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MN DNR Weekly Report for March 20, 2017

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports two incidents of people going through the ice on Rainy Lake in the last week, one involving a snowmobile and the other a Class 2 ATV.  In both cases the operators were able to get out safely, however the machines did not fare so well.  People again are encouraged to use extreme caution and need to be prepared for the worst if venturing onto the ice as ice conditions can change hourly.  Wearing a lifejacket and having ice picks on the ice are not bad things to be wearing this time of year.  Enforcement actions for week involved ATV violations.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports time was spent at waterfowl enforcement training with the remainder of the week focusing on fishing activity. Lack of proper registration on both snowmobiles and ATVs continues to be frequently observed. Now that boats are being removed from storage and used it is a good time to check and update registration on these as well.

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) found the fickle weather this week allowed work from squad to snowmobile to ATV.  Anglers are still trying to find fish but the ice conditions on the lake are getting less and less safe every day.  Open water is showing up in known current areas and around rocks.  Shelf ice, caused by receded water levels, caused one snowmobile to go through on Kabetogama.    Officer Adam worked on pending cases.  Enforcement action was taken for expired snowmobile registration and ATV’s on islands within the national park.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and angling activities.  Few anglers and fewer fish observed in the bag.  Area forest roads were monitored along with public access sites. Seasonal equipment transition is on-going.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers this past week; activity was slow.  CO Velsvaag also received several complaints about litter on the ice.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked ATV and snowmobile enforcement.  The officer, along with county deputies, worked the water skips and spoke to individuals about the new enforcement regarding the skips.  The officer also took a complaint of a dead eagle and dogs chasing deer.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a Firearms Safety Class in Gilbert and completed annual online training. Very few anglers were seen out and ice conditions are still holding up. CO Frericks GPS’d and photographed the few remaining ice shelters on Virginia area lakes prior to the removal deadline.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) spent a lot of time working on forestry related issues of birch trees being cut off state and private land and being sold as decorative material.  Ice fishing is still going and houses have been removed.  Car deer accidents have increased due to deer eating in the ditches where the snow has melted.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports ice angling activity increased with warmer weather and stayed steady through the week although success was very poor. Ice thickness and quality continues to be fair although many rivers, creeks, and areas with current have opened or become dangerous. Violations included angling without a license in possession.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) checked area trout and pan fish lakes in and around the BWCA.  The officer handled equipment maintenance issues preparing for the impending seasonal change.  Officer Manning also issued her earliest car-kill bear permit and followed up on reports of litter around a fish house and power augers in the BWCA. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) primarily checked anglers and ATV’s throughout the week. Some anglers were checked inside the BWCA.  Crappie fishing continued to be on the slow side although lake trout anglers are having more success.  Enforcement action was taken for litter, ATV passenger under 18 without a helmet, and no license in possession.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling and snowmobile activity this week.  Time was also spent at EMT training.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time armoring issued M4 patrol rifles. The officer attended a meeting with the Sheriff’s office and border patrol. A complaint was worked in the BWCAW and ice houses were monitored before the deadline. CO Wahlstrom also spoke to interested candidates about the career of a conservation officer.  

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and angling activity during the week.  Late season ice anglers are having good luck with pan fish on area lakes and Lake Superior is offering some decent open water fishing for steelhead and salmon. CO Murray checked a few snowmobilers trying to get one last ride in for the season before the snow disappears.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, worked ongoing cases, and reviewed items for the bear committee.  Enforcement action was taken for failure to display ATV registration.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, investigated TIP complaints, assisted the patrol with a pursuit, assisted the county in locating a male suspect that fled from a residence and provided a K9 demo at a SCI event. Area angler success was good this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked area lakes for angling activity, which is pretty slow for pan-fishing.  She attended the Grand Rapids Jaycee Home and Sport Show at the Civic Center along with other conservation officers manning the T.I.P. Wall of Shame.  She took a report of a dead eagle.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked late season ice anglers with the pan-fish bite heating up in the area.  Ice conditions are beginning to deteriorate on area lakes so be careful out there.  CO Sutherland also worked the Wall of Shame over the weekend with many area sportsmen stopping in to look at the poached animals that came from around the state.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATV’s and spring trappers.  He also prepped for upcoming firearm safety classes and worked the Grand Rapids Home and Sport Show during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) – monitored angling and ATV activity throughout the surrounding area.  Ice conditions are starting to vary, so please use caution before heading out.  Anglers targeting crappies and bluegills are reporting better results.  A complaint of dogs chasing deer was also investigated, along with ice shelters being monitored and documented before the removal date.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent the week assisting with waterfowl training for officers at Whitewater State Park.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) followed up on fish house removal and litter issues related to ice houses.  Officer Schmidt taught at a firearm safety class in the Hermantown area, followed up on a fire investigation, and met with the county attorney on upcoming cases.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time working fishing enforcement along the north shore of Lake Superior.  Many people have been shore and boat fishing when conditions allow.  Area lakes were checked for ice houses and litter.  Time was also spent following up on past incidents and investigations.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes and conducted patrols in the Fond du Lac State Forest, Sawyer & Sandell WMA’s; as well as Moose Lake State Park.  Enforcement contacts for OHV operation, equipment, and no state park vehicle permits were encountered.  A few last chance ice anglers were observed.  Ice conditions continue to deteriorate and caution is advised.  Calls on dumped deer carcasses and a wolf were received.  CO Humphrey, along with CO Staples, attended a Career fair at the Fond du Lac community college speaking with students about conservation officer careers and job duties. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a career fair at Fond du Lac College that was a host to several different area high schools. A meeting with the DNR fur committee was attended and media interviews were conducted.  Extra patrols were conducted in the area of the Nemadji State Forest. The forest is closed to protect area roads and trails while the ground thaws.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and shore anglers along the North shore, the Coho and Kamloop catch has been decent, with mornings producing the most action. Officer Olson attended a youth class for the steelhead association in Duluth and also fielded calls on ice shelter removal dates and procedures for the upcoming deadline. Persistent northeast winds kept only the hearty anglers along the north shore with building seas removing most small boat anglers.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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