Hinckley Area fisheries

The Hinckley fisheries work area

306 Power Avenue North
Hinckley, MN 55037
[email protected]

A fisheries specialist inserts a tag into a small lake sturgeon to study its life history. Data collected allows fisheries biologists to better manage sturgeon populations.

A fisheries specialist inserts a tag into a small lake sturgeon to study its life history. Data collected allows fisheries biologists to better manage sturgeon populations.

Anglers who fish in Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec and Pine county areas benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Hinckley area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor Leslie George and a staff of five full-time and one part-time employee manage 160 fishing lakes and 261 miles of rivers and streams. These waters include popular fishing destinations such as Grindstone Lake, the Chisago area lakes as well as four popular rivers – the St. Croix, Kettle, Rum and Snake.


Grindstone Dam

Information on the dam, including background materials from the September 2017 public meeting, can be found on our Grindstone Dam page.


Grindstone Lake winter trout season opens Jan. 12

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Winter fishing for for rainbow, brown, and lake trout opened Saturday, Jan. 12, on Grindstone Lake, west of Sandstone.

The lake was stocked in October with 4,000 rainbow trout, 10-14 inches long. DNR fisheries stocked 370 adult brown trout and 150 adult rainbow trout in December. Each of those fish weighed up to 5 pounds.

Got a tag? Call us

Several hundred of the stocked rainbow trout have small chip-type tags inserted inside them (not visible from outside). The tags are for a study Hinckley area staff are doing to determine how many stocked trout escape the lake and enter the Grindstone River. This study does not rely on anglers reporting tags but if you do find one while cleaning your catch, we would be interested in hearing about it. Please call 320-384-7721 or email [email protected].

According to local reports, Grindstone Lake had 10 inches of solid ice the weekend of Jan. 5-6. Recent freezing rains may have created slippery conditions on the lake so use caution when walking.

Live minnows may be used as bait on Grindstone Lake. A trout stamp is required to keep any trout species. The possession limit for rainbow and brown trout is five combined, with no more than three longer than 16 inches. The possession limit for lake trout is two with no size restriction.

The winter trout season continues through Sunday, March 31.


Our work
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  • Manage the fisheries of 160 lakes, 76 miles of St. Croix River, 55 miles of the Rum River, 65 miles of the Kettle River and 65 miles of the Snake River. The long-term data set collected enables us to make the best management decisions possible.
  • Provide fishing opportunities in waters in which they otherwise might not exist by annually stocking 24 lakes with walleye and four lakes with muskellunge. One stream is stocked with trout as is Grindstone Lake, which allows that lake's anglers to catch cold-water trout along with with warm-water fish such as crappie, pike and sunfish.
  • Produce and stock up to 3,500 pounds of walleye fingerlings as well as produce up to 8,000 muskellunge fingerlings for statewide distribution each year.
  • Monitor approximately 25 fishing tournaments per year to ensure legal compliance, proper fish handling and minimize use conflicts on popular lakes.
  • Collect fish for contaminant testing to assist the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in determining safe consumption advisories.
  • Conduct fish research including a lake sturgeon tagging study on the St. Croix, Kettle and Snake rivers, population estimates for muskellunge, and stocked lake trout escapement from Grindstone Lake.
  • Research into effectiveness of stream trout stocking in Grindstone Lake
  • Study of rainbow smelt population in Grindstone Lake

Hinckley staff

Slide text left for phones & emails

Leslie GeorgeArea supervisor320-384-7721[email protected]
Deb VermeerschAssistant area supervisor320-384-7721[email protected]
Shelly O'DonovanOffice administrative specialist320-384-7721[email protected]
Heath WeaverFisheries specialist320-384-7721[email protected]
John FrankFisheries specialist320-384-7721[email protected]
Nate PainovichFisheries specialist320-384-7721[email protected]
Eric SanftFisheries specialist320-384-7721[email protected]