Best Ice Fishing Reels for Crappie [2023 Buying Guide]

Best Ice Fishing Reels for Crappie [2023 Buying Guide]

The number of fishing reels for Crappie fishing is no less than the number of Crappies around the world! And we are quite optimistic that you don’t have that much time or patience to try out each of them in order to figure out which one is best for you. Therefore, having done the necessary research, we have designed this article to help you get your Crappie fishing reel without wasting much of your time. While the article initially highlights our favorite crappie reels, you must also have an overall idea about the subject for which you are purchasing the reel. It is thus necessary to gather information about the life and living of the Crappie fish, which can give you much clarification on the matter and help you choose the right product. Although, if you believe you have already done that part of the research, you can focus on the product reviews and the ice fishing crappie reel buying guide.

Top Rated Ice Fishing Reels for Crappie

Each fishing reel has its unique specifications that an angler must carefully analyze. Depending on the compatibility of the rod with the reel and the angler, one must choose the one that satisfies the requirements. One must also take the budget into consideration.

Quantum Optix Crappie Spinning Fishing Reel

This is one of the best low budget reels one can consider. If you are a beginner and looking to try your hand in the field ice fishing for Crappie, this reel should be your choice. While not eating your pocket, it is laid with brilliant features that give tough competition to even the high budget seniors of it. Costing only around twenty dollars, it houses the necessary components of having gear in the ratio 5.2:1, with IPT, being 22 inches. Its average weight is about 7.1 ounces, and the line capacity of four pounds can extend up to 190 yards. Strong bail wires made of Stainless Steel prove to be efficient for the prevention of backlash, tangles, and knots. The manufacturers of the Quantum Optix Crappie Spinning fishing reel also provide their customers with a year’s worth of manufacturer’s warranty.


  • A Gear ratio of 5.2:1
  • Strong bail wires made of Stainless Steel
  • Weight of 7.1 ounces
  • Four-pound line with 190 yards of extension capacity


  • Low budget option
  • Works with both right-handed as well as left-handed anglers
  • The handle offers a strong grip
  • Exceptionally strong graphite frame


  • Long term durability is an issue

Final Verdict

For anyone low on their budget, you may really want to try this reel. With great features, it becomes a suitable candidate for beginners who wish to go ice fishing. Nevertheless, any professional angler can also witness its efficiency combined with their experience.

Shimano Sedona C2000S Crappie Spinning Fishing Reel

With over 80 years of experience in this field, Shimano is no doubt a reliable manufacturer when it comes to buying any type of ice fishing reels. Adding innovation and precision to engineering the reels, they have been manufacturing brilliant ice fishing reels, of which are favorites of anglers. Shimano manufactures reels that excel in quality and durability.

The brilliance in the design of this particular reel is witnessed through the materials used to make it. The T-knob and the drag knob are made up of hard plastic components, whereas the overall body is made up of HGT 7 M materials. This gives it the strength it requires, along with it being lightweight. The specialty of this reel is that unlike other small-sized reels, this reel doesn’t have a loose feel to it. Its bail is compact and doesn’t flip during casting. The retrieval of the line is feather smooth and super fast. 


  • Shimano’s quality and durability
  • Hard plastic compounds and HGT 7 M materials used for manufacturing
  • The solid feel of the reel, just like the ones with the larger size


  • Unparalleled quality within its price range
  • Multi-compound material usage
  • Feather-light feels and super-smooth performance


  • The drag doesn’t seem to be sealed or watertight due to variation in components used for making

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a quality product Crappie reel in the mid-range budget, you must undoubtedly take advantage of Shimano’s precise engineering and years of experience. They have been in the business for quite a long time and know what their customers want.

Pflueger Supreme XT Crappie Spinning Reel

This product being in the high-budget range category might make you think twice before you say yes to its brilliant features. But, this product itself will make you want to possess one yourself. Its features are such that it can even score some extra points in comparison to others in this price range.

The Pflueger Supreme XT Crappie spinning reel is made entirely of Magnesium. The Magnesium made the body and the rotor not only give this product unmatched strength but also provide the angler with a silky feel. Your hands would never want to put it away! Its spool speaks the brilliance in its design. The braid ready spool attached with grommets of rubber eradicates the requirement of monofilament backing, which is a boon to the Crappie anglers struggling in the deep brushes. The handle, which is made up of carbon fiber, subtracts even more weight to the overall gear. It features a nine bearing system, and ball bearings of stainless steel, paired with slow oscillating gear, will provide you with the smoothest fishing experience no doubt. With this feather-light reel, you can fish from dawn till dusk with no complaints. 


