This past weekend was the winter opener for trout in Minnesota which meant a busy weekend for Grindstone Lake. Driving by the south end of the lake on Sunday one could see vehicles lined up and down Grindstone Lake Road as anglers used the beach area to access their favorite spots. According to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Bret Grundmeier, people come from all over to fish Grindstone on Trout opener.
DNR Area Fisheries Supervisor, Leslie George, stressed extreme caution on the ice every year, but more so this year. “No ice is ever ‘safe’, there can always be ice heaves, cracks, places where the snow has insulated the ice. The snow we got a couple weeks ago has insulated the ice and slows down the production of more ice.” Many area lakes, she said, have roughly 10 plush inches of ice, with the exception of Grindstone Lake which freezes later than other lakes in the area due to the depth. The thickness of the ice is not safe to drive a vehicle on, said George. “We are seeing a fair amount of snowmobiles and ATV use in the area, with some people still walking out.”
In an email interview, CO Grundmeier said on Saturday’s Trout opener on Grindstone Lake he found people from all over the state. It was a slow bite for most anglers and they struggled to get the fish to get their limit.
Grundmeier reported very poor ice conditions on Grindstone, “Ice was anywhere from four inches to eight inches thick and there was a lot of slush and water on top of the ice,” said Grundmeier. This caused problems for those Anglers fishing out of pop up shelters as they had to deal with standing water inside their shacks. The snow and slush also caused some problems with ATVs getting stuck. “Thankfully everyone seemed to be checking the ice often and staying away from dangerous, thin ice spots,” he said.
Littering violations have been a huge problem in past years, said Grundmeier, so he spent much of his time keeping an eye out for those. “A few people were talked to about cleaning up their area but overall everyone was very compliant. Those that did need a reminder were more than willing to clean up in lieu of a citation,” he said.