MN DNR Weekly Report for March 9, 2015

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports as warmer weather moved into area over weekend so did the snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Emergency Vehicle Operation Training for new CO prep candidates was conduct...

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports as warmer weather moved into area over weekend so did the snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Emergency Vehicle Operation Training for new CO prep candidates was conducted at Camp Ripley. Meetings, dead owl complaint, deer depredation complaint, and complaint of wolf chasing snowmobiles finished off the week’s activities

CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored snowmobile and angling activity throughout the Rainy, Kabetogama, and Namakan Lake areas. Many snowmobilers were observed enjoying the trail systems before the warm weather takes a toll on them. Anglers are having spotty success on surrounding lakes. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring snowmobile activities over the weekend. Angling activities continue to be monitored. A slight increase in snowmobile activity noted due to the nice weather.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports quite a few snowmobilers were in the area over the weekend. The trails deteriorated quickly due to the heavy use and warm temperatures. Very little ice fishing activity was observed.


CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reported that things have slowed down with the close of the walleye season, and most ice shelters are off the lakes. Just a reminder that in the Tower area, permanent ice shelters need to be removed by March 16. Even with the nicer weather, snowmobiling activity was only moderate. The officer investigated a complaint of ravens being shot illegally. Three incidents involving snowmobiles occurred, one going through the ice, one crashing, and one burning up. With warmer weather on the way, it’s a good reminder to stay on trails, and watch channel areas when on waterways.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and snowmobiling activity, continued working a complaint of theft from a state logging sale, and taught a Firearms Safety Class in Hibbing.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) gave several presentations about furbearers in northeastern Minnesota to third graders in Virginia and also spoke at a firearms safety class in Gilbert. Most people took advantage of the warmer weather to remove their ice shelters from area lakes. Only a few remain. Some people left behind litter and parts of their shelters. It’s a good thing CO Frericks already took GPS readings and photos of the shelters on the lakes. Anglers who leave behind litter can expect to receive a citation for litter. Area snowmobile trails are in good shape but are not expected to be for long with a stretch of warm weather in the forecast.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) spent time checking lakes for fishing activity and also checking fish houses for any future litter issues. He also worked snow mobile trails during the Aurora Vintage sled run and follow up was conducted on a wolf trapping carcass inspection.

Ray - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) assisted area officers with trout angling enforcement inside the BWCAW. Warm weather and decent trail conditions brought snowmobiles out in full force in the Ely area, speed and registration compliance was over all very good. Violations included no shelter tag on ice shelter, excessive speed on a snowmobile, and angle without license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobilers and trout fishermen throughout the week. Snow travel conditions are still good, but will be changing if the warm weather keeps up. An angler was found to be possessing and using undocumented ciscoes on a remote BWCAW trout lake. There is no way to know if the ciscoes he was using did or did not have the VHS disease since they were never tested as required by law. The angler felt no responsibility for having potentially infected bait and felt that it was just too inconvenient for him to have the required packaging for the bait.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers in and out of the BWCA and worked a busy weekend of snowmobile enforcement. Trails were good until Sunday as the sun started doing its spring damage. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, too far from tip-up, snowmobile speed, expired snowmobile registration, fail to transfer ownership, loud exhaust, burning prohibited materials, and litter. One group encountered in the BWCA had been walking for 18 hours straight to reach their fishing destination.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) patrolled area snowmobile trails and trout lakes. The trails were busy with the warm weather this past weekend. Fish houses were monitored for litter as the removal date is fast approaching. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Snowmobile activity was high and trails were in pretty good shape but were deteriorating fast with the warm temperatures. Anglers are reminded to pick up all debris when removing their ice shelters for the season. Enforcement action was taken for excessive snowmobile speed, failure to stop at road crossings, and licensing violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, and conducted checks for commercial licenses.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, ATV and snowmobile activity, assisted with firearms training. Fish houses are being monitored for litter and the approaching deadline. He also answered various enforcement related questions. Violations included various drug and traffic violations.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) attended a career fair at Itasca Community College where students from various local high schools got to see what kinds of career opportunities were available to them. She also checked angling and snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for an ATV violation.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity over the past week with many pan fishermen hitting the lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and having a northern pike in possession during the closed season. CO Sutherland also attended the Itasca Community College Career Day and spoke at a Forest Service training session. 


CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobile trails and ATVs. He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for unattended line and operating a snowmobile in excess of the posted speed limit. Wichmann also monitored fish houses on area lakes. Reminder, be aware of the fish house removal date, especially with the warmer weather.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) worked ATVers and snowmobilers this past week. CO Velsvaag also checked trout anglers and received calls on mange and litter around fish houses. Snowmobile trail conditions deteriorated quickly over the past weekend.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports enforcement was centered on snowmobilers, as trail conditions improved immensely. Speeding and registration issues were commonly seen. A large local antique snowmobile run was attended with lots of people enjoying seeing the classics from yesteryear again. A presentation was given to a Firearms Safety class, a great horned owl with a medical issue was captured and brought to a rehabber for evaluation and a person who processed a road killed deer without a permit and then dumped the carcass on city property was interviewed and enforcement action taken.   

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) checked several fishermen on an along the North Shore of Lake Superior. One check resulted in several salmon over the limit. Officer Duncan returned several telephone calls and completed end of the month office work.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling and fish shelter removal on area lakes. CO Humphrey worked OHV and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. Calls on a nuisance bobcat killing chickens and a great horned owl caught in a trap were investigated.  CO Humphrey issued a Wetland Restoration Order and completed Division online training. Angling, ATV and snowmobile violations were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) checked lakes to make sure fish houses were removed by the deadline and also that garbage was picked up on the ice. Compliance was fairly good in the area. Enforcement action was taken for leaving a fish house on a public access. Work was done on some of the station equipment to get ready for the changing season. K9 Schody and one of the other DNR K9’s attended the Safari Club International convention in Bloomington where several questions were answered and information was given on the DNR K9 unit as well as other DNR related issues. Time was also spent completing Division training. One call on an injured owl in the area was referred to a local rehabilitator.


Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on the last of the ice near Lester River and Brighton Beach. Although people are occasionally falling in at cracks in the ice, the spot continues to be popular with anglers making use of the rare opportunity for salmon and lake trout. Snowmobiles were checked along the trails, with the usual mix of irresponsible operation and attitude, and another crash over the weekend required an injured rider to be transported by helicopter to a hospital. Complaints were received of deer stands left in an Aquatic Management Area, and will be checked once the snow has melted.  Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

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