Best Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Walleye in 2022

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During the winter freeze, walleye are very active and as much fun to catch as they are during a perfect summer day.

Walleye are a classic fishing target as well as a sought-after sports target for the dedicated angler looking for a great feed as well as trophy fish.

The beauty of Walleye is that the average angler looking for some fishing fun needn’t invest a fortune to get equipped for Walleye ice fishing.

Many tackle shops and online retailers offer affordable ice fishing rod and reel combos for walleye with good levels of quality and performance.

Affordable combos have had a stigma as being a little bit ‘cheap’. 

While these combos of dubious quality still exist and should be avoided, there’s a massive range of affordable, excellent quality combos that even the more discerning angler will be happy to use.

Let’s have a look at the best ice fishing rod and reel combos for walleye that will get you out on the ice and catching them like a seasoned pro.

What’s The Best Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Walleye in 2022?

It’s important to note before we list the combos, that “best” is so subjective as to be nigh on meaningless.

The list below is not so much “best” as really good options for your consideration. The emphasis on this list is affordability, simplicity, and ease of use.

OKUMA CWI-S-301Ma-C10 Ice Combos Combo 30'' M, Multi, one Size
OKUMA CWI-S-301Ma-C10 Ice Combos Combo 30"" M, Multi, one Size
Quality fishing equipment all made with advanced materials with dynamic designs; OKUMA FISHING's fishing tackle is your best choice for freshwater and saltwater fishing.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo, 26” Light Action Rod, USGXICE26LCBO
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo, 26” Light Action Rod, USGXICE26LCBO
Size 20 spinning reel suited for ice applications; Ported aluminum spool; Genuine ugly Stik blank with clear tip design
Berkley Lightning Ice Fishing Combo, Black, Grey, 28' - Medium Light - 1pc
Berkley Lightning Ice Fishing Combo, Black, Grey, 28" - Medium Light - 1pc
4 bearing system; Lightweight ported aluminum spool; Extended reel stem for clearance while wearing gloves
Abu Garcia AVNRTICE29MCBO Venerate Ice Combo
Abu Garcia AVNRTICE29MCBO Venerate Ice Combo
3+1 bearing System; Low temperature gear lube; Extended reel stem; Solid carbon blank; Stainless steel guides with Zirconium inserts

Last update on 2022-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1) 13 Fishing – Microtec Walleye Combo (Best Budget Option)

Although 13 fishing is still relatively new, they’re now pretty well part of the US fishing fabric. 

While there has been some discussion about the longevity of 13 fishing products, there are plenty of positive reports to counter the doubters.

13 FISHING - Microtec Walleye Ice Combo - 28" M (Medium) - Full Grip - MWC3-28M

The solid glass blank is a very interesting feature in modern fishing. Add stainless guides and a cork handle and you’re getting a pretty robust outfit for well under 50 bucks.

With the custom handle designs, anglers have the option of refining their choice according to their application. 

There is a 28-inch medium deadstick variant as well as a medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy split grip variant ranging from 25 to 36 inches.

The spinning reel is pretty rudimentary. It’s hardly a feature-packed engineering masterpiece. 

But nor does it purport to be. There are 3 bearings, a soft touch knob, and an alloy spool. Spool capacities and max drag are more than adequate for purpose.

Pros

  • Affordability
  • Stainless guides
  • Simplicity

Cons

  • Solid glass stick will not appeal to all
  • Rudimentary spin reel

Features

  • 3BB Reel
  • Soft Touch Handle Knob and Aluminum Spool Reel
  • Solid Fiberglass Blank
  • Custom Handle Designs for Specific Walleye Applications
  • Stainless Steel Guides

2) Okuma CWI-S-30 – Ice Combo (Editors Choice)

I have to disclose I’m an Okuma fan. I’m always impressed with the performance, endurance, and accessible pricing. 

This is a nice ice fishing rod and reel combo for walleye fishing that offers the more discerning angler the sort of features they appreciate.

OKUMA CWI-S-301Ma-C10 Ice Combos Combo 30"" M, Multi, one Size

The rod is a medium power, split cork/EVA grip 24-ton carbon blank. The 30-inch model is ideal in my opinion. However, there are 27 and 32 options. 

They’re fantastic-looking rods, with performance to match. For walleye and most ice fishing, the medium power offers the most versatility.

There’s a medium-light option that may well appeal to those looking for a mixed bag while focusing on Walleye. It’s a great perch combo for those looking for a little variety.

The C-10 Ceymar Spinning Reel is a great inclusion on an affordable combo. 

The 6 +1 bearing spin reel is lightweight yet packs all the punch you will need for the Walleye you’re likely to encounter, with a little more backup should you hook up big.

Given the versatility of this combo, the Okuma will work brilliantly for many Ice fishing applications. It’s great for live baits and equally good for working your favorite spoons and jigs.

