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MN DNR Weekly Report

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outdoors Duluth, 55802
Duluth News Tribune
(218) 723-5295 customer support
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802
District 5 - Eveleth area
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CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports working snowmobile enforcement detail with US Border Patrol, National Park Service, US Customs, and St. Louis County Sheriff’s in the Kabetogama, Namakan, and Ash River Trail Areas. A law and regulation presentation was given at a Firearms Safety Class in Int’l Falls. A wetlands restoration order was issued to an individual for impacting wetlands on state, county, and private lands. Enforcement action for the week was taken for snowmobile speed; several speeds were recorded in the 85-90mph range. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) monitored angling and snowmobile activities and noted very little due to slush and deep snow. Equipment work and administrative tasks rounded out the week.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the area snowmobile trails are starting to show signs of wear. The corners of the trails are quite icy and the open areas are showing bare ground in places. Assistance was provided to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office on a snowmobile crash where one person was injured. An incident of someone cutting firewood where they shouldn’t have been cutting firewood turned out to be a misunderstanding.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ATV’s, anglers, fish house removal and litter issues, investigated a report of deer taken out of season, finished a forest resource theft case, taught a Firearms Safety Class in Hibbing and spoke at the 92nd Annual Chisholm Sportsman’s Club Banquet. Enforcement action consisted of a number of ATV violations and theft.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled area snowmobile trails and spoke with snowmobilers about trail conditions. Most riders report busy trail activity but rough riding conditions. Most anglers have abandoned area lakes with the exception of a few trout anglers. A majority of ice shelter owners have taken the time to remove them from lakes prior to the removal deadline. A pair of anglers fishing on an area lake were checked by CO Frericks. Neither of the anglers had a current angling license and had taken a northern pike during the closed season. The pike was seized and the anglers were cited.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) monitored fish house removal from area lakes, many removed prior to the last large snow fall. Snowmobile trails have been groomed and are still in good shape. Reports were prepared and sent to the County Attorney’s Office for upcoming court appearances from previous charges.

I. Falls # 2 - vacant.

Ray - vacant.

Tower - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports warmer weather and melting snow has opened sinkholes on several area lakes in the past week, making it difficult to navigate in areas. Trout fishing continues to be fair to good with most anglers having something to show for their efforts. Violations included operating an ATV on a county highway.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) spent time working the lakes and trails. The lakes are much better than they were and most all the fish houses were off before the deadline. The weather has been getting better and the snow is starting to get a crust for the first time all winter. Be aware that this is the time that even the small dogs can and will chase deer. The deer are in bad shape and don’t need any more stress from family dogs that aren’t attended by their owners. For this reason, please keep track of your dog as we ease into spring.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked remote lakes and areas during the week by snowmobile and snow shoes. He checked anglers in and out of the BWCA and snowmobilers. Violations for snowmobile and fishing were encountered. Assistance was given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled state and GIA snowmobile trails; registration compliance was very good. The officer also checked area lakes, attended a district meeting and training and answered questions regarding big game and wolf hunting.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a busy weekend of snowmobile activity. Trails are a little hard and icy but otherwise holding up well. Training and meetings were attended early in the week. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, registration violations, no state trail sticker, fail to transfer ownership, and fishing without a license. Most anglers seem aware about fishing licenses expiring at the end of February this year.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked a snowmobile detail on area trails. Trails are in great shape and snowmobile registration compliance was excellent. There were a lot of snowmobilers out enjoying the nice weather. Wahlstrom attended a district meeting and trained officers on patrol rifle maintenance.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement activity along the North Shore. Lake Superior anglers are still enjoying trout and salmon fishing on rare ice formations on the big lake. Ice shelter owners are reminded to take all wood blocking and other debris with them upon removing their shelters for the season to help keep our lakes clean.

