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MN DNR Weekly report for April 28, 2014

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District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) spent time checking spring beaver trapping activity in the area. People are reminded to obtain burning permits before doing any burn activity.  Remainder of week was spent monitoring sturgeon fishing activity on the Rainy River.

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CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports returning phone calls, continued equipment work, on-going work planning and responding to questions over the week.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports area lakes remain locked in ice and area resorts, bait shops, and other establishments are very nervous about when ice out will occur. Lake Vermilion has enough ice that snowmobiles were observed operating on the ice over this past weekend. Planning for training at Camp Ripley was looked into. A few injured animal calls were received. Most callers don’t understand that very few injured or sick animals will ever make it back into the wild. Mother Nature can be a very cruel thing, especially in the eyes of someone looking out their living room or kitchen window.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked spring beaver trapping activity and helped out teach a Firearms Safety field day. Various trapping violations were encountered with one case closed, with further follow up needing to be done to clear others. A case of dumped otter, bobcat, fisher, marten and muskrat carcasses is also being investigated.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on litter issues stemming from anglers who were neglectful when they removed their shelters from area lakes. Angling activity is very slow but some sucker anglers were seen out reporting little success. One specific angler decided to try his luck for northern pike despite being told by CO Frericks that it was illegal to angle for them during the closed season. The angler’s equipment was seized and he was cited. Quite a few spring beaver trappers are being seen out and most trappers have been doing well. One trapper contacted CO Frericks to report an otter that was taken by accident.              

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) spent time on White Water Lake in Hoyt Lakes cleaning up the remains of a fish house were the owner ripped the sides and roof off leaving the main frame. The fish house owner then dumped the ripped off parts at another location on the lake. Time was also spent picking up others blocking material and empty beer bottles. He received a call of possible trapper harassment when a trapper was confronted about trapping within the road right of way. Accidental caught muskrats were picked up. Ice has pulled away from the shore lines but the main lake ice remains solid.   

I. Falls # 2 - vacant.

Ray - vacant.

Tower - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that a late season snow storm arrived along with some cool weather, slowing down the recent ice melt. Anglers are still making it out on the lakes in spite of the deteriorating ice conditions. Violations included litter, operation of an ATV without a driver’s license on a public road, no fishing license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked on some litter and burning complaints. People will burn their garbage in their wood boilers and feel pretty safe doing so, but the odor can be tracked for a long ways and the smell of illegal plastic burning fills people’s houses. Some people have health issues and the smell can be very unhealthy. The smell can be very unpleasant for a family that is out for a walk and enjoying a nice spring day. Others will burn at night to avoid anyone seeing the black smoke they give off, but they too can be tracked. It is illegal to burn garbage and enforcement action will be taken for those that are found to be doing so in the Ely area.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) thought that he’d checked the last snowmobilers of the year, but 14 inches of snow during the past week proved him wrong. Some people would love to ride them year around, but most believe that five months is enough. Some areas of Cook County still have knee deep snow in the woods. A few guys were out trying for pike on the Canadian border. The fishing was slow, but the fish that cooperated were big. A call of a sick moose was taken from the Saganaga area of the Gunflint Trail.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) helped with a Hunter Education class. The officer checked anglers on Lake Superior’s shore and its tributaries. Fish sanctuaries and state parks were also patrolled. Travelers are reminded that melting snow can result in dangerously cold and fast moving water on rivers, and in forest roads that can be extremely treacherous and can quickly erode away stranding vehicles indefinitely.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports ice conditions are deteriorating with fewer anglers venturing out on the ice all the time. Streams were monitored for fish run. More and more ATVs are coming out, and CO Bermel would like to remind parents that youths are not allowed to ride on streets or alleys until they have a valid driver’s license. Enforcement action for the week included litter and youth ATV violations.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) responded to TIP calls in the Silver Bay station that resulted in enforcement action. The officer taught the law and ethics section of the Cook County firearms safety class. Wahlstrom checked steelhead anglers along the North Shore tributaries and worked on bear investigations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) assisted with a youth firearms safety class and worked ATV enforcement efforts. Several injured deer calls were handled along with illegal burning and trapping investigations.

