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MN DNR Weekly Report for May 12, 2014

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) handled several animal complaints throughout the week. Fishing opener was relatively quite as Rainy Lake was still iced up except for Black Bay and other smaller bays where ice was away from shore. However lots of people enjoying the nice weather on the Rainy River. The high water and cold water temps kept fishing success at a minimum. Enforcement action for week involved no angling license in possession and some boating safety violations.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports working on equipment, continued work planning and monitoring public access sites. Fishing activities were monitored with very few anglers observed.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports assisting with a firearms safety class and preparing for and working the 2014 fishing opener. The smaller lakes in the area were ice free; however, Lake Vermilion still has plenty of ice floating around. A couple public accesses were completely blocked with ice and unusable. The folks that were able to gain access caught some fish. Area rivers were checked and they are flowing fast.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the fishing opener and reports uncooperative fish; however, the weather was exceptionally nice for a change. The Officer worked three separate large amounts of litter complaints, investigated a reportedly poisoned deer, which turned out to be road kill, and worked ATVs and OHMs. Enforcement action was taken on angling license, extra lines, OHM, and ATV violations

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) monitored fish run activity on Virginia and Tower area streams. One angler eager for an early walleye dinner decided it would be a good idea to grab two spawning walleyes from the stream the CO was watching. The young angler quickly learned it was not a good idea when CO Frericks met him at his vehicle. The angler was issued a citation. Area lakes cooperated and had ice come off just in time for fishing opener. Nice weather on opening day brought out large numbers of anglers and boaters. Enforcement action was taken for insufficient PDFs.  

I. Falls # 2 - vacant.

Ray - vacant.

Tower - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports many of the lakes that were completely iced over early in the week, were nearly ice free by the beginning of the walleye opener thanks to three days of constant rain and mild temperatures late in the week. The opener fishing report started slow on most lakes, but by afternoon the amount of fish being seen steadily increased. Violations included failure to remove the plug on water related equipment, unmeasurable fish, and transporting walleyes without a skin patch.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) spent the better part of the past week or more monitoring the walleye spawning beds around Ely. The walleyes were still spawning below the bridges as the fishermen waited for the crack of midnight to begin on Saturday. But tragedy was averted because the walleyes didn’t fall for it. As far as Stage knew, not a walleye was landed at the local bridges on opener night. State and 1854 Tribal officers worked a fishing detail on a popular BWCAW portage and found fishing to be surprisingly slow in there as well. It was interesting to the officers that nearly a hundred percent of the fishermen coming across portages were hauling the minnows and or fish with water still in the containers. None of the plugs had been removed from the boats that did have removable plugs. In the ongoing effort to thwart or stall the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussel, faucet snails, and other harmful species, legislators have passed laws making these things illegal now for the past several years. Yet every group that was spoken to about it claimed they had no idea about it or had never heard of such a requirement.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that some Forest Service Roads were still impassable due to snow during the opening weekend of the fishing season. All the lakes were iced over and it’s a good bet that most will be open along with the roads for the second weekend of fishing. Some floating ice could still be present so use caution. It also should be noted that some forest roads will have washouts. Spring beaver trapping activity was monitored and boats readied for when the lakes finally come open. The CO also responded to a nuisance bear call. The bear was attracted by sunflower seeds used to attract birds and bears. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked steelhead anglers in Cook and Lake counties; catching of fish is starting to pick up some as the water clears and warms up. CO Manning worked fishing opener in both counties as well finding few lakes with enough open water to cast a line. One hardy angler did manage to hook a fish through the ice from shore; he tried to use a float tube to try to get to the fish, but lost it right near the surface. The officer also checked spring beaver traps, performed invasive species checks, and conducted boating enforcement where boats could be found. Folks in the woods are reminded that spring beaver season has been extended until May 15 in the northern third of the state. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the walleye opener. Spring fish run was monitored throughout the week. The officer received a call from a concerned citizen about a loon that appeared injured on the New Tomahawk Road. It turned out the loon was ‘grounded’, was far from water, and therefore couldn’t fly. The officer and the citizen captured the loon with fishing nets, returning it to water unharmed. Enforcement action for the week included walleye over limit, angle with an unattended line, possess marijuana and drug paraphernalia, expired boat registration, expired ATV registration, no fishing license in possession, PFD violations, and failure to comply with restrictions of a limited driver’s license.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked steelhead anglers along the North Shore and a few fisherman searching for open water during the opening weekend. Most lakes in the Cook County area are still ice covered. The Officer worked AIS, did a commercial minnow inspection, ATV enforcement and completed equipment maintenance on his patrol vehicle. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked fishing opener activities and ATV trail enforcement over the weekend. Most lakes in the area became ice free just days before the fishing opener with just a few still holding ice at this time. Enforcement action was taken for various registration and equipment violations.

Silver Bay - vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) worked fish run activity, attended a district meeting, performed equipment maintenance, and checked anglers. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession and taking an overlimit of walleyes.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked boating enforcement, minnow trapping, and patrolled for ATV activity. He also completed a trapping case. Violations included angling without a license, take over-limit of walleye, operate without watercraft registration, take fisher in closed season, fail to tend traps, wanton waste, and leave traps in the field after the season.    

