District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (Int’l Falls #2) Spent time working angling and snowmobile enforcement over the week. With the Northeast Region of the State getting much needed snow, trail groomers are out in full force and resorts have started to welcome anxious trail riders. A group of snowmobilers Zavodnik spoke with said they drove from the Twin Cities area and arrived at midnight that morning to enjoy the newly fallen snow. Slush seems to be creeping its way onto the lakes, but the marked portions on the green trail from Rainy Lake to Crane Lake seem to be ok despite the heavy snow. A reminder when going out snowmobiling - always tell someone where you plan on traveling, bring a map and stay on the marked portions on the trails. Angler success on Rainy Lake seems to be fair, many catching close to their limit of walleyes but having to throw back a handful of small ones. Some common violations encountered over the week included, no license in possession, expired ATV registration, and individuals under the age 18 operating a snowmobile without a helmet.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities. Recent snow brought out the snowmobiles along with numerous violations. Lake travel has deteriorated rapidly with heavy snow and deep slush. Those who didn’t listen to the weather should start now working on fish houses soon to be froze in the lake.
CO Duke Broughton (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported limited success this week. Recent heavy snow brought out a lot of snowmobiles, however the snow has created slush on area lakes. Snowmobile trails are a little rough and due to the lack of cold weather groomers may be restricted on where they can groom.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time following up on several trapping investigations. Enforcement action was taken for untagged traps and trap tending violations. With the recent heavy snowfall, Virginia area snowmobile trails were patrolled. Numerous snowmobilers neglected to look at their registration decals before heading out on the trails and were cited for operating unregistered snowmobiles. A couple juveniles were checked on snowmobiles on their first ride of the season. After determining their registration was good, CO Frericks asked both juveniles for their snowmobile safety certificates. Both juveniles replied they had not completed the safety course. The parents for the juveniles were contacted and cited for allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by a juvenile.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received a complaint of a bobcat in a foothold trap that was unattended. Upon checking the trap, the bobcat was removed/stolen by an unknown person and the trap owner was charged for not tending traps. Lots of snow in the area has brought out snowmobilers and made accessing the lakes for fishing difficult. Fredin received a complaint of road hunting where a cabin owner hid a trail camera and obtained videos of a hunter with crossbow and urinating on the roadway. Never know what a camera will catch these days.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) - Both angling and spearfishing slowed down this past week with less participants and success reports mixed. The recent snowfall has greatly improved trail and general snowmobile riding conditions, however it has also brought with it the formation of large areas of slush on lake surfaces. Several shelter owners were busy blocking shelters up to get above the slush. A roadkill gray wolf was picked up and processed. License, registration, and operating conduct were noted violations this past week.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) Snowmobile trail and lake ice conditions vary greatly - from excellent to dangerous in the Ely area. Although a good amount of fresh snow had fallen in the week many of the trails are still ungroomed and traveling is slow going. Lake conditions included areas of fresh powder, slush, bare ice, and open water. Officer Williams assisted the St. Louis County Rescue Squad after two snowmobilers were reported missing. Rescue Squad members located the female victim and the snowmobile below the ice on White Iron lake. They spent two more days searching until the male victim could be recovered, also from below the frozen lake.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers this past week. Slush conditions made fishing and snowmobiling difficult in many areas. Fishing was slow overall but some nice walleyes were caught late afternoon for a couple of days.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked anglers and snowmobile activity during the week.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked anglers and patrolled GIA snowmobile trails. The officer also checked cross country skiers at Pincushion and folks are reminded to get their annual or 3 year ski pass BEFORE arriving at the trailhead.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) began a background investigation on a CO applicant. The first big snow hit the area starting the snowmobile season. Time was spent working Upper Red Lake, which had very high use. Violations for the week included fail to register deer as required, expired snowmobile registration, walleye over limit, extra lines, unattended lines, possession of filleted walleyes and unmeasurable fish on a special regulations lake, drug paraphernalia, and no shelter tags.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobiling activity this week. Most trails were still ungroomed as over a foot of snow dumped along the Northshore. Fishing slowed down this week as the recent storm made anglers switch from ATV’s to snowmobiles for lake access.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) Assisted with a snowmobile safety class. Normal winter work duties and patrols were attended to. The cold weather changed many outdoors enthusiast strategies.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activities and assisted the County with a domestic. Most lakes have scattered slush pockets after the recent snowfall. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, extra line and operation of snowmobile in a closed area.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked anglers this past week. She also investigated a trapping incident which resulted in violations. Enforcement action was taken for fishing and small game violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers and snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession and operating an un-registered snowmobile.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) – reports working angling, trapping, and snowmobile enforcement. With heavy snow blanketing the surrounding area trails, snowmobilers were able to take advantage of the winter wonderland. CO Van Asch also spent time assisting with a snowmobile safety class held by the Itasca Drift Skippers Snowmobile Club. Enforcement action was taken for several angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused enforcement efforts on ice fishing and snowmobiling activity. The walleye bite in the area has seemed to slow down a bit but most are still reporting success with crappie fishing. Folks are reminded to use extreme caution when navigating near ice ridges because the ice conditions can vary greatly and are unpredictable.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) worked snowmobile and ice fishing activity. The new snowfall brought out snowmobilers and trail conditions were not too bad. Enforcement action was taken for registration related issues, no license in possession and unlawful juvenile operation.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked fishing enforcement around the Duluth area. Time was spent prepping for upcoming work detail up the gunflint trail out of Grand Marais. Duncan assisted Duluth Police with a possible hunter harassment call involving their archery hunt and Officer Duncan assisted with a work detail in the Grand Marais area for the opening of the winter trout season in the BWCA. Other activities included working snowmobile enforcement.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers around Duluth and worked the BWCA trout opener off the Gunflint trail. 25” plus inches of new snow recently made tough backcountry going for all. Snowmobiles also arriving in droves along the Northshore.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.