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DNR Report: Fish shelter removal deadline arrives

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of March 20.

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District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports snowmobile activity in the area continues to be busy, with trails and lakes being in great shape. Ice fishing continues on Rainy Lake with a few fish seen in the buckets. There’s been nothing great, but tip-up anglers are catching northern pike. Enforcement action was taken in regards to illegal snowmobile exhaust and registration issues. The fish shelter removal deadline is fast-approaching on border waters.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week monitoring trapping activity, checking anglers, and patrolling area snowmobile trails. Area trails remain good, and the Rainy River is still locked up with ice from Birchdale to Baudette.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobile activity continues to be busy with trails in great shape. Area forest roads and active timber sales continue to be monitored. Equipment work is ongoing. Administrative tasks were completed, along with a report of an upset bald eagle that had to be removed from a car-kill site.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities over the past week. Angling success remains poor. Area forest roads and active timber sales continue to be monitored. Equipment work is ongoing. Administrative tasks were completed.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. Larson spent time checking snowmobile activity, resulting in registration and speed violations. Trail conditions remain stable with fresh snow. Larson has increased patrols targeting modified/illegal exhaust on snowmobiles.

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CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring ice fishing and snowmobile activity. Very few anglers were encountered on area lakes. Snowmobile activity was lower than expected. Snowmobile speed continues to be the most common violation. Looking at weather forecasts, snowmobile trails should be in good condition for the near future. Broughten fielded calls regarding litter, snowmobile registration and injured animals.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. In addition, time was spent maintaining station equipment, completing online training, and following up on open investigations. Anglers are reminded that ice shelters in the northern one-third of the state must be removed by the end of the day on March 20.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked with CO Williams on a birch theft investigation. A search warrant was drafted and executed, and charges are pending on two individuals for timber trespass. Time was spent on snowmobile and angling enforcement. Trails remain in excellent condition with all the recent snow, although fishing has been greatly hampered by it. Additional enforcement action was taken for operating a vehicle on a snowmobile trail and snowmobile speed.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trout-angling activity and fish house removal on area lakes. Murray also investigated snowmobile-trespass complaints and worked on training requirements.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports snowmobile trails remain in excellent condition. Anglers are still catching trout. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with more than one line on a designated trout lake and modified snowmobile exhaust.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports spending time on the North Shore State Trail over the weekend. Activity was high with a few registration violations documented. Please carry a map and GPS while on the trail as it will come in handy for planning fuel stops. Remember, the majority of the snowmobile trails do not have cell phone coverage and if you run out of fuel, it could end poorly. Hill wants to thank anglers for removing their ice shacks prior to the deadline. Yearly training and inventory was worked on.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobile riders this past week. Trail conditions are very good but fishing was slow and difficult with the wind and snow. Velsvaag received several questions about trout regulations and beaver trapping.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) took calls regarding ice access, snowmobile trails and forest day-use area rules. Snowmobile trails remain in good shape and busy, but corners are becoming icy and riders need to slow down and stay to the right. Enforcement action taken for snowmobile-related violations.

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CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) patrolled areas of the BWCA by snowshoe and ski over the weekend, focusing on late winter season trout fishing. Success was good and travel was good in spite of the recent snowstorm and strong winds. Very few anglers were seen, however, and the high winds made it challenging to stay warm.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked anglers and small-game hunters and monitored birch-pole-cutting activity. Snowmobile activity was monitored and trails remain in good condition.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended K-9 school with his K-9 partner, Fennec.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling and snowmobile activities. Ice conditions are great. Sutherland worked birch-pole thefts in the area and also took a report of dogs chasing deer.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity and monitored ice shelter removal from area lakes. Time was also spent on dogs-chasing-deer complaints and snowmobile activity. Holt continued to follow up on open cases.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that cold weather and high winds hampered outdoor activities for most of the week. When the weather allowed, it was fun to see several youth anglers out with their parents finding success catching panfish. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) worked area snowmobile trails this week. Conditions remain very good, especially in areas away from towns. A career fair was attended at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and a firearms safety class was attended in Alborn. Lakes in the south zone were checked for shelter removal and follow up is being done to track down owners of shelters not removed yet.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) focused on snowmobile activity through the week. Trails were in great shape with the fresh snow. Nuisance-animal complaints were handled and a snowmobile-trespass complaint was investigated.

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CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) monitored snowmobile activity and spoke to high school students at the Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College Career Day and College Fair this week. Trails remain in great condition.

CO Mikeena Wehr (Willow River) continued work on special projects.

K268 Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time on snowmobile patrol this week. Anglers were checked. Complaints were taken and are being investigated.

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