishing deep. That stretch translates into less dynamic pressure on the hook, impairing your ability to set it powerfully.
Essentially a monofilament line made from a different material, fluorocarbon has gotten a lot more popular recently. Initially too stiff for casting, it was used exclusively for leaders. But as the tech improved and it became supple enough for spooling, it’s now a popular weapon in the angler’s arsenal.
Braided line is exactly what it sounds like: a braid composed of multiple strands of really tough fibers. Sometimes braided line is heated to create a smoother, unified composition, as in Berkley’s FireLine. In other cases, it’s coated to resist water absorption. Unbelievably strong and sensitive, these superlines have become the go-to for millions of anglers.
You can’t have it all with ice fishing line, and some choices--and sacrifices--must be made.
What are your biggest concerns and problems? Are you missing strikes? Is your line freezing and icing? Are you losing fish to abrasion? Are your knots giving way? Do you jig with a spinning reel, watching your line corkscrew its way into the hole?
Diagnose your fishing ills and choose a line that can cure them.