Does Ice Fishing Line Color Matter? (7 Colors Explained)

I’ve seen ice-angling professionals use brightly colored fishing lines, which intrigued me because I know fish have very keen eyesight. Won’t this spook the fish and cause them to retreat deeper, leaving you freezing and with no catch? Does ice fishing line color matter?

Line color does not matter when ice fishing. Typically, a colored line will have a clear fluorocarbon leader line with the bait attached. High visibility monofilament line can assist with crucial elements like seeing the line to the bottom, tying on lures or bait, and if you are snagged on ice.  

In a typical ice fishing scenario, fish will have more time to inspect the bait or lure due to the more static nature of the sport.

This does not mean the fish are looking at your line going –”oh yeah, this is that XX brand high visibility monofilament line… I’m not taking this bait.” The fish will be more interested in the bait you present. Let’s go under the ice and take a look;

What Happens To Fishing Line When Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing requires you to be prepared for anything. It’s colder than usual for a start, and tackle behaves differently than it does in hot weather. Live bait needs to be kept in special containers during the winter (like Styrofoam), so they don’t freeze and die.

Ice Fishing Line
There are a wide variety of ice fishing lines for different needs

The typical fishing rod is a lot smaller than you would use in a river or open lake situation, and the line should be an ice fishing grade line to perform well. This will prevent a whole array of things from going wrong.

Usually, fishing lines will have a slight stretch so that it doesn’t break during the hook set or a prolonged fight with a large fish.

Things that can go wrong with the lines while ice fishing are:

  • Lines can get snagged on jagged ice edges and be destroyed in no time
  • The line can coil into a knotted mess
  • The line memory is more prominent in icy weather
  • Ice can quickly form around the line making it impossible to reel in
  • Ice damaged line will snap easier when you set a hook or during a fight

Which Lines Are The Best To Use For Ice Fishing?

Because ice fishing is so popular, fishing line manufacturers had their work cut out. What makes these lines so unique and different? Let’s take a look;

#1) Berkley Fishing Line

Trilene developed two lines specifically for anglers who love ice fishing. The colored line available from this brand is;

  • Trilene Cold Weather – This line color is Electric Blue, designed with a low stretch for solid hook setting, allows for better control of your jig, and has exceptional strength-per-diameter.
  • Trilene Cold Weather Monofilament – This line color is Klondike Gold, designed with a unique formula to remain flexible at 32 degrees and with very low memory.

#2) KastKing Fishing Line

Designed with all-weather conditions in mind, KastKing braided lines are available in various high vis or fade-resistant colors.

  • SuperPower Braided Linezero stretch for easy hook setting and high abrasion tolerance. There are an array of line colors to choose from, but a favorite is the high vis multi-color that changes in color every 10.9 yards.

#3) Sufix Fishing Line

They are designed to stay manageable in the coldest water and with special additives that repel excess water and prevent ice build-up.

  • Ice Magic Cold Water – Soft and supple, this line has little memory and is available in a Clear and high vis Neon Orange.

Seven Color Lines You Can Use For Ice Fishing

The following list of 7 line colors and types can be used when ice fishing with confidence:

#1 – Neon Or High Vis Yellow – Excellent in low light situations when you want to keep an eye on the bites. Easy to see on the ice and snow. Great for night fishing or when the weather is overcast.

#2 – White  – Better for use on sunny days and in clear iced lakes. Great invisibility in clear water lakes.

#3 – Neon Or High Vis Orange – Excellent in low light or bright, sunny days, giving you the best visual contact with the bait and movement detection. Orange is an excellent choice for deep lakes.

#4 – Electric Or High Vis Green – Excellent choice for any weather condition and deeper lakes. This color gives you excellent visual contact on the ice and below in clearer ice conditions.

#5 – Neon Pink – Pink line can camouflage well underwater, making it a very versatile line choice for any condition. Whether it’s a deep lake or shallow pink line won’t disappoint. Pink allows for great visual contact and bites detection above the ice.

#6 – Red – Most probably one of the best choices for night fishing or very deep lakes. The red line disappears and blends in with the water but allows for excellent visual contact above the ice.

#7 – Multicolored Braided – Not a line type every angler is familiar with; the multicolored line changes its color every 10 yards or so. This line is excellent for measuring depth if you are fishing without equipment.

What You Should Know About Fishing Line And Ice

Ice fishing is unlike any other type of angling. The conditions are often harsh and extremely low temperatures, which takes a heavy toll on your equipment and tackle.

Fishing Line Sensitivity

The sensitivity of your equipment is paramount to successful ice fishing. What type of line you use makes a difference to how many hooks you will set.

  • Monofilament line typically has more stretch, but the ice fishing ranges have been designed with less stretch to accommodate the lack of sensitivity.
  • Fluorocarbon has a lower grade stretch, but it tends to snap easier.
  • Braided lines have the least stretch and are the most sensitive. The best lines to use are those manufactured explicitly for ice fishing.

Ice Formation on Fishing Lines

All three line types will react differently when used in ice fishing, regardless of the color.

  • Braided lines will typically have more ice forming on them than the monofilament or fluorocarbon lines.
  • The ice line ranges have special additives in them, making them less susceptible to ice formation. This helps when you need to set a hook or reel in your catch.

Fishing Line Memory

Each line will have a different memory. Because ice fishing reels are typically smaller, this can make matters a lot worse, especially if you are not using ice fishing specific lines.


A bright-colored line can be a great asset to your next ice fishing expedition. If you have never tried to use a different color other than clear, you should try out one of the suggested brighter or high-viz lines. You might find it easier to keep an eye on the bait and have a higher catch rate.

Have fun and stay safe out there!

Mike Rodman

Mike is an avid ice fisherman and fishes the Rocky Mountain Region and across the US Ice Belt and Canada. During the off-winter months, he enjoys fly fishing the Wyoming mountains and fishing from his kayak for pike and smallmouth bass. When Mike can find a little spare time, he'll be at his rod bench building custom fishing rods.

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