This is an excellent option for those wanting features beyond that of entry-level, yet not prepared to pay more than an entry-level price.

Pros

  • Great looking combo
  • C 10 Ceymar reel
  • Full carbon blank
  • Versatility

Cons

  • Limited warranty

Features

  • 1-pcs 24-ton carbon rod blank construction
  • Split grip with cork and EVA design
  • Custom reel seat allows improved sensitivity
  • Stainless steel guide frames and inserts
  • Backed by a limited 1-year warranty

3) Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Combo

Shakespeare and Ugly stick may have lost some of their luster since their days as independent companies, but under the control of Pure Fishing Inc. prices seem to have gotten even more affordable.

There’s a reason that this is such a popular combo. It’s very affordable and covers a large range of ice fishing applications. 

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo, 26” Light Action Rod, USGXICE26LCBO
  • Size 20 spinning reel suited for ice applications
  • Ported aluminum spool
  • Genuine ugly Stik blank with clear tip design
  • Twist-lock reel seat with EVA handles

Last update on 2022-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s a versatile combo. While ideal for walleye, it’s great for everything from crappie to trout.

While I’m often critical about the sensitivity of these rods in the medium power and up, they’re a go-to option should you be hunting a larger class of fish. 

One thing that has never altered is the rod strength that made Uglystik famous.

It’s not that these blanks aren’t sensitive, it’s just that compromises have to be made at this price point when you’re seeking strength and durability. 

The fact these rods are not as sensitive as others is by no means a deal-breaker.

In fact, this is a case where I’d take the combo for the rod features, and just accept that the reel is only very basic and does the job.

While they boast features such as alloy spools and porting, they’re lacking any significant features. 

There’s only 1 bearing in these reels, and while the crank is by no means disappointing, unsupported turning parts are prone to wear quickly.

There’s no dedicated anti-reverse which I believe is a terrible oversite in this day and age. Again, it’s by no means a deal-breaker, as the movement is minimal and easy to adjust to.

You might find that it’s worth comparing rods to work out relative power. A medium power rod, for example, might be a little bit lighter than you are used to. 

For walleye, I’d suggest getting the heavy in this instance.

This is a popular combo because it is brilliantly priced and works well. While it’s an ice fishing combo, you will find a lot of people use this combo to teach all year round.

Pros

  • One-piece stainless guides
  • Twist-lock reel seat
  • Durable blank

Cons

  • Rudimentary reel
  • 1 bearing reel

Features

  • Size 20 spinning reel suited for ice applications
  • Ported aluminum spool
  • Genuine ugly Stik blank with clear tip design
  • Twist-lock reel seat with EVA handles
  • One-piece stainless steel guides
  • Ugly StikGX2 spinning rods
  • 20 size spinning reel with 1 ball bearing
  • Ported aluminum spool for lighter weight and added durability
  • EVA handle with twist lock reel seat

4) Berkley Lightning – (Best Lightweight Jigging Combo)

There are plenty of times that going as light as you dare is a great option for bringing on the bite. 

The Berkeley is a medium-light blank and imparts great action on your lures without sacrificing the strength you need when fish pass the 20-inch mark.

Berkley Lightning Ice Fishing Combo, Black, Grey, 28" - Medium Light - 1pc

I’m no fan of the reel connection for kids and the heavy-handed. While surprisingly effective, it’s not the connection I want when I hook into a trophy.

It seems to be a weight consideration and a price consideration. These days, modern construction materials can deliver super-light reel seats.

Interestingly, coupled with the solid glass rod, and cork handle, this is a pretty old-school style rod, that despite my criticisms, is actually quite appealing. 

It’s an excellent jigging combo, which adds plenty of appeal.

The extended reel stem is a gem of an inclusion. A simple consideration that adds so much convenience, it nearly sells the combo itself. 

When it’s really cold, it’s great to leave your gloves on knowing your gloves won’t impede the crank.

The 4 bearing reel is pretty versatile and will handle the smallest of walleye to memorable fish. 

Given there a modicum of internal support, you’ll find the reel will endure. The cold weather gear lube will also add plenty of working life to your combo, provided you occasionally re-lube.

At this price point, the Berkeley combo is a no-brainer for the jigging specialist, and for those who would like to develop their jigging skills on a walleye fishing hunt.

Pros

  • Great jigging Rig
  • Good lightweight combo
  • Long reel stem

Cons

  • Reel connection

Features

  • 4 bearing system
  • Lightweight ported aluminum spool
  • Extended reel stem for clearance while wearing gloves
  • One-touch collapsible reel handle
  • Cold gear lube

5) Abu Garcia Venerate Ice Combo (Best On The List)

This is an awesome combo offering everything you need in an ice fishing rod and reel combo for walleye, and at an affordable price point.

