MN DNR Weekly Report for Feb. 19, 2019

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports fishing on Rainy Lake has slowed as little success was observed, however with recent snowfall snowmobile activity has increased in the area. The International Falls Vo...

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports fishing on Rainy Lake has slowed as little success was observed, however with recent snowfall snowmobile activity has increased in the area. The International Falls Voyageurs Snowmobile Clubs Annual Charity Radar Run Event was held on Rainy Lake this past weekend. Enforcement action taken for the week mainly was focused on speed.  


CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) worked mainly snowmobile enforcement over the week. With accumulating snow over the past week, ice conditions have started to deteriorate, bringing slush throughout surrounding lakes. Groomers have been running frequently, keeping the trails in perfect condition for the riders. Zavodnik and CO Vollbrecht ran into an interesting case where the two of them stopped to help a trail rider who had a blown snowmobile belt. After assisting the snowmobiler, the two of them decided to run an area for speed on the trail and observed an individual going 87 miles per hour in a 50-mph zone. While stopping the snowmobiler, it was quite clear who the operator was once he started to slow down – it was the same person they helped earlier. As he came to a stop and looked at both officers, he put his head on his handle bars in embarrassment, and quickly admitted to speeding. Enforcement action was taken, and it was also noticed that the rider had nearly run into a tree shortly after being cited. Zavodnik also was informed that there were cases of speeding and injuries on the trails over the weekend. With the game fish season coming to a close, snowmobile activity and enforcement will start to ramp up. He’s asking riders to please be vigilant of other snowmobilers and hazards on the trail as well as obey the speed limits.


CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports snowmobile activity in the area remains consistent and the trails along with conditions have been excellent. A significant number of violations in regards to having valid registration decals and numbers on snowmobiles are still being encountered. Not wanting to interfere with the graphics on the machine does not override the requirement of having them displayed. Time was spent in Cook County with other officers monitoring area lakes and trails. Anglers were having some success and were happy with the desirable conditions to be outdoors. Numerous contacts were made in regards to angling licenses, snowmobile registration, state trail stickers, illegal exhaust, and exceeding speed limits.     



CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports an increase in snowmobile activities with nice weather and the holiday weekend. There were multiple snowmobile accidents in the area and Fondie assisted at a fatal snowmobile accident. Numerous snowmobile violations were encountered while working trail enforcement. One snowmobile was paced driving in excess of 70 mph down the shoulder of a blacktop road and subsequently cited for the offense. The failure to display registration continues to be a yearly problem addressed through tickets. In your pocket or in the trunk of the snowmobile is not displayed.


CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported poor success this week on Lake Vermilion. Snowmobiling activity remained high throughout the week. Speed and crashes continued this past week with a report of one fatal snowmobile crash from the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office. Snowmobilers are reminded to slow down and stay to the right when operating on trails.


CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports once again this past week there were a number of snowmobile crashes resulting in injuries, serious injuries, and a fatality. Speed and/or alcohol are the common denominator of the crashes. With the increasing number of snowmobilers this year, everyone needs to practice safe driving. Slow down, don’t drink and drive, and only operate at night at speeds that don’t overrun your headlights. Hopkins focused on speed enforcement this past week.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) mainly worked trout anglers, snowmobiles and ATV riders. A deer hunting case was investigated and confiscated furs were processed. He was one of the first officers on the scene of a house fire and responded to an injury snowmobile crash where the driver struck a tree on the wrong side of the trail. A number of snowmobile crashes occurred over the weekend in the region and tree strikes were a common factor. Please slow down! Enforcement action was taken on snowmobile and ATV violations.



CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent a busy President’s Day weekend patrolling area snowmobile trails. Moderate temperatures and good trail conditions brought out high numbers of sleds to the trails. Frericks responded to two snowmobile accidents with injuries. In both instances, the snowmobiler was on their first ride of the season and were unfamiliar with the snowmobile they were operating. Both riders survived their accident but their sled was totaled. Enforcement action was taken on the owner/operator of a snowmobile for not displaying his registration numbers. When the operator was stopped and asked why he did not have them displayed, he replied that he just didn’t want to and that he hasn’t had any registration numbers displayed on any sled he has had for the last 15 years.  


CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) saw lots of snowmobile activity throughout the week and noticed the trails have become very bumpy. Fredin searched for a moose that was hit by a train in the Skibo area.

District 6 - Two Harbors area CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked snowmobilers and trout anglers this past week. He also took several calls from people with complaints about the new pike regulations.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily snowmobile enforcement. He also checked a few anglers, attended training, and conducted equipment maintenance. A very high number of snowmobiles were out enjoying the excellent conditions and weather over President’s Day weekend. A few comments were heard such as, “It seems like every snowmobile in Minnesota is out.” Numerous speed citations were issued, with several in the 80s. Several expired registrations were also addressed with citations.



CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling activity this past week. Fishing in the area is poor at best with deep snow and slush in the area. Schottenbauer also spent the week and weekend enforcing snowmobile rules. Many snowmobilers were encountered stuck as they tried to leave groomed trails. Most came away from their troubles with only hurt pride. Follow up and conclusion of some trapping complaints was handled as well.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking angling and snowmobile activity. Fishing remains slow while the trails are very busy with sleds. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.


CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Trails remain in good condition and anglers are enjoying some rare ice fishing opportunities on Lake Superior. Murray also attended a training session in Grand Rapids.


CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) participated in a work detail over the busy holiday weekend. The detail concentrated on angling and snowmobile activity. 

District 7 - Grand Rapids area CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails, checked area lakes, and performed equipment maintenance. Time was also spent on equipment inventories and assisting other agencies with vehicles in the ditch.


CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement. Violations included failure to display snowmobile registration, operating a snowmobile on the roadway, and snowmobile trespass. He also took miscellaneous wildlife complaints. Snowmobile trails were still good, with many people out riding. Trail users were extremely happy with trail conditions. Numerous deer were killed on roadways near areas where people were feeding them, which does more harm than good.


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked area snowmobile activity and attended training this past week. Fairbanks also responded to vehicles and snowmobiles stuck in the slush on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, operation of a snowmobile on a roadway and snowmobile registration issues.


CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking angling activity and working snowmobiling enforcement this past week. Trails were in excellent condition over the weekend. Enforcement was taken for snowmobile registration issues.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobiling activity with one of the best winter snows in years bringing out hundreds of sleds to the area trails. Trails are in great shape and being groomed regularly. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered snowmobiles and angling without a license. Roadkill deer tags were also issued.


CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked primarily snowmobile, angling, and ATV enforcement. Anglers are reporting poor to moderate success rates on area lakes. Van Asch also spent time investigating an ongoing timber theft case. Enforcement action was taken for operating an unregistered snowmobile, allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, failure to renew ATV registration, operating an ATV on a state highway, no angling license in possession, and possession of a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia.


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to ride the Minnesota weather roller coaster with the rest of the outdoor enthusiasts. Several fishing-related questions were answered throughout the week including questions about shelter removal dates. With lots of snow and slush on the lakes it is time to plan ahead so you don’t miss the removal date (see Page 72 in the Minnesota DNR fishing regulations handbook).


NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spent time working snowmobile enforcement this past week and worked at the DNR booth for the Duluth Sports Show. Trails are still in great shape and activity was greatly increased with the very mild temperatures. Make sure you are staying to the right on trails with so many people out.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked the TIP Wall of Shame booth at the Deer Classic held at the DECC during the past week. Numerous stories and conversations were had during the event.  


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked winter fishing on area lakes, including Lake Superior. Snowmobile activity continues to be high, resulting in many contacts throughout the week. Area snowmobile trails are in excellent condition. Duncan also worked a booth, answering many questions, at the TIP Wall of Shame display during the annual Duluth Deer Classic.  

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement. Humphrey assisted at the TIP Wall of Shame at the Duluth sport show during the week. Patrols in local area state parks were also conducted. Snowmobile operation, trespass, and registration violations were encountered.


CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked complaints of violations on ski trails at Jay Cooke State Park where enforcement action was taken for ski pass violations. Time was also spent doing snowmobile enforcement in the area. Trails in the area are in excellent shape and most riders complied with the law. Enforcement action was taken for registration and no safety certificate violations. The information booth was worked at the Duluth sports show and Whitetail Classic this past week and a talk was given to a college class about the job duties of a conservation officer. Extra enforcement patrols were conducted on Mille Lacs Lake with enforcement action being taken for unattended lines and shelter violations.

Lake Superior Marine Unit CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent the week checking ice anglers on Lake Superior. The anglers are venturing farther and farther out; just a reminder to have an action plan in the event the ice becomes unstable. Lake trout are being caught along with a few salmon off the Lester River. Olson worked the Duluth sport show in the Wall of Shame of booth. Inland lakes have some serious pockets of slush – riders be aware.


CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior as the ice continued to grow. Ice conditions always vary so be sure to wear floatation gear and carry rescue picks and a chisel. All anglers on Minnesota waters of Lake Superior must have a Minnesota angling license and trout stamp. Wisconsin licenses are only good in Wisconsin waters. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

Related Topics: FISHING
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