Ice fishing can be brutal on lines with extreme cold and jagged ice combining to weaken some lesser products. Your line has to be able to withstand this gruelling environment to be reliable or you will lose fish.
In this article, our resident guide Shawn Chapin (from the ice-fishing heartland of Wisconsin) nominates the must-have ice fishing lines in all three categories.
Best mono line for ice fishing
A top ice fishing line for a wide range of conditions.
Best fluoro line for ice fishing
The best fluorocarbon line for ice fishing.
Read on for detailed reviews of the top 10 lines for ice fishing that we have reviewed
- Berkley Trilene Micro Ice Monofilament
- Sufix Ice Magic Monofilament
- P-line CXX X-tra Strong Monofilament
Berkley Trilene micro ice is a premium mono fishing line that excels on the ice and should be one of the top line considerations for fishermen and women pursuing panfish such as crappie and bluegills as well as walleye.
The line features a no stretch design for better hook-ups, resulting in less fish lost. It also for better jig control, in particular tiny panfish jigs.
It has incredible strength per diameter and comes in both a clear steel version and a solar version.
- Low stretch
- Excellent for lure presentations and detection of strikes
Sufix is probably at this time my brand of choice for lines for cold weather conditions and all types of fishing. The company tends to think outside the box more than other companies, and this translates to unique products with innovative features, Ice Magic is no different.
It’s designed to stay manageable and easy to work with even in frigid temperatures and uses specialized additives to prevent water absorption, meaning less ice build-up. And of course some of the most important aspects of any mono line, low memory, and high knot and tensile strength.
I personally prefer the orange color that Sufix offers with this line, when your fishing line gets caught and tangled on the frozen slush and ice on the edge of a hole, it’s easier to see and untangle. More time fishing means more fish caught.
- Low memory
- High knot/tensile strength
- Ice build-up prevention
As the name suggests, this line by P-line is incredibly strong for a mono line.
It features incredible shock absorption, high breaking strain, and abrasion resistance which is critical when dealing with ice.
This is is a great product for those chasing pike or Great Lakes trout, with line tests up to 30 pounds.
- Wide range of test lines to choose from
- Abrasion resistant
- Great overall strength
Sunline has always been a great producer of lines and they have a very wide selection that offers different advantages depending on any angler’s needs.
The FC ice line is specifically designed for ice fishing scenarios. It goes without saying that it’s also excellent in knot and tensile strength.
FC ice comes in 2 color options as well, clear and high vis gold.
- Low memory
- Low to high visibility color options
Seaguar is well known among anglers and the IceX line is their step into the ice fishing world.
Crafted from the highest quality fluorocarbon resins IceX features low memory with a small diameter but still incredibly strong. It also features some amazing abrasion resistance.
- High-quality material
- Smaller diameter
- Abrasion resistant
Trilene is a no-brainer here. Like it’s mono fishing line mentioned above Trilene fluorocarbon is excellent. Heck Trilene doesn’t make bad line very often.
This line is as stealthy as it gets, with an index close to that of water making it virtually invisible to fish.
Along with this invisibility comes the standard in other areas that Trilene is known for, knot and tensile strength, and low memory.
- High strength
- Low memory qualities to eliminate twist and coiling
Sufix Invisaline as the name suggests is ultra-low in visibility helping fishermen hook wary fish in clear and shallow water.
It is also exceptionally good at repelling water to prevent ice build-up.
And it actually sinks 4 times faster than mono, making it a good choice on balance for getting your jigs and lures down to the fish quickly.
- Fast sinking
- Nearly invisible
Man, I really do love Sufix lines. The Sufix Tip-up is specifically designed to excel as a Tip-up line, and in an ice fishing article, it has to be featured. This line has a nylon coating for extreme anti-freezing capabilities.
Along with features typical of braided lines such as low stretch, abrasion resistance, to top it off, a fast sink rate to get down to the fish in ice fishing conditions.
- Fast sinking
HT is well known among ice anglers simply because they base most of their product around the niche of ice fishing.
Polar is one of those lines that says “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and is a line that I have used throughout my entire life.
It has super low stretch and is great for tip-ups and deeper water jigging situations where low stretch is critical.
You can get this line in a range of strengths of up to 50 pounds as well.
- High poundage test available
- Incredibly low stretch
- Supple and manageable for knots
The line is created by weaving 8 separate filaments, of which 7 strands consist of HMPE fibers and 1 is made of Gore-Tex Performance fiber.
Using R8 braiding technology the line is braided at 32 weaves per square inch to create an incredibly strong braided line that rivals over braids on the market.
The Gore fiber helps with water resistance and wicks water away from the line, this means less freeze up on the ice.
Along with that, it’s incredibly strong and durable, with 30% more strength compared to other braids on the market and 20% more knot strength.
- Super strong
- Water wicking
- Peak abrasion-resistance
Line Types and Ice Fishing
Most fishermen and women, even those who fish at the most basic level, are familiar with monofilament lines. Mono is the most common type of line and has been around for a very long time. Mono works excellent for panfish, catfish, trout, and for certain bass and walleye fishing situations.
When it comes to ice fishing and deepwater applications such as whitefish or lake trout, mono may struggle due to line stretch when fishing deep, this also affects bite detection as well, but for most ice fishing applications involving panfish and walleye mono will get the job done, and it’s typically cheaper.
Fluorocarbon line is similar to monofilament in that it is extruded into a single strand. Unlike mono line, the molecules used in making of the fluoro line are more densely packed, making the line heavier and stronger than mono line.
It features low visibility, high abrasion resistance, and is stronger all around then mono line, at the expense of not being and easy to work with, Fluorocarbon gains memory, causing coils which can be a big issue when ice fishing then compared to open water fishing.
Fluoro is great when fishing in shallow clear lakes for species like walleye or other fishing that can get line shy.
Braided line or “super line” is great when exceptional strength is the most important thing needed for a line. They are woven tightly using materials such as dacron spectra, or Dyneema fibers. These lines are great to boost success on tip-ups when fishing for pike and bass.
When ice fishing the durability of these lines really shines, as hooking into a large pike and playing them via a handlining set up usually has the line ripping across the bottom edge of an ice hole at great force and speed.
Ice fishing takes a different toll on fishing line to summer or spring fishing, and as a result, you need to make sure you have the right line fit for the job for any ice fishing trip.
The line in this article will undoubtedly work when you need it most and ensure that you have a durable line that will stand to the extreme temperatures and abrasive ice.
A full overview of the best fluorocarbon lines – best value fluoro for spinning and baitcasting reels