The best feature of this combo is that it excels at any number of fishing techniques. 

Abu Garcia AVNRTICE29MCBO Venerate Ice Combo
  • 3+1 bearing System
  • Low temperature gear lube
  • Extended reel stem
  • Solid carbon blank

Last update on 2022-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For this reason, it would be a great option as a go-to poke at everything anywhere type of outfit.

The solid carbon rod can handle some pretty serious fish yet has a fast action and a sensitive tip. This is exactly what you need for ice-bound walleye.

The reel has 3+1 bearings delivering a pretty smooth crank and a modicum of internal support for moving parts. 

There’s an extended reel stem which means you can keep your gloves on without impeding the crank. Perfect for the really cold days and nights.

Endurance is also enhanced with cold weather-specific lube, which should be topped up at regular intervals to increase the working life.

I’m a fan of the solid carbon blank, and it makes me wonder why manufacturers still do solid glass blanks, as the carbon has a superior feel. 

While it could be argued the glass is more durable, the carbon is better to fish.

Stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts are an impressive inclusion at this price point. So too, is the Carbon locking hood design and the selection of premium cork to increase sensitivity.

These days, a lot of the cork handles you find might look great, but don’t stack up next to premium grads.

The Venerate combo will suit the enthusiast looking for a little more class, feel, and performance in their combo. 

At 29 inches, it’s an inch short of perfect, and at a touch over half a pound, this combo is no load to carry.

To top things off, this is a great-looking combo. And while aesthetics don’t impact your catch at all, it’s a bonus to fish with an outfit that looks great.

Pros

  • Excellent rod
  • Premium guides
  • Premium handle
  • All-round high performance
  • Strength and sensitivity

Cons

  • No cons to speak of

Features

  • Solid carbon blank
  • Stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts
  • Carbon locking hood design with premium-grade cork handles
  • 3+1 bearing system
  • Low-temperature gear lube
  • Extended reel stem
  • Collapsible reel handle

Also Read: Best Ice Fishing Rod Cases

What Makes a Good Walleye Rod?

A fast tip and a strong backbone is the ideal composition for a good walleye rod. 

This combination can be achieved with all blank materials but is often found in carbon-based blanks. 

Medium and medium-light are ideal for most techniques and targets.

What Size Rod do I Need for Walleye Fishing?

This will often come down to personal preference and you will see everything from the low 20 inches to low 30 inches. 

30 to 32 inches is probably the best option for covering the majority of situations and applications.

Also Read: What Pound Test Line For Walleye Ice Fishing

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Medium Heavy Ice Rod Good for Walleye?

In some circumstances, yes. If you’re chasing a larger class of walleye using live baits, a medium-heavy rod can be a pretty good option.

Most anglers will use a medium to medium-light rod as modern rods have the power to wrestle big fish yet maintain sensitivity.

Fishing lighter lures for walleye are ideally approached with medium and medium-light rods for increased lure action. However, you will still get sufficient action using the heavier blank.

What is the Best Time to Catch Walleye Ice Fishing?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions of just about any fish. The rule of thumb is dawn and dusk. 

Fish tend to have breakfast and dinner around the same time as us and the birds.

Dawn and dusk are usually periods of high activity. However, also like us, fish will snack and pig-out at all hours of the day and evening – indeed, nighttime is a great time to fish.

While fish seem to go off the chew when the sun is high and hot around mid-day, that doesn’t mean they won’t attack your baits.

It’s my firm belief that fresh, well-presented baits will trump time of day. A focus on bait and its presentation are probably more critical than the time of day.

What is the Best Line for Ice Fishing?

This is highly subjective, and everybody will have their preference and theories. In my opinion, the most important consideration is abrasion resistance.

Any fishing line that provides excellent abrasion resistance is a good choice for the ice. 

Ice holes can develop some pretty sharp and jagged edges that don’t do your fishing line any favors. If you don’t take care, this abrasion may cost you a trophy fish.

Fluorocarbon has excellent abrasion resistance, so is a pretty good choice. And a huge bonus is that it doesn’t absorb water meaning you have less trouble with line freezing.

Final Remarks – Verdict

All the rods on the list a worthy of consideration. The 13 fishing and the Uglystik options are ideal for the budget-conscious.

The Okuma CWI-S-301 is a pretty classy offering delivering performance and durability, yet you’ll pay a little more.

The Berkely is very hard to pass up if your intention is jigging. But in my opinion, the best ice fishing rod and reel combo is the Abu Garcia Venerate

It’s an outstanding allrounder for the price yet makes the perfect walleye combo for any number of techniques. 

Also Read:

Best Ice Fishing Reels

Ice Fishing For Northern Pike

Ice Fishing Tips

Best Ice Fishing Flashers

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Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’m based in the UK yet I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.

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