District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports the deep freeze continues in the north. Still, people continue to find ways to enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s ice fishing or snowmobiling. Ice fishing on the area’s big lakes continues to be slow and snowmobilers are finding the land trails better than the lake trails. Snowmobile training for new COs and DNR staff was conducted, as was vehicle maintenance. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration issues.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) spent time this past week working area snowmobile trails. There were a good number of people who got out and battled the cold weather to ride. Trail conditions have held up well throughout the week. Fishing reports for area lakes remain slow. Enforcement action taken this week was for not having a fishing license in possession while fishing.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the arctic weather that enveloped the region kept all but the most serious snowmobilers and anglers at bay. Although participant numbers were down, there was still plenty of activity in the area. Land-based trails continued to see increased activity as a way to avoid the open, and harsher, open areas of the lake trails. Snowmobile operations training was provided for an officer from the latest Academy.
An incident of timber theft was reported of someone taking bolts of logs from an old logging landing area.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and snowmobile trails. Multiple snowmobile violations were addressed. Weekend temps hit 36 degrees below zero locally, but snowmobile activity remained constant despite the subzero temperatures. Public access sites and area forest roads continue to be checked.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time handling several nuisance-animal complaints regarding bobcats attacking livestock. Very few anglers were observed during the frigid week and those checked reported a slow bite.
Enforcement action taken included excessive snowmobile speed, snowmobile registration violations and angling without a license.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and snowmobile riders, and worked a day in the Orr/Crane Lake area. The deep freeze continued with temperatures remaining below zero (including the high temperatures). As low as 30-below zero was experienced on more than one night. The cold kept outdoor activity to a minimum.
A wolf-depredation complaint was investigated and it was determined the calf was killed by a coyote. At midday, a deer was seen on the road, followed minutes later by a wolf, which was trailing the scent of the deer. The exhausted deer doubled back, followed about 8 minutes later by the wolf, which was on the deer’s trail. All of this took place within 20 feet of Bozovsky’s squad. The deer and wolf were oblivious to the truck. It is unknown if the wolf ended the day with a meal.
Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) completed required training during the extended cold snap. Outdoor activity has diminished somewhat, but anglers, snowmobilers and even a few coyote trappers are still out.
Frericks assisted some snowmobile safety instructors in setting up a class for online students in the Eveleth area. The riding portion of the class will be March 6. Check the DNR website for signup information.
Several snowmobilers were stopped for operating unregistered snowmobiles. Frericks would like to remind all snowmobilers that registration fees go toward trail grooming and maintenance. Register your sleds!
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Cold weather continued to limit outdoor recreational activity. Fishing success still remains poor. Snowmobile trails are still in need of snow. Snowmobilers are advised to operate with caution. With the lack of snow, there is little protection from rocks, sticks and other objects.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports very cold weather continued to dominate the Ely area, making outdoor activity very sparse. Groups of snowmobilers arrived in the area late in the week and over the weekend, but most reported only being on the trails for a few hours before having to call it a day. Violations included excessive snowmobile speed and failure to display snowmobile registration numbers.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked trout fishing and snowmobiling activity this past week. Fishing was slow but trail conditions were OK. Several people asked about pike length-limit restrictions for angling pike. Several areas had litter left behind near fish houses and anglers are reminded to pick up after themselves.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) monitored snowmobile trails and checked anglers. Time was spent checking trout lakes along the border. The snowmobile trails are shaping up nicely. The cold arctic blast kept most people inside except for the diehards who were rewarded with some nice trout on the ice. Enforcement action was taken for drug possession and snowmobile and angling violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area lakes, snowmobile trails and ski trails. She also took questions on angling and small-game hunting and handled equipment issues.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) focused primarily on angling and snowmobile enforcement. Training was completed, administrative work was caught up on, and forest roads were patrolled. Activity was light all week with the frigid weather. Enforcement action included snowmobile registration violations, altered exhaust, and litter.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and snowmobile activity this past week. Folks attempted to brave the super-cold weather and found little success in both endeavors. But they deserve credit for trying.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports cold conditions across the Arrowhead throughout the past week. Angling activity was light but snowmobilers hit the trails despite extremely cold weather. Registration was once again phenomenal with no violations seen. The North Shore State Trail was busy on the holiday and multiple groups visiting the area were checked.
Hill and CO Wahlstrom assisted multiple agencies with a personal injury snowmobile crash between Lutsen and Tofte.
Hill took phone calls regarding winter camping. Please, if you are planning to come to the area to winter camp, be sure to have flexible plans around the weather. Hill spoke with a group who had a member spend the afternoon in the hospital for frostbite.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity this past week. Extremely cold weather kept outdoor activity in the area to a minimum, but area trails are groomed and in good condition.
A case of trespass while coyote hunting is being investigated and Lake Superior fishing regulation questions were answered.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) patrolled area lakes and noticing fewer anglers than usual, likely due to the colder weather. Along with a decrease in angling activity, he also saw a decrease in snowmobiling activity. A call of a bobcat that suffered from a run-in with a porcupine was taken, and time was spent training.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and snowmobile trails. He also worked anglers, forestry issues, small-game hunters and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted the county with a medical.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking angling and snowmobiling activity. She worked on Mille Lacs lake checking angling activity. Several violations were found. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, failure to display a shelter tag and using extra lines.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers over the past week during the frigid weather. Some anglers still made it out on area lakes and were successful, with some fish being caught. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and fishing with extra lines.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on angling, dark house spearing, and snowmobile enforcement. Anglers who endured the low temperatures reported moderate success at best. Enforcement action was taken for several angling license violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) observed several large groups of snowmobilers out despite the brutally cold weather. Law compliance among snowmobile groups was good and all of the riders were prepared and dressed for the weather. Fishing success in the area remains poor overall.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) followed up on ongoing cases and worked a detail on Mille Lacs Lake. A dumping case was closed and resulted in a citation for littering on state land. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display a shelter license, unattended lines and no license in possession.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the past week working in very low temperatures. As the week went on, more and more people were out recreating. Anglers and snowmobile riders were still present. Duncan assisted local law enforcement on calls and also checked several cross-county skiers on area trails. Time was also spent on equipment maintenance and online training courses.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent this past week in K-9 school with his new K9 partner. Complaints of nuisance beavers were received and assistance was given to try to remedy the situation in the future.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports during the past week a group of anglers needed to be rescued on Lake Superior as the pack ice floated away from shore during a wind switch. The frigid artic weather kept many people indoors during the week, but there were anglers in the Duluth and Two Harbors area.
Olson participated in a detail on Mille Lacs Lake in the Malmo and Isle areas.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on Lake Superior. Depending on the wind, there has been some good access to sheltered portions of Minnesota’s waters. Snowmobile riders are finding trails in decent shape, as low temperatures are keeping traffic levels down.
Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.