How Much Line Should I Put on My Ice Fishing Reel?

Ice fishing is a popular pastime for many anglers, and selecting the proper type and amount of line to use is an important decision. Line selection can make or break your ice fishing experience, as the wrong type or too much line can be difficult to manage and could even lead to lost fish.

Choosing the right line for ice fishing depends on several factors, including the species of fish you are Targeting, the size of your reel, and the type of lure you plan to use. Monofilament lines are popular in most ice fishing applications because they offer a good combination of strength and flexibility.

They tend to be less visible in the water than other types of line, which can help reduce spooking wary fish. Fluorocarbon lines are also popular because they have low visibility, excellent abrasion resistance, and superior sinking characteristics.

The amount of line you put on your reel also has an effect on your success. Most reels are designed with a capacity rating based on the type of lines being used. If you fill your reel beyond its capacity rating with too much line, it will be more difficult to manage and could potentially cause tangles that could cost you valuable time on the ice.

In general, it’s best practice for anglers to fill their reels with no more than 10% over their capacity rating. For example, if your reel is rated for 50 yards of 12-pound test monofilament line, you should spool it with no more than 55 yards total. This allows enough room for minor variations in line strength while still ensuring that your reel is easy to manage.


When selecting a type and amount of line for ice fishing, anglers should consider their Target species, size of their reel, and type of lure they plan to use. Monofilament or fluorocarbon lines provide excellent strength and flexibility while remaining low visibility in the water. Reels should be filled no more than 10% over their capacity rating with whatever type of line they choose; this helps ensure that they are easy to manage while still providing enough space for minor variations in strength.

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Daniel Bennet