MN DNR Weekly Report
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) spent time checking fishing activity and ice shelter removal on Rainy Lake. Conditions have worsened with the recent 12+ inches of snow received over weekend. He attended a meeting with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, US Border Patrol, and MN DNR Enforcement where border issues concerning game and fish were discussed.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports another 12 inches of snow fell shutting down most outdoor activities. Snowmobile activities continue to be monitored. Equipment work, work planning, and administrative items are ongoing.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports more new snow and continued cold temperatures in the area. Snowmobile trail conditions continue to be good. Little angling activity going on. Calls of sick and injured deer were handled.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up with owners of ice shelters who had not removed them from area lakes prior to the deadline. In spite of the deep snow, all but three people had their shelters off the ice. Two of those shelters were removed within a day and one remains. Several inches of new snow brought Virginia area snowmobile trails back to life. Snowmobile traffic was heavy over the weekend and snowmobilers reported good conditions. A few trout and crappie anglers were checked.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) spent time locating the owner on an abandoned fish house that was froze in with no ID, beer cans and liquor bottles frozen into the ice. He received calls about sick/injured deer and the deer feeding program. Fredin attended court for a trial on a speed violation were the operator was cited for speeding 83 mph on a state snowmobile trail. Just prior to court the party decided to pay the fine.
I. Falls # 2 - vacant.
Ray - vacant.
Tower - vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports ice shelter removal date came and went. Most shelters were removed, while deep snow and poor planning kept others from being removed on time. About seven inches of fresh snow fell last Friday morning just in time for weekend snowmobile traffic which was higher than usual. Violations included: fish house on ice after legal removal date, storing an ice shelter at a public landing, and litter.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked some of the snowmobile trails and lakes. Officer attended a meeting with Canadian Conservation Officers and Border Patrol. Time was also spent checking the few trout fishermen in the BWCAW, but they are few and far between. Remember to buy your new fishing license. Your old fishing license expired February 28.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) watched a fisher chase a snowshoe hare across the Gunflint Trail. Unless there were endurance issues, the hare probably wasn’t going to end up on the fisher’s menu, but the CO was impressed at how fast a fisher can motor in deep snow. The CO took enforcement action for taking a small game animal (Canada Lynx) out of season. A young man shot it last fall after he believed it to be a bobcat. Bobcat season wasn’t open at the time and the lynx is a federally protected animal.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked snowmobile and ski trails throughout the week. The continued cold and new snow is extending the season for these outdoor winter activities and helping to keep trails in excellent condition. Trout anglers found limited success.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports the Wall of Shame was brought to the Ely Sportsman’s Expo and a presentation was given about over limit and baiting cases, as well as questions being answered. He monitored fish house removal. Most people planned ahead and got them off early, and those that didn’t worked hard work and were persistent. Enforcement action was taken for a few houses that weren’t off by the deadline. Snowmobile trails remained in good condition.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored snowmobile trails and checked anglers. The Officer had two ride-a-longs. One was with a law enforcement college student and the other was a DNR Park employee working on his NRO certification. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) received a call of snowmobilers trespassing on private property. The trespassers were using an easement granted to a utility company to ride unbroken powder under the power lines with their mountain sleds. The trespassers showed blatant disregard for clearly posted private property. The property owner did manage to get photographs of the riders and turned them over to the DNR. Outdoor enthusiasts should take note that utility easements through private property are not public thoroughfares, in most cases the easement is for the utility company only. Showing a lack of respect for private property causes more property to be closed to outdoor recreational users.
Silver Bay - vacant.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, responded to a call of a person through the ice, and checked area lakes for fish house removal.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers on area lakes and Bowstring Lake. Answered calls about snowmobiling, and cited one person with possession of drugs.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails and attended the Grand Rapids Sports Show with K-9 Si. Area panfish anglers had good success this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and OHV registration issues.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking anglers last week. She spent time working the TIP trailer which was at the Grand Rapids Jaycee’s Home, Sport, and Travel Show. Anglers are reminded to purchase their 2014 license as last year’s expired in the end of February.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers over the past week with some sportsmen getting out on the still thick ice. Some of the local lakes are beginning to be thick enough that extensions are needed on ice augers. Enforcement action was taken for leaving an ice shelter on the lake after the removal date. Action was also taken for no angling license. CO Sutherland also worked the local sport and travel show where the Wall of Shame was displayed.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, lakes for shelters, snowmobiles and state parks. He also handled littering complaints and worked a TIP Wall of Shame display during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working snowmobile and fishing activity. Snowmobile activity has decreased dramatically due to deteriorating trails. Fishing activity has picked up with the warmer weather. Wichmann also investigated a small game violation.
CO John Velsvaag (Region 2 ATV Officer) checked ATVers and snowmobilers this past week. Trail conditions improved after the snow with few people out. CO Velsvaag also took a shift at the TIP trailer at the Grand Rapids Home and Sport Show, and assisted with a snowmobile safety class for kids.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, ATVs, snowmobiles, and he investigated blocked public access complaints. Fishing success was sporadic with the changing weather patterns. More lake ice travel was observed; then 10+ inches of snow fell in some areas restricting truck movement again. Wetland Conservation Act and public waters case were tracked. Enforcement action was taken for public access violations.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on ice shelters left on public accesses. Anglers we checked on Lake Superior as well as shore anglers. Snowmobile trails were worked and reports trails were in good shape. Wildlife and injured animal complaints were handled.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent several days working fishing enforcement on Lake Superior. Many people have been taking advantage of ice conditions allowing for anglers to get on Lake Superior and catch salmon, lake trout and herring. Area snowmobile trails remain in very good condition and time was spent working snowmobile enforcement. Officer Duncan attended a meeting with Duluth city leaders and organizers of the Duluth city bow hunt. Officer Duncan also talked at a youth steelhead fishing clinic.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. CO Humphrey investigated livestock depredation and alleged deer poaching complaints. Several calls were received about emergency deer feeding. CO Humphrey attended a high school career fair sponsored by Fond Du Lac College. Snowmobile and ATV violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spoke with several high school students about the job duties of a Conservation Officer at a career fair held at Fond Du Lac College. Very little fishing activity to report in the area. There are a few people out trying to find crappies in the area, but they are not having much luck. Annual wildlife detection testing was attended in Anoka where K9 Schody certified for another year. Follow up continues on older cases.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked a few ice anglers holding out on the big lake even as the ships are starting to go through. A snowmobile trespass complaint was handled where riders are disobeying posted signs along a power line on private property. A reminder to all riders that gas lines and power lines go through a lot of private land, and the easement is only for the utility and not for public travel. If they are posted, stay off! Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent the week checking anglers fishing the shore and ice of Lake Superior. Still seeing herring, salmon, loopers, and lake trout being caught. The first laker left Duluth so we will see how long the ice fishing continues. The officer also patrolled snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobiling violations.