  • Brilliant look with its dark teal and orange paint
  • Ultralight handles of carbon fiber paired with thick EVA foam are a pleasure to the hands
  • Nine bearing system with a single roller for the smoothest retrieval feature
  • Braid ready spool with rubber grommets


  • Probably the lightest and smoothest of all the reels available in the market
  • Brilliant appearance to make your fellow anglers envy you
  • Little retrieval effort with nine stainless steel ball-bearing and a single roller system
  • Magnesium rotor and body to give your hands a silky feel
  • Lets you fish for the maximum duration of time


  • The price range might be too high for some anglers

Final Verdict

If this product comes under your budget range, you must indeed go for it with eyes closed. It is true to its features, which have made it a favorite of many anglers for over a long period of time. This Crappie fishing reel always amazes the buyer with its precision and brilliant design. This can make you smile and feel proud for yourself to have possessed this Crappie fishing reel. Although it is a bit expensive for some, this fishing reel has never put its buyer in an unsatisfactory condition. With a high rating for its quality and performance, this makes it an ideal choice for ice anglers for crappies. 

What are Crappies?

Crappies are freshwater fishes that are native of North America. These are popularly known as ‘Panfish’ and usually for schools. There are currently two recognized species of this fish:

  • Black Crappie   
  • White Crappie

Both these species are differentiated by counting the number of spines present in the dorsal fin. The black Crappies have 7-8 spines in the dorsal fin, whereas; the white ones have only six. The black species have an irregular arrangement of blotches and speckles in the color pattern; on the contrary, the white Crappies have a vertical arrangement of faint bar-like features. Moreover, unlike black Crappies, white ones can be found in turbid and colder water bodies.


Both the black and white species in their adult stage feed commonly on small fishes that include the young ones of the predators like them, significantly Walleye, Muskellunge, and Northern Pike. Crappies tend to be less active during the day and accumulate around submerged objects like boulders or logs or beds of weed. They generally feed with the sun just about to rise or set, by moving towards the shore or in the open water.


Springs are found to be the excellent spawning season for Crappies. During this season, the male fishes begin clearing sands, gravel or mud from the bottom of the water bodies, and build nests for preparing the area for the arrival of egg lying females. The spawning process is rather interesting in Crappies. It involves the expulsion of milt by the males, and simultaneously, the females extrude eggs in the previously prepared nests by the males in the habitat, and fertilization begins. After the spawning process is complete, the male ones look after the eggs for about five days or till the time the juvenile Crappies start to come out of their shells and begin feeding.

Geographical Range

The Crappies are natives of North America. They extend southwest along the Gulf of Mexico, beginning from the Westside of the panhandle of Florida and across to Texas as well as along the Atlantic coast, from Virginia to Florida. The Great Lakes, The Mississippi river basins, and the St. Lawrence River also hold significant reserves of Black Crappies in particular.


Ponds, Lakes, Streams, and backwater pools are found to be rich reservoirs of Crappies. Crappies are of introverted nature. They prefer covered places like fallen trees, vegetation, or boulders. Schools of Crappies can often be found in transparent water around vegetation over sand or mud. They move towards shallow waters during fall and spring. This creates an opportunity for the anglers to catch them using live bait or jigs. Fishing efforts must be focused around the areas with standing timber, docks, sunken logs, or brush piles.


The Black species of Crappies are customarily considered as recreational fishes. Their fishing is managed by regulations of the recreational fishery, which include, but are not limited to, the water body, size limit, season, or creel limit. Ecosystem and habitat conservation are also other means of Black Crappie management.

Crappie Fishing

The Crappies are considered to be delicious freshwater fish cuisines. Their variation in food habit open ways for different types of fishing methods such as minnow trolling, jigs casting, using artificial baits, small spinnerbaits, or bobbers. Crappies are also very popular among ice-anglers due to their active nature during winters.

Crappie Ice-Angling

Because of its popularity among anglers, ice-angling for Crappie is carried out by different methods. The most popular method is “Spider Rigging.” This method allows an angler to point a number of rods, away from him, in a radial manner while standing on a boat. This method involves the use of mostly plastic jigs that have lead jig heads, live minnows, or crankbaits. Chumming or dumping live bait into the water to attract Crappies is also another method used. 