Silver Bay - vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) attended a bear committee meeting, checked anglers, monitored fish house removal, and processed incidental furbearers.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked angling and snowmobile activities. He also marked fish houses for the pending deadline. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored shelter removal and patrolled the area snowmobile trails. Area panfish anglers are having success. Enforcement action was taken for angle without license and fail to display registration on snowmobile.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking anglers this past week. She also worked some commercial enforcement and did an interview for the local radio station. She assisted one of the local snowmobile clubs with a safety class. She also helped a neighboring officers with an overlimit case that resulted in confiscation of fish and charges for overlimits. Enforcement action was also taken for angling license violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and snowmobile activity over the past week with things beginning to slow down for the winter season. Some anglers were out catching panfish while others were out trying to land some tullibee and whitefish in the deep holes of area lakes. Snowmobiling has slowed down some with the harder trail conditions. There is still plenty of base on the area trails. 

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles, and state trails. He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working snowmobile and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for possession of small amount of marijuana. Wichmann also assisted with the Polar Plunge in Grand Rapids.

CO John Velsvaag (NE ATV officer) checked anglers this past week and saw very few fish. Slush conditions have improved on most lakes and snowmobile trail conditions are moderate. CO Velsvaag also attended a meeting in Grand Rapids and took several calls on deer feeding and trout season.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, snowmobilers, and ATVers on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angle without a license and for unregistered snowmobiles. Fishing success was good before the cold fronts moved through. A few anglers forgot to buy the 2014 angling license. CO Arhart also worked Wetland Conservation Act and public waters cases. A ticket was issued for non-compliance of a wetland restoration order. The first migratory Canada geese and trumpeter swans were observed in open parts of Third River. The next day it was -12 degrees and the birds disappeared. Dead white tails were observed in the woods via snowmobile and area pilots are reporting dead deer as well, apparent winter casualties.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area snowmobile trails. Trails deteriorated rapidly with warm weather but most are still snow covered. Ice shelter removal is progressing and most are off the ice. Follow up on litter, garbage, and blocking from shelters continues.  A Boy Scout meeting was attended and the officer assisted with a ‘Fishing for Knowledge’ event in the Moose Lake area. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to check inland winter fishermen trying to catch pan fish. He also checked winter fishing activity on Lake Superior. A couple days were spent on snowmobile working the area trails. Lakes were checked for ice shelters, remaining on lakes.  All shelters were documented and will require follow up if the shelters are not removed by the deadline. Officer Duncan was also interviewed by a middle school student for a class project. Several calls were returned during the week.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on K9 detector training and tracking down the owner of one fish house that was left on an area lake. With melting snow and freezing temps at night, people are reminded to keep your dogs restrained. They have a very easy time running on top of the snow this time of year and the deer are having a very difficult time with it. Even chasing a deer for a short distance can kill it this time of year. One complaint was received of a possible shot deer which is still under investigation. A follow up investigation continues with a bear hunting violation from last fall and a complaint of early fishing last spring was passed along to another officer whose area it was supposedly in. Extra time was spent organizing upcoming details for the K9 unit. A talk was given at a local fishing event, called Fishing for Knowledge, for Moose Lake and Willow River 6th graders on fishing and invasive species rules and regulations.

WREO Mike Scott worked with Ecological and Water Resources AIS on providing Lake Service Provider Training for local providers and resort owners in the Ely area for the upcoming open water and tourist season. Information on updating AIS laws in the state was discussed with DNR Fisheries folks in St. Paul.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) reports the ice continues on Lake Superior in the Duluth area. Anglers continue to venture out. Some catches of lake trout, herring and salmon are being seen. Local snowmobile trails are still getting plenty of traffic. Fish house removal is looking good on inland lakes.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Questions were answered about open water angling regulations on Superior. With warmer temperatures on the horizon, people are starting to think about trolling again. Enforcement action taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior, checked on ice shelter removal on area lakes and followed up on bear guide issues.

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Kris Vereecken
(218) 723-5322
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