MN DNR Weekly Report for March 5, 2019

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports time was spent training at Camp Ripley. Snowmobile activity continues to be the main focus of enforcement work. A work detail with Border Patrol and Voyageurs National...

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports time was spent training at Camp Ripley. Snowmobile activity continues to be the main focus of enforcement work. A work detail with Border Patrol and Voyageurs National Park rangers was conducted on snowmobile traffic heading to the Crane Lake Challenge Snowmobile Event. Despite the cold and wind, people were out enjoying the great trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration issues and speed.  


CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) reports a busy week of completing paperwork from Eelpout Festival and working snowmobile activity. Trail conditions are still in excellent shape and he continues to see good numbers of snowmobilers out there. Zavodnik spent time preparing for the spring walleye fishing season on the Rainy River with various officials. He also overheard a call on the radio regarding an individual who had overdosed on heroin. Zavodnik and local law enforcement officers arrived on the scene to find the individual unconscious and gasping for air. Emergency medical responders arrived and brought the man to the local hospital.


CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobiling conditions continue to be excellent, albeit with extreme cold and strong winds testing some riders’ limitations. Working with the U.S. Border Patrol and Voyageurs National Park, snowmobile and trail use were monitored around areas associated with the Crane Lake Challenge. Overall, compliance was high, but not displaying or incorrectly displaying valid registration decals and registration numbers continues to be commonly observed. The regulation booklet clearly explains what is required.



CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes. However, due to deep snow and slush fishing activity has been limited. Snowmobile activity remains high with numerous violations encountered. Deer continue to struggle as snow depth takes its toll.


CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. Many anglers have removed or started arranging to remove their fish houses as the deadline approaches. Fewer snowmobiles were observed on the snowmobile trails this past week. Snowmobilers continue to report close calls on area trails. Snowmobilers are reminded to stay to their right and be prepared for oncoming traffic.


CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reminds people that fish houses must be removed by March18. If fish houses aren’t removed in time, the owners might be prosecuted and their structures confiscated or possibly even destroyed by conservation officers. Hopkins continued safe driving enforcement on snowmobiles this past week. Speed was the most common violation once again.

District 6 - Two Harbors area CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the week focusing on snowmobile and ice shelter enforcement. Trail conditions were excellent but windblown lakes made for slow travel and recent snowfall in the rest of the state meant very little activity even over the weekend. Trout fishing was also slow, and most anglers contacted on Burntside Lake reported little to no success.



CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers this past week. Slush conditions have improved overall but there are still some large pockets of deep slush on some lakes. Snowmobiling activity was high with the great trail conditions but there were several serious accidents in the region. Velsvaag took several calls on fishing regulations and anglers are reminded to get their new licenses.


CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) participated in a work detail with other officers during the weekend. Snowmobilers and anglers were checked.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked activity on area lakes. He monitored fish house removal progress, which looked great. Patten also worked ongoing cases and performed equipment maintenance.


CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement. He also took care of wildlife complaints. Snowmobile trails were still in good shape, with many people out riding. He also attended training. 


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity, responded to nuisance animal complaints and assisted in teaching a snowmobile safety class. Fairbanks and his K9 partner also provide a K9 demo. The slush on area lakes continues to be a problem. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and operating a snowmobile on the roadway.



CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked snowmobiling activity this past week. Snowmobile trails were in excellent condition south of Grand Rapids. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobiling and angling activity. With very deep snow conditions angling has been very limited. Case work was performed from leftover deer cases from deer season and angling cases.


CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) monitored area snowmobile and angling activity. Van Asch instructed at the Greenway Snowmobile Club’s annual snowmobile safety class. A special thank you to all the volunteers/instructors who assisted with the class. Enforcement action was taken for several snowmobile violations.


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent the week checking ice anglers and patrolling area snowmobile trails. There has been a dramatic drop in ice fishing activity with most people shifting their focus to getting their shelters off the ice on time. Many snowmobilers reported seeing wildlife on the snowmobile trails. With deep snow a lot of animals have taken to the trails for a more compact walking surface. Please slow down and respect the wildlife if you encounter them on the trails.



NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) attended training at Camp Ripley most of the week. Administrative details were handled in preparation for the season change.


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time working fishing enforcement on Lake Superior. Snowmobile enforcement was also worked on area trails. Duncan talked at a youth steelhead fishing class. Equipment maintenance and office work was also completed during the week. 


CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) reports heavy snowmobile activity again this past week. Proper display of registration is still a constant issue. Make sure you are making plans and starting to get fish houses off the lakes ahead of time, even in the north zone. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display current registration and failing to display an ice house license.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement. Humphrey assisted other local law enforcement with a fleeing snowmobiler and monitored fish house removal on area lakes. Humphrey also attended an Honor Guard meeting at Camp Ripley.   



CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended court on a careless fire case from last spring and worked on training with K9 Schody. Assistance was given to an area school that was holding mock interviews for the senior students. Students primarily interested in law enforcement were interviewed. A talk was given to two separate career classes at Moose Lake School with CO Dustie Speldrich. Extra patrols were conducted at area state parks where enforcement action was taken for no ski pass and having a dog off leash.

Lake Superior Marine Unit CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked on administrative items and checked ice anglers on Lake Superior in the Two Harbors and Duluth areas. The catch seemed to slow down heading into the weekend.  


CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on Lake Superior. Travel remains easy for those on foot or snowmobile, but ATV use should be reconsidered with some of the cracks that open up each day. Pressure was high over the weekend, undoubtedly having an effect on fishing efforts with so much traffic. Lake trout and coho salmon were seen on the ice. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.


Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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