MN DNR Weekly Report for March 6 and March 13, 2017

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (Int'l Falls North) reports ice fishing activity on Rainy Lake is picking up with nice weather over the weekend. People are urged to use extreme caution as a report of an ATV going through the ice was...

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls North) reports ice fishing activity on Rainy Lake is picking up with nice weather over the weekend.  People are urged to use extreme caution as a report of an ATV going through the ice was taken, operator and ATV were able to get out safely.  The Crane Lake Challenge Snowmobile Races were attended with a smaller crowd then previous years.  Enforcement action for the week included ATV and snowmobile violations along with fishing license violations.  Reminder - purchase a 2017 angling license.


CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports complaints continue to be heard about litter being left on the lake ice surfaces and abandoned shelters. Recreational vehicle registration issues continue to be addressed. Fishing continues to be a popular activity on border waters with varied success. Warm weather in the area is changing ice conditions quickly so once again please use caution and check ice conditions before venturing out.



CO Colleen Adam (Ray) checked area fishing hot spots finding very little activity and minimal success.  Snowmobiling activity has ceased on lakes and trails due to lack of fresh snow and bare patches on the trails.  Follow up continues on cases.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes, forest roads, and public access sites. Fishing remains poor and no snowmobile activity observed.


CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers this past week.  There was very little snowmobiling and fishing continues to be slow.  CO Velsvaag took several calls on licensing and registration of snowmobiles.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked anglers and ATV’s.  Enforcement action was taken on a number of ATV violations.


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) monitored ice shelter removal from Virginia area lakes. Only a few shelters remain and for the most part litter from shelter owners have been kept to a minimum. Area lakes have been producing crappies in good numbers to the point where CO Frericks has been seeing the same anglers numerous times. Not surprisingly the once hot crappie bite has all but stopped. With the new license year, most anglers have remembered to purchase their new angling license. Other enforcement action taken revolved around unregistered ATVs.   



CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked some anglers out fishing over the weekend and most reported very slow fishing.  A road killed deer and fisher were taken care of.  Time was spent working some forestry related issues.

District 6 - Two Harbors area CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports he spent several days patrolling by foot inside the BWCAW. The weather varied greatly from subzero at the beginning of the trip to over 40 degrees at the end. The groups checked were not having great angling success, but were glad for the quick warm up. Many of the portages had very little snow and were easy to cross on foot but made hauling a sled nearly impossible.


CO Marty Stage (Ely 2) reports conditions are still unfavorable for travel by snowmobile and it just might be over unless we get some fresh snow that stays.  We haven’t lost any lake ice, but some creeks and rivers have begun to open up, so be careful.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on ongoing cases and checked some anglers having limited success.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes where ice conditions vary greatly from 24 inches to none where there is moving water.  Also investigated a waters complaint and processed evidence from closed cases.



CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked fishing enforcement and he answered miscellaneous wildlife calls. Snow is almost gone completely from the lakes and is dropping in the woods. Anglers are reminded to purchase their new angling licenses.  No violations were encountered. 


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, attended K9 training, met with the county attorney on upcoming court cases, and assisted the county with locating a suspect that fled into the woods. Angler success was good this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, registration issues on ATV, and fail to remove fish house from a public access.


CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) attended the annual ICC Career Fair Day at the college along with several other law enforcement agencies from the area.  She checked angling activity as well as a complaint regarding trout fishing.


CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles, and state trails.  He also handled a trapping complaint and taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.


CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) worked angling, snowmobile, and ATV enforcement. Anglers are reminded to purchase their 2017 angling license before heading out on the ice.  CO’s Kittelson and Van Asch worked the 2017 Crane Lake Challenge snowmobile event.  The event had decent attendance despite the snow conditions.  Enforcement action was taken for taking fish without a license, no angling license in possession, and operating a snowmobile with passengers under 18 without a helmet.

District 8 - Duluth area CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time during the week conducting follow up on a case where two small bear cubs were illegally shot.  Charges in the case are pending.  Time was also spent monitoring ATV and fishing activity.  Most ice houses have been removed from area lakes and ice conditions continue to deteriorate with the warm temps.  A call of a bobcat being dumped off an area bridge was also investigated.


CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) checked ice angling activity, monitored ice house removals for litter violations, and checked shore anglers.  The officer assisted with an illegal taking of bear cubs out of season investigation.  ATV complaints were investigated and a wolf depredation complaint was investigated. 


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked winter fishing enforcement along the North Shore.  Several calls were answered and returned.  Complaints were investigated involving possible trespass.  Area lakes were checked for ice shelter removal and garbage left on ice.  Continued work on a trapping investigation was also completed during the week. 



CO Scott Staples (Carlton) continued K9 training in the metro area. K9 assistance was given to a Sheriff’s Office in searching for evidence in a domestic situation.  First bear complaint of the year was received. The bear sounded like it was just waking up from hibernation with a face full of porcupine quills and was hungry. There is a fair amount of fishing activity to report in the area. Some enforcement action was taken for miscellaneous recreational vehicle violations. Compliance with fish house removal looks to be good this year other than the fact that a house was left on an area public access. It is unlawful to store equipment on a public access. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers on area lakes north of Duluth, the crappie fishing has been fair with some larger fish being caught. Officer Olson responded to several injured deer calls within the City of Duluth. North shore anglers are still catching Coho salmon on the Duluth end in the mornings. Calls received reporting potential abandoned fishing shelters on area lakes as well.


CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked boaters on Lake Superior, with some finding success with Coho salmon.  Snowmobile trails were checked, and a solid base remains in some spots not too torn up by spinning tracks or sunshine.  Enforcement action taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


Lake Superior Unit – vacant.


District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports people are urged to use caution when venturing out onto ice as conditions can change daily. Ice shelter removal is encouraged before the deadline of March 31st on border waters as the conditions will change in the next few weeks.  Ice fishing enforcement on Rainy Lake continues with tip-up fishing for northern pike picking up.  Assistance was given to Int’l Falls PD with an uncooperative individual at local hospital ER.


CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) spent time following up on information received from a commercial taxidermy check. Access points to the Rainy River have refroze limiting fishing activity. Ice conditions in the area have become questionable making travel on lake surfaces risky. Enforcement activity included shelter identification and licensing.


CO Colleen Adam (Ray) checked area fishing spots finding very little activity and minimal success.  The ice roads within Voyager National Park have been barricaded.  Snowmobiling activity is limited to short treks on the lakes.  With the close of the winter season encroaching and gearing up for spring cleanup, reminder open burning of brush or unpainted/untreated wood may require a burning permit if there isn’t 3” of continuous snow cover.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and forest roads over the week.  Temps below zero limited outdoor activities.  Fishing remains poor. Snowmobiling appears over.  Public access sites were checked.


CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers this past week and fishing has been slow.  Ice conditions improved with the cold weather, but poor ice was still observed in several locations. CO Velsvaag also took several calls on license dates for angling and proposed slot changes. 


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time noting the few remaining ice shelters on Virginia area lakes and checked anglers. The crappie bite has been active but few anglers have been out possibly because of the colder temps and high winds that were prevalent earlier in the week. CO Frericks disposed of some litter that was found on an area lake. Some fine person who possibly identifies as a sportsman took the liberty of disposing of a clothes dryer and a barrel of garbage. CO Frericks also appeared in court to testify on a trespass case from last deer season.

District 6 - Two Harbors area CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports cold and strong winds dominated the week. Snow conditions are still poor but holding in spite of heavy rain very early in the week. Angling pressure was extremely low and it was difficult to find anyone fishing to get a report. Snowmobile trails are still mostly impassable and no trail activity was found.


CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) checked anglers and ice houses as well as patrolling snowmobile trails.  The rain and melt off followed by cold temperatures and no new snow have resulted in little snow being left on lakes and icy conditions left on sled trails. Several riders were temporarily stranded along the trails as they waited for machines to cool down enough to ride. The officer also answered questions on injured deer, fish houses, and moose.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers in and out of the BWCA throughout the week. The ice conditions are still conducive to truck travel in most areas without current.  Time was spent checking the Trout Portage water skips.  Enforcement action included angling without a license, unregistered ATV, fail to transfer ATV ownership, fail to display snowmobile registration, and park in closed area.


CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity this week.  Some snowmobiles were still in the area, but trails are all but gone.  CO Schottenbauer also assisted with some stranded motorists northeast of Isabella on an unplowed forest road.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time checking trout and pan fish anglers. Fishing was slow with only a few fish seen on the ice. Very few sleds are out on the trails. Questions were answered about bear hunting and angling in streams along the North shore. 


CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling activity and monitored ice shelter removal from area lakes before the upcoming removal deadline. Anglers are reminded to remove all blocking and other debris when they take their shelter off the ice for the season.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, worked ongoing cases, documented fish houses that will be difficult to remove by deadline, and assisted wildlife staff with a sick moose.


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, continued investigation for an ongoing deer case, assisted with training for the new Handler/K9 teams and attended the Region 12 detection trials. Ice conditions vary on area lakes, so please use caution! Enforcement action was taken for registration issues and no license in possession.


CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked area lakes for activity this past week.  She also followed-up on deer registration issues from this past deer season.  She took a complaint of an injured deer.  She also assisted the local Sheriff’s Department with an accident close to town.


CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers, and ATV’s.  He also handled wildlife complaints and prepped for upcoming firearms safety classes during the week.


CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) reports checking anglers and monitoring ATV activity throughout the Hill City and surrounding areas.  Pan fishermen are having moderate success at best.  Fish house removal was worked and remaining houses were documented.  Time was also spent fielding a complaint involving dogs chasing deer and completing follow up interviews for an ongoing investigation.  Enforcement action was taken for storing/abandon fish house at a public access and taking fish without a license.

District 8 - Duluth area CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time monitoring ATV and trapping activity in the station.  Follow up was conducted on a big game case and contact was made with the county attorney’s office regarding pending charges.  Assistance was provided to the Sheriff’s office with a call of a possible vehicle through the ice in the Duluth Harbor.  A weekend patrol resulted in a gross misdemeanor arrest for an ATV operator who was found to be twice the legal limit.  A ride along opportunity was also provided to an area college student. 


CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked area lakes and rivers for ice anglers.  Ice conditions are still in fair shape but anglers have not been experiencing much luck.  Nuisance and injured animal complaints were handled involving a bear and an eagle.  ATV complaints are coming in and a reminder that snowmobile trails are not open to ATV’s, even with lack of snow.


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued working on a trapping investigation.  A snowmobile trespass complaint was completed and follow-up on a waters complaint continues.  A meeting for the Duluth city deer hunt was attended.  Officer Duncan also checked area lakes for ice houses and possible litter violations.  Several fishermen were checked along Lake Superior.  Officer Duncan also had two college students ride with him for a day. 


CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes and patrolled in the Fond du Lac state forest.  Enforcement contacts for OHV operation and equipment were encountered.  Ice anglers were encountered, some with limits of pan fish being observed.  Ice conditions varied greatly from lake to lake.  Areas of open water were observed due to currents near inlets which some anglers reported surprised them.  CO Humphrey also assisted with a work detail in the Tower/Ely area.


CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with K9 training and also assisted with judging a detector dog trial in Winona. Houses appear to be off area lakes in time. One house was left on the access of an area lake with no information on it. An investigation is under way to try to determine who the house belongs to. With most of the snow gone and ice melting on the lakes, time was spent getting equipment ready for the change in seasons.

Lake Superior Marine Unit CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked inland lakes north of Duluth and along the Northshore for Kamloop anglers. Island Lake has produced some catches of crappies during the past week, primarily on the west side. Ice conditions are starting to worsen in certain areas with a current present. Snowmobile trails are in rough shape out of Duluth. Officer Olson noted car killed skunks starting to show up, perhaps spring is closer than thought.


CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers and met with Fisheries personnel about angling items.  Complaints of ATVs on snowmobile trails were received, and a few diehard snowmobiles were checked trying to extend their season.  Enforcement action was taken for angling violations during the week.


Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

Related Topics: FISHING
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