Ice Fishing Line vs Regular Line: Which One Should You Buy?

Ice Fishing Line vs Regular Line
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Ice fishing can be an incredible experience. Navigating over the ice, finding the best location, and drilling holes is both exciting, and a little bit dangerous.

There is a lot of essential equipment you should have, and choose carefully. One of them is the fishing line. Low temperatures affect all kinds of materials, and that is why special equipment exists.

Ice fishing line vs regular line is a common dilemma. Ice fishing lines can withstand freezing temperatures, and are more resilient when it comes to rubbing against the ice. Also, these lines are often designed to be less visible, because your bait moves less under ice, and the fish has an opportunity to see the line better.

Of course, you can use regular fishing lines too, and they have some advantages, but there is a chance that you will encounter some problems while ice fishing.

There are different manufacturers and types of ice fishing lines, as well as some innovations that make the line stronger, and less visible. All this can be a nightmare when trying to choose the best one, especially for anglers without prior ice fishing experience.

So, here I am going to explain the difference between ice fishing lines and regular ones, and list some of the best ones, so that you can make an informed buying decision.



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What Kind of Fishing Lines are There?

When it comes to line types, we have three main ones, and those are monofilament, braided, fluorocarbon and copolymer.

Mono lines are stretchy, easy to handle, less visible, and have decent abrasion resistance.

Braided lines are thinner, stronger, have almost no stretch, and more resistant to abrasion.

Fluorocarbon is strong, mostly used as a leader, and it is almost invisible under water. I am sure that majority of anglers know these main differences, because these lines have been around for a very long time.

Copolymer is thinner than mono, and it also has less memory and stretch. Visibility is low, but not as low as in mono. It is a good alternative when you need thinner and stronger line.

But, among these types, you can find some other fishing line sub-types, like ice fishing lines. This is where the confusion appears for beginners, because ice fishing lines can be mono, braided or fluorocarbon.

The difference is how it withstands low temperatures. I will explain more in the following chapter.

Ice Fishing Line vs Regular Line: What is The Main Difference?

There are a few differences between ice fishing lines and regular lines.

First of all, it is the temperature. Significant temperature changes affect all materials, and fishing line is not an exception. So, lines that work well in tropical seas will not work well under the ice. Coldness makes materials stiffer and their properties change, which means that they can break or get damaged.

Another difference is abrasion resistance. Sure, rocks or weeds can damage the line, but the ice can be really sharp.

Dragging your line against the hole edge can cause it to break. No one wants to lose a fish, so you should choose suitable lines to prevent it. Of course, even if you have a good line, it has to be replaced regularly.

And the third difference is visibility. When your bait sits in the same place for a long time, fish has the opportunity to inspect it before biting. And if something seems a bit strange, it will swim away. Invisibility is one of he most important features of ice fishing lines.

This may seem insignificant, but those who tried using both regular and ice fishing lines in the same conditions can confirm that there is a difference.

So, Do you Need a Special Fishing Line for Ice Fishing? Yes or NO?

Well, it depends on a lot of factors, mostly your wishes.

If you just want to try ice fishing for a couple of times, and have no intention of ice fishing on a regular basis, then the answer is no, you don’t need one.

You can ice fish, and actually catch a fish with regular lines, however the experience will be different. When using regular lines, you can expect them to break or suffer some damage much faster than usual. Also, if not using the right color, and a lot of colors are highly visible under ice, you will notice that you are getting a lot less bites.

Those who regularly go ice fishing, or they want to maximize their success or maybe even break some personal record, should definitely use ice fishing lines.

So, ice fishing line vs regular line is a decision every angler should make in accordance with personal needs.

What are the Best-Selling Ice Fishing Lines?

There are dozens of ice fishing lines, and all are advertised as the best ones. To make your decision a bit easier, I will mention 5 of the best-selling ones, which are used by many anglers who are satisfied with the line performance.

#1: Berkley Trilene Micro Ice

This line (#ad) is available in different strengths. It is a mono line that has less stretch than regular mono lines.

This feature makes hooksets more precise. It has very low visibility, due to its transparent color, and it is excellent for fishing in extremely clear waters.

Line length is 110yds, which is enough for the majority of anglers.

#2: Berkley FireLine Micro Ice

Berkley Trilene Micro Ice (#ad) is another model from the same manufacturer, also available in different strengths.

The line itself is very popular and good ice fishing line, however, it now exists in crystal color, which makes it almost invisible under ice. Unlike other mono lines, it is thinner, stronger, and has no stretch.

