Can You Use an Ice Fishing Rod for Regular Fishing? [Expert Advice]

Are you curious if you can use an ice fishing rod for regular fishing? 

It is possible to use an ice fishing rod for regular fishing. However, some major differences between ice and standard rods can impact your fishing experience, like the weight, size, and sensitivity of the poles. You may also want to change your type of rod based on the time of year to accommodate the changing seasons and weather.

Ice fisherman using a short rod

Can You Use an Ice Fishing Rod for Regular Fishing? 

You can use an ice fishing rod for regular fishing if you want.

Using an ice fishing rod for regular fishing is okay since the pole generally fulfills the same purpose as your average fishing pole (aside from being able to cast far distances).

Before deciding what pole to use while fishing, consider different factors like size, weight, price, and brand. These factors can significantly affect the type of fishing pole you choose when fishing. 

For instance, the increased sensitivity of ice fishing rods can make it easier to detect to bite of smaller fish such as bluegill and crappie. However, ice rods are not designed for casting lines. Ice rods are made for jigging in small fishing holes drilled in the ice. Ice fishing rods can still be a great option if you intend on jigging in warm waters, but for the best results, you might want to choose a regular rod when fishing during warmer months.

Many anglers change their rods throughout the seasons as the weather changes. The different seasons require different rods because fishing styles change. The same fishing strategies during winter are not applicable during summer. For instance, drilling in ice and jigging your hook is unnecessary once the ice thaws (unless you live somewhere that experiences freezing temperatures year-round). 

What is the Difference Between an Ice Rod and a Regular Fishing Rod? 

The sensitive tip and length are the main differences between an ice rod and a regular fishing rod. Ice rods have increased sensitivity, making detecting fish bites easier than your typical rod. Ice fishing can be much more challenging to feel bites, given the temperatures are much lower and the fish are more lethargic.

Also, the length of ice fishing rods is much shorter. This allows anglers to sit near the hole while fishing. This isn’t useful while fishing in the warmer months because it prohibits the distance you will be able to cast, which is important whether you are fishing from a boat or the shore.

When choosing an ice fishing rod, it’s important to pair it with the appropriate size ice fishing reel. What is the Best Size Reel For Ice Fishing? is an article we created to detail how to make a good decision when choosing an ice fishing rod and reel combo.

Ice fisherman on gray ice

Ice Fishing Rods

Ice rods are more sensitive than regular fishing rods.

They make it easier to feel a fish biting your hook under the water, which is essential when fishing in cold temperatures. Between potential numbing of fingers and general coldness, it can be difficult to detect when fish are nibbling at your lines. This is especially true with fish like perch, which can have a soft bite. 

Ice rods are often used differently than regular fishing poles. Instead of casting lines, these rods are used like jiggers. Jigging is a vertical fishing strategy used typically during winter months to catch fish like perch and walleye. They are also much shorter and ultralight compared to regular fishing rods.

Regular Fishing Rods

Regular fishing rods are less sensitive than ice rods. You can use a standard fishing rod year-round. Generally, they are considered the best rods for fishing during warm months.

Regular rods are made for horizontal casting and rated higher than ice rods.

Can You Use an Ice Fishing Rod in the Summer?

You can use an ice fishing rod in the summer. It won’t be ideal, but it can work.

The main issues you’ll run into when using an ice fish rod in the summer are the ability to land larger fish and the distance you’ll be able to cast with the shorter rod. Because ice fishing poles are much shorter (18″-48″) so you cannot cast lures or bait as necessary when summer fishing.

Can You Use a Normal Fishing Rod for Ice Fishing?

You can use a normal fishing rod while ice fishing, but a normal rod’s length will be problematic. When ice fishing, you sit near the augered-out hole in the ice and jig for fish. Because you sit near the hole, having a long pole will force you to be further away from the action. This is an issue because ice fishing requires a sensitive touch. After all, fish are slower during the winter and don’t strike the lure or bait as hard.

Why are Ice Fishing Rods so Small?

Ice fishing rods are small for two main reasons: sensitivity and allowing fishermen to be close to the hole. The smaller the rod, the easier it is for anglers to feel the fish bite. This is important when ice fishing because of the fish’s slowed metabolism. Also, the short length allows fishermen to remain near the hole in the ice while fishing which is very convenient. Check out our article Why Are Ice Fishing Rods So Small? for more info.