Best Rod Lengths for Ice Fishing Inside a Shelter

Important Factoid: There’s only so much room inside a fish house.That’s why rod length is an important consideration when buying a new rod, especially if you do most of your ice fishing inside a shelter.

In most cases, you’ll need to avoid long rods.

Flip-over or “trap” design houses generally feature the tightest overall fit, with low ceiling heights and less room for fishing than other fish house styles.

Hub and wheel houses generally offer more total room, with greater ceiling heights. That allows you to go with longer rods. However, if you usually fish with other anglers, you may find longer rods quickly become a challenge to use.

That’s why we recommend ice rods in the 25-to 27-inch range for fishing inside most portable fish houses, especially flip-overs. Longer 27-to 30-inch models can be great options in hub or the more spacious wheelhouses.

The trend today is for ice anglers to fish longer and longer rods, and for good reason...longer rods offer some great benefits, particularly when fishing outside.

Not only do they make it easier to fish standing up, they offer better hook sets, and better control and line protection when fighting big fish.

But medium length rods also offer significant advantages, especially when fishing indoors.​​

For one, they make it comfortable to fish while sitting, and when it comes time to set the hook, you are less likely to smash the rod into the ceiling.

They also make fighting a fish easier in the tight confines of a fish house. You stay closer to the hole, allowing you visually track hooked fish better, and once you get their head in the hole, you can use the bend of the rod to protect your line if the fish thrashes on the surface.

In clear, shallower water, shorter rods make sight-fishing easier. If you haven’t watched a big walleye or giant crappie slide slowly up to your bait, we recommend you make it a priority this season...there’s nothing more exciting on ice!

With shorter rods, it’s often best to select a softer action to absorb head shakes of big fish and offer a little more give those heart-stopping runs.