CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reminds walleye anglers planning to fish Rainy River and Minnesota-Canada border waters: Even with an Ontario license, Minnesota anglers only can keep a Minnesota limit, which is zero. All walleye/sauger fishing is catch-and-release only.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) worked boating and angling enforcement on the Rainy River. With only the Birchdale access open for bigger boats through the weekend, longer-than-usual traffic lines were observed for anglers launching in the morning. Zavodnik cautions boaters, especially those with the bunk-style trailers, to keep their boats hooked up when launching. The colder weather freezes the bunks, making it easy for boats to fall off and onto the cement when launching. He also wants to inform anglers that even when they buy an Ontario fishing license to fish the Ontario side of the River, possession of walleyes/sauger is not allowed while the season is catch and release in Minnesota. Common violations observed during the past week included expired boat registration, no throwable type IV on board, no license in possession, not enough PFDs on board, and illegal possession of walleyes while fishing Canada-Minnesota border waters.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports anglers have begun their annual pilgrimage to the Rainy River for some open-water fishing. For many, it is the first time the boat has been out of storage. People need to check for current registration. The current decal is required to be displayed on the boat. Anglers are reminded that the river is catch-and-release only. No walleyes or sauger may be kept from the river, no matter which side you are fishing, when returning to Minnesota. Time was also spent monitoring public waters projects, AIS compliance, and public access complaints of items being stored.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and checking area forest roads. Public access sites continue to be monitored. Equipment work continues.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and ATV activity. Cooler weather has slowed area lakes from opening up. ATV operators are reminded many of the area trails are only open to snowmobiles.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) checked a number of panfish anglers this past week, with some having success catching crappies and tullibees. Hopkins is also investigating some birch pole and decorative top cutting.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and ATV riders, investigated a litter complaint, attempted to stop a suspect wanted by a probation officer, and responded to a call of eagles that locked talons and ended up in a creek. The eagles were separated and flew away. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on an incident where an owner of a fish house cut off most of the shelter after it sunk into the slush and burned the remaining parts of it. The owner found out that was not a good idea and was cited for burning prohibited materials. Some equipment maintenance issues were addressed. Area snowmobile trails were patrolled for ATV traffic. Frericks reminds ATV operators to not operate their ATVs on snowmobile trails. Not only are they not allowed there, but the ATVs can cause serious rutting.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) assisted with setting up and giving a law presentation to 47 students attending firearms safety in Aurora. Equipment was put into storage.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports the winter trout season seemed to fizzle out over the final weekend. Cool weather returned and although there were a few anglers out, success was extremely low compared to just a few weeks ago. Travel on the lakes is also becoming difficult and many areas with current are beginning to open.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers this past week. Ice conditions are deteriorating with several spots opening up along shore. Crappie anglers have been having some success but few people have been fishing lake or stream trout.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a very quiet week. There were a few snowmobilers left and anglers had lakes all to themselves.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers on inland lakes. Manning worked a detail in the Ely area with CO Velsvaag patrolling in the BWCAW and a detail with CO Bermel in the border country up the Gunflint Trail. She also took calls regarding pollution of Lake Superior, a recent land-trespass case and CWD in deer.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) primarily checked crappie anglers throughout the week. Some success was noted. Time was also spent checking lake trout anglers in and out of the BWCA. Enforcement action was taken for possession of smelt without a VHS-free label. Ice is deteriorating and caution should be used. The top layer is not good ice, and there isn’t a lot of solid ice underneath.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Schottenbauer also saw a few ATVs and snowmobiles this past week. He also completed EMT training.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) checked late-season ice-angling activity and responded to nuisance-wildlife complaints. Several people were encountered out enjoying the yearly collection of maple sap or just getting out for a walk in the woods after the long winter.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, handled several calls about vehicle-struck animals, and worked on equipment and ongoing cases.
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement. He also took care of wildlife-related complaints. Ice conditions are deteriorating.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, attended K9 training and assisted the county with a search warrant. Angler success was good this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and OHV registration issues.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) followed up on a couple litter complaints involving animal carcasses. She also investigated a complaint of fish house debris left on a local lake. Enforcement action was taken for having a fire without a permit.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV and angling activity with some angling success had for panfish. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered ATVs, fish houses left out after the deadline, failing to display identification and not having a shelter tag on a fish house left on the ice overnight. Sutherland also attended waterfowl school in southeastern Minnesota, where he helped new COs learn about waterfowl enforcement and identification.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, ATV, and fish house enforcement. Anglers who stayed mobile reported better success over the weekend. Van Asch also spent time instructing and assisting at the waterfowl enforcement school for the new conservation officers. Enforcement action was taken for several angling license issues.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent a majority of the week at Whitewater State Park attending waterfowl training. The training was put on by veteran conservation officers for the newest officers hitting the field. Curriculum included topics such as waterfowl identification and patrol and enforcement techniques.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) spent a large portion of the week dealing with people’s litter and parts of shelters they left on the ice. Citations were issued for litter and shelters on the ice after deadline. ATV activity is increasing and already there is an almost 100-percent violation rate for registration display issues. Please review the requirements for your ATV registration prior to heading out to ride.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week following up on fish house issues and litter left on area lakes. ATV complaints and trail violations were handled. Lake Superior shore anglers and river anglers were checked as most rivers are open and flowing. Dumping complaints were also investigated and citations were issued for litter.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked Lake Superior and its tributaries for angling activity. Most of the shoreline is clear of ice and anglers are out in force. ATV complaints were handled and trespassing complaints were investigated. Equipment preparation for spring was completed.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked spring forest closures and fire enforcement during the week. Time was also spent checking a few late-season ice anglers. Humphrey received calls on dumped deer carcasses, ATV registration, and safety training classes. He assisted 1854 Authority officers with equipment. Seasonal station equipment maintenance and changeover were completed. Watercraft were prepped for possible emergency flood deployment. Violations for the week included operating a motor vehicle on a closed forest road and possession of drugs.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked the remaining ice anglers on Lake Superior in the beginning of the week and shore casters at the end of the week. The U.S. Coast Guard crews made quick work of the shipping channels in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Calls about injured deer were responded to during the week as well.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked public accesses and snowmobile trailheads. Time was spent patrolling late-season snowmobile trails and watching for spring beaver trappers. A traffic complaint yielded a DWI arrest. Enforcement action was taken for public access and traffic violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.