Silver Bay - vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, monitored the fish run, and patrolled for ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display ATV registration.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked angling, small game, and answered wildlife calls. He also did equipment maintenance and investigated an arson fire. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked trapping enforcement, monitored OHV activity, assisted with a control burn and attended K-9 training. The recent snow and wind kept activity on the slow side. Some fish have been seen in the area creeks. Enforcement action was taken for trap tag issues and burning permit issues.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) worked ATV enforcement activity involving spring closures. She attended training.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV activity during the past week. An ATV detail was worked with the enforcement airplane where ATV’s were searched for using closed areas. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in a wetland, operating and ATV down a county road and for operating an ATV in a spring closure area. Overall compliance to the laws was very good. CO Sutherland also gave a law talk at a firearms safety class. 

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers and patrolled trails. He also worked a special ATV detail, investigated a litter complaint and taught a firearms safety class.

CO John Velsvaag (Region 2 ATV Recreational Officer) followed up on a fish house litter complaint and took several calls on the extended beaver season regulations. CO Velsvaag completed some training and followed up on ATV complaints on the Mesabi Trail and lands in Itasca County that have seasonal ATV closures.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) worked all- terrain vehicle details and complaints. Spring fish run and sucker spearing openers were worked. Pelicans were eating walleyes stopped below beaver dams. Many river flowages are ice free. Most lakes remain ice covered. Wetland Conservation Act violations resulting in court appearances were tracked. Nuisance porcupines were handled.

District 8 - Duluth area

WREO Mike Scott (NE) attended a meeting in St. Paul looking at computer equipment for the new Record Management System. Steelhead anglers on the North Shore were checked. Fishing has been slow. Reports from anglers were some smaller fish were caught but far and few between as described one angler.

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked streams and rivers in the area for beaver trapping and followed up on a TIP complaint regarding beaver trapping. ATV complaints continue and problem areas were patrolled. The officer attended the local Pheasants Forever banquet. Officer Schmidt also attended training in St Paul. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority enforcement work on the North Shore. Many fishermen were checked on several different tributaries. High water and continued cold temperatures have slowed fishing success. Officer Duncan attended a firearms safety class and assisted with the DNR lasershot and an answer booth at a Pheasants Forever banquet. A trapping investigation was also completed during the week. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, off-highway vehicle, and fire enforcement.  CO Humphrey checked shore anglers along the St. Louis River in Cloquet. CO Humphrey patrolled the Fond Du Lac State Forest where roads and trails are temporarily closed to motorized vehicle use. Spring beaver traps were also checked in the area. An incidental otter catch was handled. CO Humphrey checked burning permits. Burning restrictions in Carlton County are in effect. The Officer is investigating a litter/dumping complaint near Cromwell.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a K9 meeting and training in the metro area. Complaints of littering were investigated consisting of dumping household garbage alongside a county road and dumping a large amount of snow goose carcasses near the Midway River in Esko.  These cases are still under investigation and if anyone has any information that might be useful in locating the person(s) responsible they are asked to call TIP (1-800-652-9093).  Reports were worked on and more interviews are expected to be done on the illegal taking of a bear from last fall. One complaint of dogs chasing deer was received in the Barnum area.  Spring river fishing is starting to pick up in the area. Many lakes still are ice covered. Some turkey hunting success is being found in the area but numbers are noticeably down.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked rivers and anglers. The cool weather has hampered many. He also assisted the sheriff’s office with several vehicle accidents and followed up on nuisance animal complaints.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked stream and shore anglers as the ice continued to blow out along Superior. Water temps in the rivers are still very cold, and no fish were seen over the weekend. A dead bald eagle was picked up in the Silver Bay station; investigation continues to determine whether it was an illegal or accidental kill. Enforcement action was taken for angling and traffic violations.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent most of the week checking anglers along Lake Superior and the rivers. The fish seem to be getting more active near the river mouths, but have not seen many fish caught in the rivers yet. The pack ice is still affecting shore fishing access at times. No smelt activity seen yet. He also investigated a turkey hunting violation and a possible deer poaching, attended meetings and performed some equipment maintenance throughout the week. He’s receiving complaints and concerns of bear cubs out crying and some people harassing them to try to get photos. Please leave the bear cubs alone and observe from a distance, so not to disturb them. Enforcement action was taken for angling and turkey hunting violations.

 
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