Crappie Ice Fishing Reel Buying Guide

After having gathered all the necessary information required about the life and living of Crappies, we shall now get to the particular section for which we are all here. We will now be discussing the crucial features that one should look for while buying a Crappie fishing reel. This segment would act as a buying guide for you and should be enough to help you decide which ice fishing reel would be the best for your Crappie fishing experience.

What to look for in ice fishing reel for Crappie?

The following features are very critical when buying a Crappie fishing reel as they can affect the overall fishing experience to a great extent. You must consider only those reels which are compatible with your rod and give you an uninterrupted fishing experience.

Design and Configuration

Different manufacturers use different materials to build the crucial parts of a Crappie fishing reel, such as the handle, spool, and the total body. The most commonly used materials by renowned manufacturers are composite plastic, aluminum, and carbon fiber. These materials are specifically used to design fishing reels for small fishes such as Crappies, Walleye, or lake trout. The composition of the reel decides how durable and lightweight your reel will be and the longevity of the reel too. Accordingly, the cost of the fishing reel also depends mainly on these materials.

Drag System

The Drag system allows the line of slipping to leave the reel with variable speeds when there is an applied pressure on the line. Simply speaking, it acts like a shock-absorbing component for the line. If the drag set is loose, lesser force is needed to let go of the line. A larger and stronger fish might capture the line by just applying a little pressure when the drag is set accurately. In a way, the drag performs as insurance and just like a buffer joining the angler and the fish.

Gear ratio

The gear ratio determines the number of times that the line gets wrapped round the spool when there is a revolution in the handle. A 5.2:1 gear ratio would mean that the line gets wrapped around 5.2 times for a single turn of the handle.

 In the case of baitcasting reels, the measure is of the number of spool revolution for one turn of the handle. For a spin-casting reel, the measure denotes the number of times of revolution of the head, for one handle turn, around a fixed spool. On a spinning reel, it measures the number of times the entire assembly of bail revolves about the fixed spool for a single revolution of the handle.

Summing up, higher is the gear ratio; faster is the retrieval of line. Typically, the spinning reels with smaller size have higher gear ratios.

Ball Bearings

Irrespective of the target species, you would want a comfortable experience with your fishing reel. Furthermore, you must also want your reel to be durable that keeps functioning for an extended period. To ensure your reel possesses the longevity, the ball bearing system has to be a decent one. The bearings don’t need to be more in number, preferably high quality of bearings means the longer lifespan of the reel. A reel having five bearings of high-quality will leave behind one with ten low-quality ones, in performance.

Nevertheless, more number of bearings helps in smoother retrieval of the line. Along with the smoother retrieval, good quality ball bearings also help to reduce vibration and noise. Bearings have to bear much friction during the action. Therefore, they must be resistant to rust and corrosion. 

Spin Casting Reels for Crappie Fishing

When fishing for Crappie in freshwater, the ability of an angler to cast efficiently enough to put a bait in to a particular position is a primary and crucial part of angling methods. Unless you master the relevant skills, there is a meager chance of success. This requires much practice along with sharpened pieces of equipment.

Casting Distance

When the fishing method employed is spin casting, bait casting, and spinning tackle, acquiring critical distance becomes more vital to any angler. This skill has been acknowledged by manufacturing too. Thus, the fishing companies are enhancing the casting distance of their rods. Line wrapping technology, rim materials of the spool along with introducing innovation to the design of the spools, have allowed the reels to be unwound easily. The materials that are used to make the rods have also allowed further casting. 

Casting Accuracy

Good accuracy is an important skill any sports enthusiast must possess. Being a brilliant angler too demands one to be skilled with precision, especially when fishing in places with stumps, brush piles, weeds, or near any submerged structure. Along with skills, a rod that gives you the required freedom to direct the flow line of the reel accurately will only add to your chances of success. Under such kinds of situations, most anglers prefer open-faced reels. Using these types of reels not only allows usage of thinner lines but also reduces backlashes.


Casting distance can also be increased when the lines are thinner with reduced diameters and increasing the strength and simultaneously taking care that the integrity remains intact. A line heavier than a 5lb test proves to be unnecessary when fishing in clear waters. Lines in the range of 13- 20 lbs can be used under murky waters, preferably shiny fluorescent lines, to aid your visibility. 

Final Words

Ice fishing for Crappie can be fun and adventurous if you have the required set of skills and necessary kinds of equipment. Nevertheless, it can be demoralizing and even dangerous if you do not take care of safety procedures. Make sure you have obtained the necessary gear along with a license to fish. Avoid doing anything that isn’t legal and keep in mind the need for the conservation of wildlife.

More To Explore