Best Ice-Fishing Gear for Fishing
in Alaska in 2016

HT SapphireIce Series, Model SPI-42MH Ice Fishing Rod
HT_Sapphire_Ice_Series_COPY.jpgHT’s SPI-42MH high-performance Sapphire Ice Rod features a premium, smoothly tapered IM-8 solid carbon blank with a moderately fast tip, resulting in a premier rod delivering admirable hook-setting force, authoritative fish-fighting power and unsurpassed sensitivity. The medium-heavy power offers the strength necessary to subdue even the most powerfully stubborn, hard-fighting trophy fish and handle the strongest, fastest runs—blended with just enough bend to maintain a tight line and provide equally superb control during quick, unexpected upward rushes—while the relatively fast tip allows extraordinary sensitivity, assuring you’ll experience complete control of your presentation while working your quarry. And thanks to precisely positioned, lightweight premium aluminum oxide guides, fixed reel seat with cushioned stainless steel hoods, full genuine cork handle and hook keeper, you’ll find the Sapphire Ice beautifully balanced, making it perfectly engineered for a variety of applications. We used this rod specifically for fishing for Arctic char and lake trout, while catching a few incidental burbot along the way. This rod is a great match for one of our favorite ice fishing lures for these species, the 3.75- and 4-inch tubes of which lake trout, Arctic char and burbot are so fond. The 42-inch length is great for keeping your line tight during the big headshakes lakers often perform, as well as the rapid changes of direction nice char frequently make. Until recently, suitable rods of this length and action were hard to find. Get three and rig a tube on one, a spoon on another and a lead-head/jerkbait combo on the third and you’ll have a potent quiver of weapons for Arctic char, lake trout and burbot.

Frabill Fin-S Pro 30-inch Medium Ice Combo
While we’ve used plenty of Frabill rod-and-reel combinations in the past, our testers found the Fin-S Pro combo particularly useful this past winter, taking a range of winter species, including hefty char and lake trout, without ever busting the rod or wearing out the reel’s gears and drag. Whether dead-sticking or finesse-jigging, from the Mat-Su to the Fairbanks area, this combo made every outing, and is still ticking.

AK Salmon Bear AK Fish Trap Base Model
Our tester is not going back to traditional tip-ups anytime soon, not after using the AK Fish Trap this season. Assembled in Alaska, the Fish Trap features an improved design that automates the set of your hook, resulting in over 90% lip-hooking.

Frabill Citadel 3205 Shelter
Our days on the ice were more comfortable in 2015 due to the Citadel Shelter, which meant more hours on the hardwater, and ultimately, more fish. Equipped with Frabill’s two-door Side-Step Entry, this shelter offers generous space for two or three anglers and is built on a sturdy thermo-formed base, though it remains lightweight and highly portable. 

Frabill I5 Series Bibs and Jacket
It gets cold out on the ice in Alaska, but regardless of the temperature, our tester stayed toasty warm and fishing this past year, thanks to the new I-Series high-performance apparel from Frabill. With the most advanced features, fit and materials available, the I5 Jacket & Bibs feature a waterproof, breathable 300-denier nylon oxford shell and 500-denier nylon-reinforced knees and pant cuffs. Both jacket and bibs are 100% seam-sealed, and our tester especially appreciated the ice-fishing-specific ergonomic design.