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended K-9 training, checked anglers and worked boat and water. Angler success was on the high side for opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for angling in a closed area and no angling license in possession.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked angling and boating activity this past week on several lakes in the area. Activity was pretty good considering recent ice out conditions. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and various boating equipment violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy opening fishing weekend with many anglers getting out on the newly ice free lakes. Angler success was fair to good over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for angling for walleyes before the open season, angling without a license and failing to register a watercraft. Enforcement action was also taken over the past week for road vehicles in a wetland on a state trail, ATV’s operating down the side of a state highway, unregistered ATVs and for OHM’s operating in the road right-of-way.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) checked fishermen, ATVs, spring beaver trappers and watercraft.  He also attended a district meeting and completed required department training during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week preparing for the upcoming fishing opener. Wichmann attended a district meeting and checked anglers over the weekend. 

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) tracked wetland and public waters inventory restoration cases, readied boating equipment, attended a D-7 meeting, and worked spring fish run activities. CO Arhart also worked a busy angling opener checking anglers and water related equipment. Aquatic Invasive Species compliance was good in the area. Angler success varied from lake to lake, with the larger streams producing the most fish early. As some lakes warmed, the walleye bite improved there as well. Bait shortages and cold water complaints were heard. Enforcement action was taken for state park violations.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent much of the week checking shore anglers along the north shore and smelters in the evening. Few fish were seen as water temperatures remained low and water flow high. Opening weekend fishing was very slow and very few fish seen.  Most anglers on the St. Louis River were lucky to have a bite and most boats did not land a fish. Although fishing was poor, spirits were up with beautiful weather for an opener.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports it was a very busy weekend on area lakes as the ice left and beautiful weather moved in. Unfortunately not a lot of fish seen in livewells, but everyone was happy being out on the water again. Thanks to a local animal rehabber and several volunteers a deer with a large plastic bucket on its head was cornered and the bucket removed. A few incidentally caught otters where turned in. No lifejacket, no watercraft registration, no helmet on juvenile while operating an ATV and no angling license in possession are a few of the violations encountered.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent some time preparing for the fishing opener. He handled wildlife complaints and fishing opener was worked on area lakes over the weekend.  Beautiful weather made for a busy opener on area lakes. Many people were checked from shore and water. Time was also spent working invasive species enforcement at local access. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, off-highway vehicle, and fire enforcement throughout the week. CO Humphrey focused on fishing activity over opening weekend.  Anglers were enjoying the weather but reported slow fishing. Late ice, cold, and high water were being blamed. CO Humphrey continued working on an area trapping investigation. CO Humphrey patrolled the Fond Du Lac State Forest where roads and trails continue to be closed to motorized vehicle use. Several nuisance animal calls were received including beaver and bears. CO Humphrey, with assistance from Carlton County deputies, responded to an ongoing timber trespass on public land where charges are pending. CO Humphrey responded to a complaint of a possible winter kill of numerous fish on an area lake near Cromwell. Area fisheries and waters staff were notified. Angling, boating and burning violations were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody attended the national detector dog trials in Bloomington this past week where the team was certified on the national level as a detector dog. Fishing opener was slower than previous years with very few fish being caught in the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling without license in possession, watercraft registration violations, and taking bass out of season. K9 assistance was given to the Cloquet Police Dept. for searching an area for a knife that young kids were playing with in a remote wooded area and also with a search for a lost elderly person in the city. Cases from last fall continue to be worked as well as a litter case in the area. 

WREO Mike Scott checked anglers on the St. Louis River in Duluth for fishing opener. High fast moving muddy water teamed up for a slow fishing experience for the opener. Talking with dozens of anglers no one was catching anything except one shore angler who had two walleyes. Checked anglers on Sunday on area lakes with CO Randy Hanzal; enforcement action was taken for no life preservers, fail to display current registration. Work on Honor guard team for the LE Memorial for the Law Enforcement Week in St. Paul on May 15 honoring Minnesota fallen officers.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) reports the nice weather had many anglers on the waters.  One of the warmer openers this officer can remember. The overall catch rates were down considerably. North Shore rivers are running fast. Rain will continue to keep rivers swift. Lake Superior is still partially ice covered on the Duluth end. The McQuade safe harbor is ice free and was busy with boats. Olson responded to a call with Duluth PD and FD of a kayaker that had tipped in Lake Superior. He was able to self-rescue and was close to shore. Although, he did lose some equipment out of the kayak. He assisted St. Louis County SO with a possible burglary in progress call.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked anglers on a bright but slow opener. One boat found adrift with a malfunctioning motor was found to have no life jackets on board. In checking close to a hundred boats, not a single fish was seen. Phone calls were fielded on regulation changes and shelters were checked but having no success. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) continues to work the north shore streams and Lake Superior anglers. Rivers are still slow for fish, some shore anglers are picking up some rainbows and a few salmon. Lots of boats were out on Lake Superior over the weekend with some success. Smelters are showing up but not seeing success yet. The officer also helped the inland officers with the walleye opener. Enforcement action was taken for angling, boating and OHM violations over the week.