District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports having a busy week checking anglers and recreational boating activity on Rainy Lake. Time was spent working ATV complaints in the area along with answering questions regarding the special regulations for walleyes on Rainy Lake. Enforcement action taken this week was for possessing multiple illegal-length walleyes on Rainy Lake. Simonson urges people to take a look at the regulations book before heading out fishing and to call if you have questions about something specific that you can’t find.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports time was spent monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic for aquatic invasive species compliance. The most common violation was transporting watercraft without removing drain plugs. Angling reports continue to mostly be negative, with overall lower catch rates. ATV complaint areas were monitored.
Slatinski fielded a variety of wildlife-related calls. He reminds people to leave young-of-the-year animals alone, as this gives them the best chance for survival.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports angling and boating activities were monitored over the week. Wolves, bears, and beavers continue to cause problems. ATV activity has remained constant despite the arrival of summer bugs. Equipment work continues. Area forest roads were checked.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATV enforcement, boating activity and checked public accesses. In addition, time was spent attending training at Camp Ripley and speaking with kids at “Safety Town,” which is a local event geared toward teaching children how to be safe in many aspects of daily life.
Calls received included trespassing and wetland-filling complaints; nuisance bears; possessing a captive-bred red fox; and assisting local law enforcement agencies.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports time was spent following up on previous cases and primarily working ATV enforcement throughout the week. Many ATV violations were encountered, and he observed quite a few individuals under the age 18 not wearing helmets.
Zavodnik also encountered an individual carrying a 3-year-old passenger on a moped. During Zavodnik’s observations, the passenger had no helmet on and was riding in the operator’s lap as both lanes of traffic were slowing down for them. Enforcement action was taken.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily aquatic invasive species, boating and fishing enforcement. Anglers caught a fair number of walleyes during the Birch Lake walleye tournament despite very windy conditions.
Enforcement action included transporting a loaded firearm and two uncased firearms in a motor vehicle; no personal flotation devices; unregistered watercraft; transporting a watercraft with the drain plug in place; and no trailer lights on boat trailers.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) focused on fishing and ATV activity in the Ely area. Fishing reports picked up towards the end of the week as the weather began to change, but success was still only fair.
Several nuisance-bear complaints were received, all involving poor garbage and food storage. Visitors are reminded to be conscious that bears are still hungry and extra care should be taken to prevent bear issues.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and boaters this past week. He found multiple locations with litter from people camping in nontraditional spots. Several calls came in regarding nuisance animals and illegal personal watercraft operation.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked fishing and boating activity during the week. Fishing success slowed this week but warm weather brought high recreational use of watercraft to area lakes.
Several reports of seemingly orphaned fawns were taken this week. The best advice for fawns are to leave them alone where they are found. It is normal for fawns to be left alone for several hours by their mothers.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) assisted with firearms qualifications at Camp Ripley again this week. She also checked ATV riders and anglers. Manning also took a report of a couple who decided that free state park entry was not good enough and decided to skip out without paying for their campsite.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and boating activity. Time was also spent checking ATV trails in the area.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) attended training at Camp Ripley.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) conducted boating, fishing, and ATV enforcement. Brown assisted Forestry with complaints of illegal birch-pole cutting and camping.
Assistance was also given to local counties with a stranded boater and with finding a missing person. Brown participated in the fisheries boat survey with CO pilot Tim Gray.
Enforcement action was taken for transporting aquatic macrophytes and operating a personal watercraft too close to swimmers.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers and monitored off-highway vehicle activity. The walleye bite was good this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity over the past week with enforcement action taken for expired watercraft registration and angling without a license. A wildfire investigation was also conducted in the area.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on boating, angling, ATV and aquatic invasive species activities. Van Asch also spoke at the Balsam Trailblazers ATV Club’s youth safety class. A special thank-you to all the volunteer instructors who assisted with the class.
Enforcement action was taken for several angling and boating violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) primarily worked fishing, boating and ATV activity. The walleye bite in the area has seemed to slow down a bit, while the panfish bite remains steady. ATV riders reported dusty conditions due to very little rainfall in recent weeks.
Violations included fishing in a closed area and not having a sufficient number of personal flotation devices onboard a watercraft.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) handled ongoing cases this week and answered calls regarding regulation questions and complaint phone calls. Willis also assisted in conducting ongoing training for the Division at Camp Ripley.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time at area accesses talking with boaters about aquatic invasive species issues and completing inspections. Area ATV-complaint areas were monitored and patrolled.
Fishing and boating enforcement was worked and Duncan answered complaints involving ATVs and nuisance-wildlife issues.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, off-highway vehicle and aquatic invasive species enforcement during the week. Humphrey was dispatched to a call of a lost person in a neighboring officer’s area.
Humphrey attended Division firearms training at Camp Ripley and an Honor Guard meeting during the week.
He also followed up on investigations including a wolf depredation, environmental damage concern and a trespass issue. Several calls were returned with questions/concerns on various issues including riparian ownership, homemade boat registration, public water access and youth off-highway vehicle requirements.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on waters and wetland violations in the area. With the hot weather, boating activity was very busy.
Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and registration violations.
A complaint was received of a large amount of litter dumped on state forest land. After spending time sifting through the garbage, a piece of mail was found with a name and address. The investigation is still ongoing with a suspect being contacted shortly.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked the weekend focusing on boating safety and AIS enforcement on Lake Superior and inland lakes. The nice weather had many people enjoying the area waters.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers, boaters and paddleboarders on Lake Superior. Cool water has kept fishing slower in some spots.
Compliance with registration and personal flotation devices violations on paddleboards has been poor. ATV complaints were received and common violation areas checked.
Enforcement action was taken for ATV and watercraft violations.