This line is not conventional braided or mono line, and it can be observed as a hybrid, because it has properties of both. It is made from special material that gives it transparency of a mono, and strength and small diameter of a braid.

This line is very light and excellent for using smaller lures and fish too. The downside is that it is available in 50yds length only.

#3: Sufix Ice Magic

This ice fishing line (#ad) can be used in warmer conditions too, and it is the best choice for recreational anglers that like to fish through out the year, but do not fish frequently enough to have numerous lines for all conditions.

Of course, you will not use this line during summer, but you can use it in temperatures above freezing.

Transparent color has low visibility, and the line is available in different strengths. The 100 yds of length are enough for majority of ice fishing situations.

This mono line is coated with additives to prevent ice formation, so you will not have to worry a lot when it comes to line freezing.

#4: Sufix Ice Braid

Sufix Ice Braid (#ad) is the only braided line on the list, and if you need and ice fishing braid, this is the line for you.

It is excellent for winter time fishing and cold weather. The line has decent resistance to freezing due to special coating. Different strengths are available, and it comes 75yds long.

It has almost no stretch and it is super sensitive. Multi color depth control allows anglers to see how much line length is under water, due to different color marks along the line.

#5: Berkley Trilene Cold Weather

The last one on this list is another line from Berkley - Berkley Trilene Cold Weather (#ad).

This one is 110 yds long, and you can choose different strengths of the line.

What makes it different from first two lines mentioned here is the color. Blue can be seen against the ice, but disappears under water. It is flexible and has low memory, although it is a mono line.

This line is excellent for those fishing out on the ice, without any shelter or cover. It has excellent freezing resistance.

How Do you Keep Ice Fishing Lines from Freezing?

Line freezing can often happen, but there are some ways in which you can postpone it, or maybe even prevent it completely. Even ice fishing lines are prone to freezing, but much less than regular ones.

Fishing in a shelter will help a lot, and it will keep the line safe from tiny droplets and wind that can form the ice.

Use of braided ice fishing lines instead of regular ones can help, because a lot of them have coating that reduces the possibility of freezing.

Some anglers use protective coatings you can apply yourself to get the same result.

Mono lines can have natural resistance as they are really smooth and the ice will not be able to form with ease.

Also, you should remove excess ice that forms in your fishing hole.

If you are using a heater within your ice fishing shelter, you can eliminate the problem completely, but make sure you make your safety a priority, inspect the heater regularly, and use only those heaters that are suitable for closed areas!

Ice Fishing Line vs Regular Line - Hole

Do You Need Special Lines for Ice Fishing Tip Ups or Tip Downs?

Ice fishing traps are very useful tools when it comes to efficiency and success. Although some people see them as “lazy” form of fishing, they are actually great.

Both devices are used to suspend live bait under the ice and to make a signal when bites happen.

Ice fishing tip ups have flags as indicators and are mostly used for fish like pike and walleye. Anglers mostly use braided lines with leaders, but pulling those thin lines with hands can be hard. So actually, you have a third option here, and that is Dacron lines. These lines are a bit thicker than braided, but thinner than mono. Their strength is excellent, and ice-free versions also exist for this purpose.

Ice fishing tip downs are mostly used for smaller fish like perch. Any line type can be used, but make sure it is suitable for low temperatures. Beginners often use mono because it is almost invisible and easer to pull out with your hands.

How Often Should You Replace Your Ice Fishing Line?

This greatly depends on the line type, and how often do you use it.

Mono has a memory, and even when not in use, it will form loops that will never go away.

If you are using the line on a daily basis, you should inspect it and see if there is any kind of damage from the ice.

Lighter lines are less resilient. Also, storing the line in direct sunlight, or in damp places can shorten the lifespan.

Recreational ice anglers, who fish a few times a month should replace the line every other year, especially if they are fishing in small and shallow waters. If there is a damaged part on the beginning of a line, it can simply be cut-off. Those who regularly fish under ice, and by regularly, I mean twice a week or so, should replace the line every ice fishing season, which means once a year. Those who use it almost every day in very harsh conditions, which can`t be observed as recreational angling, should replace it during the season to, which means twice a year.


Same as you change rods and reels to suit a specific fishing situation, you should change the line too. There is a reason why lines exist in multiple colors and types.

Under the ice, fishing conditions are much different, and your line will have to withstand very harsh conditions. In addition to strength, it has to be almost invisible to fish.

So, to increase your ice fishing success, you should use a suitable ice fishing line. If you have the opportunity to compare ice fishing line vs regular line, you will see the difference!

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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