How To Store Ice Fishing Rods: My Best Choice!

Most ice fishermen have had the unpleasant experience of having a rod tip snap and break off. This is particularly painful on a high-end rod you paid a lot of money for. The best way to protect your ice fishing rods is to ensure they are stored correctly. What is the best and the safest way to store your ice fishing rods?

Store ice fishing rods out of the way so they will not be bumped or affected by heat. Depending on the number of rods you need to store, they can be stored in a rack, a soft case, or a hard case. The rods can be stored vertically or horizontally, as long as the rod is well supported.

Ice fishing rods are surprisingly fragile, especially in comparison to warm-season fishing rods. This is generally due to the rod size and materials that they are made from. Consequently, these rods need a little extra care for storage and I will offer you some ideas to keep your ice fishing rods stored safely.

Why Do Ice Fishing Rods Need Special Storage?

Anyone new to ice fishing may wonder why these rods need special treatment for storage. This is probably because new ice fishermen only have two or maybe three ice fishing rods in their collection!

Proper storage of your ice fishing rods is essential no matter how many rods you have, but it becomes an aspect of greater importance as your collection of rods increases.

Photo of Bucket Storage Ice Fishing Rods
Never store your ice fishing rods in a bucket!

The more rods you need to store, the greater the potential for something to go wrong during storage, resulting in damaged or broken rods.

Ice fishing rods are much shorter and thinner than traditional warm weather rods. This is because you do not need a long rod to make long casts since you are fishing in a hole directly at your feet. The close quarters in an ice house are also not conducive to the use of long fishing rods.

These characteristics of ice fishing rods make them more breakable than other fishing rods, and consequently, you must take more care in their storage.

What Are The Requirements For Ice Fishing Rod Storage?

You need to consider two main storage scenarios for your ice fishing rods. These are storing your rods at home when they are not in use and storing them while you are out on the ice fishing.

The primary considerations for storing your rods should include the following.

  • Protection from flexing. Incorrect storage of ice fishing rods is the most common cause of rods snapping. This is usually due to the rod tip being flexed or bent in a direction which the rod is not constructed to handle.
  • Prevention of snagging. This problem usually is more commonly associated out on the ice when you store rigged rods together to enable quick deployment of rods with different configurations.
  • Protection from temperature fluctuations. Excessive temperature variations can compromise the materials the rods are made from, including being directly exposed to heat sources when on the ice. Storing rods in a hot garage is not suitable for the rods.

The last point of temperature variations may be confusing for some since the rod is designed to be used in extremely cold conditions. The main temperature concern for ice fishing rods is excessive heat

On the ice, many fishermen use heating in their ice houses, which can be a problem for your rods if they are stored too close to the heat source, or accidentally come into direct contact with the heat source. Auger exhausts become hot after use, so do not store your ice fishing rods near the hot exhaust of your auger.

Direct sunlight exposure can degrade the rods over time, so you must take care to store your rods out of direct sunlight coming through the window of a garage or wherever your store your rods.

Ice Fishing Rod Storage Options

There are many different ways to store ice fishing rods, and many anglers come up with their own methods for rod storage. Many of the commercial storage options available can be constructed at home as a DIY project if you enjoy these types of projects.

Here are our suggested ice rod storage options that I recommend for different storage circumstances.

Ice Fishing Rod Racks For Storage

A storage rack custom built to fit ice fishing rods is a good option for the long-term storage of your rod collection.

A rod rack allows storing rods on unused wall space. Either in your garage or inside your home. Generally, the racks are intended for the rods to be stored without any additional covering, so you need to ensure they will not become covered with dust during long-term storage.

One option to avoid this is to use a rod sock to cover the rod before placing it in the rack. Using a rod sock will prevent dust from settling on the rod.

Rod racks can be mounted for vertical storage of the rods or on a roof for horizontal storage. Horizontal storage can be a good option in your ice house to keep the rods off the floor but still accessible.

Storing Ice Fishing Rods In A Bag – My Best Choice!

Storage bags are another convenient storage method for your ice fishing rods for long-term storage and when out on the ice – and my best choice!

Photo of Soft Case Ice Fishing Rod Storage
Soft case ice fishing rod storage and transportation

There are a variety of bags available for rod storage, from soft bags to hardshell cases. Most ice fishermen need to carry multiple rigged rods, which requires the case to have sufficient capacity to be effective.

Soft cases should have some rigidity to protect the rods and should have internal foam support to give the rod support along its entire length. Soft cases are generally preferred for taking the rods out on the ice since many hard cases do not have the space for the rods to be stored rigged, with reels and lures on the rod.

Pro tip: A quality soft case bag that won’t break the bank and stores up to eight 36″ rods is the Vexan Ice Fishing Rod & Tackle bag!

You can store your ice fishing rods at home and carry them on the ice with enough tackle for a day of fishing! Check the pricing on Amazon, I believe you’ll agree with me!

Soft ice fishing rod cases with the proper internal foam support can be used for long-term storage and when you go out on the ice. Some people improvise and use soft guitar bags with internal foam support or gun bags.

Hard cases for rod storage offer the best protection, but they can become bulky and heavy. They should also have foam support to prevent the rods from clattering around inside and being slammed against each other.

Hard storage cases can be used for long-term storage of your ice rods and when you take your rods out on the ice.

Ice Fishing Rod Guards For Storage

Fishing rod guards are another option for storing and transporting your ice fishing rods. They are mainly used for storing rigged rods out on the ice rather than for long-term storage.

Rod guards consist of a plastic PVC sleeve about 2 inches in diameter, with a slot cut in to accommodate the reel. The reel remains on the outside of the rod guard. An elasticated strap keeps the rod in place in the rod guard.

The rigged rod can easily be slipped into the rod guard, and the hooks on the lure will not catch onto anything, including other rods.

The rod guard containing the rod can then be placed in a kit bag or a soft storage bag for transport or carrying.

These rod storage devices are intended for transporting rods already rigged. I don’t recommend that you store your ice rods rigged long-term. The line can put unnecessary strain on the rod, increasing the potential for damage.

Do You Need To Store Your Ice Fishing Rods Vertically?

Many anglers insist that their fishing rods must be stored vertically, especially for long-term storage. This concept aims to prevent the rod from bending during storage.

Composite materials such as fiberglass are known to have a memory. This means that if the rod is stored bent, the road may take on this shape permanently.

If a rod is stored horizontally without the proper support, the weight of the rod itself can result in the rod developing a bend under the influence of gravity.

Rods stored vertically do not have this problem, which is why most anglers prefer to store their rods long-term in the vertical position.

However, if the rod is supported along its length with a material such as foam, it is safe to store the rods horizontally without the rods developing a bend.


Ice fishing rods are not inexpensive pieces of fishing equipment, and due to these rods being relatively delicate, they need special storage care.

One of the common causes of damage is a rod hooking onto something and being bent at an angle that causes it to snap. Hard or soft cases are the best storage options to prevent this, but racks can be used if they are located where the rods will not be in the way.

Rod guards are suitable for storing and transporting rigged rods on the ice but are not intended for long-term storage. Your ice fishing rod should not be stored rigged for a long time. This causes unnecessary tension on the rod.

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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