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Minnesota DNR report: Angling and boating in high gear

Department of Natural Resources report for the week of May 24, 2021.

District 5 — Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports fishing, boating safety, and invasive species enforcement on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River continue to be the main focuses. A few animal complaints, a public waters issue, and recreational vehicle enforcement were also looked into.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this week monitoring ATV activity and angling activity in the area. Anglers reported fishing success to be pretty good throughout the week. Simonson also spent time this past week monitoring minnow traps and issuing nuisance-beaver permits.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports angling and aquatic invasive species enforcement were the main focuses of the week. Angling reports have been mixed, and those who were finding fish noted success across a wide variety of areas and conditions with no real patterns noted. Follow up was done on public waters cases and a TIP call related to targeting a fish species during a closed season.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports angling and boating activities over the week were checked. ATV activities were monitored. Fishing remains slow. Numerous beaver-related complaints were received. Bears are on the move as reports come in. Numerous phone calls were received and responded to on a variety of topics. Equipment work is ongoing.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time following up on an angler harassment case from the previous week. The suspect admitted to purposely running over another angler’s fishing line with his boat during the altercation. Appropriate enforcement action was taken. Zavodnik also followed up on multiple ATV trespass calls, some of which included tearing up wetlands on the landowner’s property. He wants to remind OHV operators to stay on the designated trails unless given permission to ride on private lands. Numerous nuisance-animal complaints were also handled.


CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Anglers continue to report limited success. Broughten fielded calls regarding trespass and injured animals.

District 6 — Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and boaters this past week. He also checked ATV riders and took multiple calls about problems with the Electronic Licensing System. Velsvaag had several nuisance-animal calls and noted that fishing was slower than expected for this time of year.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked remote trout lakes in the area. Anglers were out enjoying the nice weather and decent fishing. ATV trails were monitored and wildlife-related complaints were handled.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked ATV operators, boaters and anglers this week. Manning provided security assistance on a prescribed fire in the Swamp River WMA that will improve habitat for numerous bird and animal species, including moose. Manning worked with CO Hill, U.S. Forest Service Officer Belmore and volunteer safety instructors to hold a field day for firearms safety class students. Manning and Hill also assisted Cook County sheriff’s deputies with a domestic assault incident.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling, boating, and ATV enforcement throughout the week. Enforcement action included taking an overlimit of walleyes, unmeasurable northern pike on a special regulations lake, transporting fish without skin patches, expired ATV registration, and no non-resident ATV trail pass. A good trout bite was observed on an area lake, but walleye fishing was very spotty.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and boating activity. Time was also spent assisting with an ongoing wetlands violation.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) hit the water and monitored ATV routes throughout the week. Hill spent time in the BWCA and found multiple people in possession of empty beer cans and a glass vodka bottle. Pay attention to the video you watch before you enter the BWCA. All of the laws are gone over. If you forget, just look at the back of your permit. Everything is on there. Fish were hit and miss throughout the station. Some anglers were skunked while other anglers went home with limits. Permits were issued for possessing moose skulls and antlers and a permit was issued for nuisance beavers. Hill assisted Cook County with two domestics over the weekend.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling activity and answered calls of nuisance-beaver and -bear activity. Beavers have been busy trying to save what water they have left during this dry period and sometimes that activity is in conflict with property owners’ plans. Likewise, bears are now out searching for food after the long winter and are drawn to backyard bird feeders and other food sources.


District 7 — Grand Rapids area


District 8 — Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw angling activity continue to be high even during the week. Time was spent patrolling for boat and water safety items throughout the district. Follow-up was conducted on multiple ongoing cases regarding trap tampering and unlawful hunting.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked area lakes and rivers for angling activity. Anglers were enjoying the weather and most were having some success. ATV-related complaints were handled, and boating/PWC complaints have been on the rise with the warm weather. Nuisance-animal issues are in full swing with the young of the year out and about. Schmidt taught at a firearms safety class and also spent time in Jay Cooke State Park.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the week in a boat. Area lakes were worked, checking fishing and boating activity. Many fish were measured on lakes that have a protected slot. Duncan assisted an out-of-state warden. A dumping complaint off a backcountry road is currently being investigated.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked fishing, boating, and OHV enforcement throughout the week. Wildlife and nuisance-animal calls/complaints continued this week. Fawns and other young of the year are showing up. Please give them space and leave them be. A wolf livestock depredation and litter complaint were investigated. Anglers in the area were reporting mixed results during the week. A reminder to boaters and anglers to review the regulations before heading out on the water. Violations for various OHV operation/licensing, angling license, boating/PWC equipment and registration, and possessing bass out of season were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) gave out information on nuisance-bear complaints in the area and continues working on finishing K9 school with a new partner.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent most of the week focusing on AIS and boating safety enforcement on Lake Superior and area lakes north of Duluth. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations and boating safety equipment violations. Nuisance-bear complaints were also followed up on. Just a reminder that bird feeders also make really good bear feeders as well. In most cases, eliminating a food source also eliminates the bear problems.

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