MN DNR Weekly Report for May 11, 2020

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the sturgeon keep season on the Rainy River came to a close. The fishing opener was also busy. Enforcement action for the week included boat and water safety violations, no-angling-license violations, and unlawful transport of fish.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports many anglers continue to focus on sturgeon on the Rainy River and now those targeting walleyes have joined them. Even with uncooperative weather, it was an impressive start to the season both in number of anglers and the catch rate. A trespass incident was worked involving beaver activity on the property of one landowner affecting the property of the neighbor. State parks and campgrounds were checked. A wide variety of violations were observed and enforcement actions taken.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and public access sites over the week. Area forest roads and ATV activity was monitored. Watercraft maintenance was completed. Fishing success was poor overall.


CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports a busy opening fishing weekend on Lake Vermilion. Angler success varied throughout the day. Many reported a slow bite, possibly due to cooler water. Common violations found throughout the weekend included no license in possession and failing to have a Type IV throwable device on board watercraft. A few anglers checked throughout the weekend were found with illegal-length walleyes in their possession. The anglers fully confessed that they should have paid more attention when measuring the fish before they kept them.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent about four days prior to the fishing opener working in the BWCA, and worked the fishing opener weekend in the Hibbing station. Overall fishing participation during the fishing opener seemed to be lower than normal with success down as well. Fishing license, extra and unattended lines, along with boat registration violations were the most frequent encountered. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no license in possession, unattended line, angling with extra lines, and a number of boating violations.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and ATV activity. Fewer anglers were observed during the 2020 fishing opener. Anglers who braved the cold and windy weather found limited success. Broughten also assisted with a wildfire investigation.

Virginia – vacant.


International Falls #2 – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the walleye opener patrolling areas of the BWCA and lakes near Ely. Angling success was overall poor, which was made worse by cold weather conditions. Violations included angling without a license in possession, operating an unregistered ATV, and taking trout without a stamp in possession.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers over opening weekend. Fishing was slow overall but several locations were very good. Velsvaag also dealt with early fishing, illegal burning during the fire restrictions and watercraft-registration problems.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers during the cold and snowy opener. A few brave anglers still ventured out to their favorite fishing hole. Enforcement action was taken for angling in a closed area, as well as PFD and ATV violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) responded to a fire call at Judge CR Magney State Park. An accidental visitor-started fire was discovered and extinguished before it could really take off and do major damage. Manning also responded to a call about an unwanted gull looking for a new nesting location near someone’s front door. Opening weekend of fishing saw a good number of anglers, particularly along Lake Superior and lakes not too far inland. Many lakes farther inland in the Hovland area still had ice on them even after the nice weather on Saturday.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy opening weekend of the walleye season. Fishing was relatively slow, but some people found cooperative fish. Enforcement action included fishing with an extra line, fishing without a license, no trout stamp, live minnows on a designated trout lake, taking fish in a closed season, expired boat registration, no PFDs, no navigational lights after sunset, burning garbage, and no state park vehicle permit.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the fishing opener this past week. Time was spent reminding boaters of safety equipment and AIS rules as well.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports that many anglers braved the bone-chilling cold to chase fish during the weekend fishing opener. Every angler Hill checked went home with fish for dinner. Many lakes in the Tofte station produced limits of walleyes and brook trout. Very few violations were encountered with anglers and recreational canoeists doing their homework before hitting the water. An ATV helmet violation was addressed with a parent being coached on helmet requirements for his young children. A call was handled between multiple property owners and the legalities behind discharging a firearm on one’s own private property.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the fishing opener and ATV activity. Some nice fish were seen on the opener for those willing to brave the colder weather. Most anglers checked were just happy to be out enjoying the outdoors and any fish caught were a bonus. Fire danger remains high in the area and Murray responded to multiple fires that spread very fast with the dry conditions.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked small-game, ATV and AIS, and patrolled state parks. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, worked TIP calls, and responded to nuisance-animal complaints. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted the local police department in locating spent shell casings in an ongoing criminal investigation. The cold and wind made angler success low this past week. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of perch, possessing illegal-length walleyes, angling with extra lines and license issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy week of angling activity. Even with the cooler weather over the opener, many anglers got out onto area lakes and rivers. Local smaller lakes and rivers were utilized this year more than ever. Sutherland performed a media question-and-answer session in the days prior to the opener with other law enforcement officials. Enforcement action was taken over the past week for multiple individuals angling without a license. Action was also taken for possession of largemouth bass out of season.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, boating, AIS, and ATV enforcement. The 2020 fishing opener yielded colder weather, but that didn’t stop anglers from heading out on the water. Anglers’ overall success varied. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines, possession of an overlimit of perch, illegal-length walleye, no angling license in possession, and several boating violations.


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored a busy fishing opener. Overall success was good and most people checked seemed to be in good spirits. The most common violation observed was having recently expired boat registration. Reminder: you can renew your registration online and don’t have to physically go to the DMV to do it.

Northome – vacant.

NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) had a busy opening weekend of angling with many boats out despite the cold. One boat was found with two anglers fishing from it with 2008 registration displayed, a leak in the boat, and no PFDs on board at all. A citation was issued in this case. Enforcement action was also taken for operating an OHM in the right of way, operating an unregistered ATV, failure to remove a boat drain plug while transporting, no PFDs on board, and failure to display registration as required.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) focused on angling and boating enforcement on a busy opening weekend. Anglers braved the weather and crowded landings for opener along the St. Louis River. Complaints of angling in closed areas were handled, along with licensing issues. Time was spent in Jay Cooke State Park and handling ATV-related complaints. Calls for assistance with fires were handled and numerous nuisance-animal calls were taken. Please remove your bird/bear feeders.


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked nights checking on fish-run activity along the North Shore. ATV activity picked during the week and steelhead fishing on area tributaries continues to be busy. Duncan believes the traditional fishing opener on Saturday was probably the busiest he has seen over his career. Other activities included wolf-depredation investigations and following up on illegal-burning related issues.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked fishing opener on area lakes and rivers. OHV enforcement patrols were also conducted throughout the week. Humphrey spent time working in area state parks, wildlife management areas, and at public water accesses. Contacts were made for boating equipment, registration, and angling license violations.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent the fishing opener patrolling area rivers and trout streams. Fishing success was slow in the area with very few violations found. Enforcements contacts were made for angling in a closed area and watercraft-registration violations. Extra patrol time was also spent in area state parks. Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office in searching for suspects who broke into several vehicles in the Fond du Lac State Forest near Jay Cooke State Park. Ongoing dog training continues with new dogs and K9 Schody.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked a busy opening weekend with fellow district officers on the St. Louis River, along with a team of Wisconsin wardens working the river as well. The teams included officers in watercraft and at landings. The weather was cool, but everyone was in good spirits and enjoying the fishing opener. Lake Superior tributaries were also worked, where he checked trout anglers and remaining smelters in the rivers at night. Fire dangers continue to be a concern in area counties.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on opening weekend of the walleye season. A lot of boats were observed on the St. Louis River, with good catches of walleyes and pike. State parks were checked with lots of users and high rates of violations pertaining to the purchase of a park pass. ATVs were encountered doing the usual illegal things in the usual places. Enforcement action taken for angling and ATV violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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