District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports a busy weekend of snowmobile and ice fishing activity as the cold snap broke and lots of people were out enjoying the warmer weather. Training was also attended.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports spending time this past week checking ice anglers and patrolling area snowmobile trails. The nice weather this past weekend had many people out enjoying the outdoors. Many people were up enjoying the area’s snowmobile trails.
Enforcement action taken this past week consisted of operating unregistered snowmobiles on area trails and not displaying registration properly.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports illegal exhaust on a snowmobile is still a common occurrence being encountered and addressed. Any modification to the snowmobile’s exhaust that increases noise levels produced is not allowed. Just because an aftermarket exhaust is called a “trail can” does not make legal for use on trails in Minnesota. The local clubs and various agencies have put extensive time and energy into establishing trails, often with the use of easements through private property. Excessive noise can generate complaints and threats of revoking easements, which would cause trails to be closed in some instances.
Other violations encountered included a juvenile operating a snowmobile on the roadway at night without a working tail light; snowmobile speed; expired snowmobile registration; failure to display registration; and fishing license violations.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports checking anglers and snowmobile activity. Fishing remains poor. Area forest roads were checked and public access sites monitored.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time checking anglers and patrolling snowmobile trails over the past week. Outdoor activity increased greatly after the spell of bitterly cold weather. Snowmobile season seems to finally be in full force, seeing as higher numbers of snowmobilers from all over the state were observed over the weekend. Trail conditions are in good to fair condition as of late.
The most common violation found over the week was excessive snowmobile speed. Zavodnik wants to remind operators to also drive at reasonable speeds, as trail conditions can change quite quickly.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and snowmobile activity. Warmer weather brought many people out after a two-week cold spell. Fishing success remained poor this past week. Snowmobile trails are still in poor condition due to the little amount of snow this winter.
Broughten also fielded calls regarding dogs chasing deer, abandoned property and trespass.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) focused on snowmobile enforcement over the past week after a change in weather saw subzero highs give way to a weekend that included mixed rain and snow.
Snowmobile activity was much higher than previous weeks and overall speed and registration compliance was very good. Violations included expired snowmobile registration, failure to transfer snowmobile registration, and excessive snowmobile speed.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Trail conditions held up pretty good with all of the snowmobile traffic. Velsvaag observed litter on the ice in several locations from anglers and received complaints about speeding snowmobilers.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Activity has increased with the warmer weather. He also attended training.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers and fish houses on inland lakes. Snowmobile trails were very busy and the combination of many riders and the low snowfall this season have made for less-than-ideal conditions. Riders are urged to slow down and remember to stay on their side of the trail.
Also a reminder that angling licenses will expire soon, so be sure to get your new one.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a busy weekend of snowmobile enforcement. Trout and crappie anglers were also checked. They were having limited success. Enforcement action included extra lines on a trout lake; live minnows on a trout lake; no trout stamp; snowmobile speed; loud exhaust; careless operation; and snowmobile registration.
Numerous local youth riders were certified in snowmobile safety in Babbitt.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity this past week. Time was also spent checking snowmobiles on area trails and attending training.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports an extremely busy week in the district during the past week and especially during the weekend. Hundreds of sleds hit the trail as the weather couldn’t have been better, especially with a midweek snowfall that gave the trails some extra insurance. Registration violations and muffler violations were documented.
Angling activity in the station was very slow as people focused their efforts on snowmobile riding.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the past week.
Many anglers traveled to the North Shore to fish trout and salmon on rare Lake Superior ice. The big lake doesn’t freeze every year and it is a much-anticipated opportunity but requires vigilance toward ice safety. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails, encountering several anglers and snowmobilers. Enforcement action was taken for numerous offenses, including possession of an illegal-length walleye; failure to display shelter licenses; operating an off-road vehicle on a designated snowmobile trail; and fishing after revocation of fishing privileges.
Brown assisted anglers with getting off the lake after their vehicle became stuck in deep snow and gave directions to lost snowmobilers.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and snowmobile trails, and worked anglers, forestry, small-game hunters and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, patrolled the station snowmobile trails and investigated a litter complaint. Angler success was slow this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, failure to display a shelter tag, and litter.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling and snowmobiling activity this past week. She also attended training. Snowmobile trails improved with the little snow that hit the area over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobiling violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked heavy snowmobile activity over the past week with the warmer weather. Enforcement action was taken for expired registration. Ice angling activity also increased over the past week with many people hitting the ice.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, dark house spearing, and snowmobile activity throughout the surrounding areas. Enforcement action was taken for angling with unattended lines and possessing overlimits of crappies.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) mainly focused on angling and snowmobile activities. Trails are usable but would improve greatly with another layer of snow. Violations included angling without a license, excessive speed on a snowmobile, and snowmobile-registration issues.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) attended training, continued working ongoing complaints and reports angling success continues to be slow in the area.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) monitored angling and snowmobile activity in the area. Schmidt reports trail conditions have improved. He followed up on litter complaints and trespassing issues related to snowmobiling during the past week.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked local lakes for fishing activity. Many people were found enjoying the warmer weather. Snowmobile activity has picked up the past few days. Cross-country ski trails were also worked. Duncan also spent a couple days training.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) continued training with a new K9 partner and answered questions on snowmobile regulations in the area. A complaint of nuisance beavers flooding a snowmobile trail was taken and information was given to help alleviate the problem.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended Division training and worked snowmobile trails in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. The return of warmer weather had many anglers on the area lakes and trails.
Enforcement actions focused on snowmobile speed, registration and loud exhaust on snowmobiles.
Pack ice returned on Lake Superior in the Duluth corner, with many anglers venturing out catching lake trout, coho salmon and lake herring.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers in the Duluth area as Lake Superior experienced some rare accessibility on fresh ice. Catches of ciscoes and coho salmon were common, with a few lake trout as well. Snowmobile trails are in excellent shape, with moderate activity and a few continued violations for loud/modified mufflers.
Preparations were made for spring work, and Miller attended training. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.