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MN DNR Weekly Report

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports a busy weekend of sturgeon fishing on the Rainy River. The harvest season opened April 24. Most people were catching fish but few were within the slot limit. Annual defensive tactics and firearms qualification training was attended. Enforcement action was taken for sturgeon fishing violations. People are reminded again to use extreme caution when burning and to follow permit guidelines.

CO John Slatinski (Ray) monitored sturgeon fishing activity on the Rainy River. After the Littlefork and Big Fork rivers let out, success slowed in traditional areas and led anglers to search different locations. Slatinski checked a trail use area where there was concern over rutting due to the spring thaw conditions. The week was rounded out with equipment maintenance and repairs along with completing annual training.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and forest roads. Training was attended and equipment work completed.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) took part in firearms and defensive tactics training in Hibbing. He also took a couple of bear complaints. The landowners were advised to remove any attractants. The bears have not returned. Hopkins also assisted the Breitung Police Department with a suspicious individual.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and spring beaver trappers, along with ATV and OHM enforcement. He assisted CO Van Asch with the issuance of a Wetlands Conservation Act cease and desist order and state park enforcement, including dealing with a recurring problem visitor issue. Enforcement action was taken on various ATV and OHM violations and OHV and railroad trespass.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) attended spring firearms qualification and spoke at a firearms safety class in Gilbert. Angling activity has picked up, with most anglers seen on area rivers and lake inlets and outlets. All lakes in the Virginia area still have ice on them but the ice is getting darker by the day and many people expect they will be ice-free by the time the opener arrives. ATV activity remains high and ATV operators continue to be issued citations for operating on snowmobile trails.    

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked ice anglers early in the week. They stated fishing was slow and, based on ice conditions, they were hanging it up for the season. A blowout of a mine pit was investigated that caused numerous problems like a broken sewer pipe, broken water line, dammed up the Embarrass river and caused lots of debris floating in the lake. Spring beaver trapping was monitored and an accidental caught Otter taken care of.

International Falls #2 – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling activity in the Ely area has nearly completely stopped as many small lakes have begun to become very dangerous. Sucker spearing activity for the first time on the opener was non-existent and many of the popular spots have just recently become open. ATV activity was high over the weekend and most groups reported fair trail conditions.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) got called out to a wildland fire in West Duluth, attended firearms training and checked remote areas. Lakes are still frozen tight to shore.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) assisted Border Patrol with a detail off the Gunflint Trail. She completed and assisted with annual spring training and firearms qualifications at Camp Ripley and in Hibbing. Manning also checked anglers along Lake Superior and its tributaries and checked state park day-use areas.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) attended firearms training and worked ATV enforcement, as well as storing and readying seasonal equipment. A few more ducks arriving in the area were noted, but there are very few grouse out. As a reminder to anglers, the new pike zones don’t affect lakes with current special regulations (Birch and Basswood, for example). Enforcement action taken for litter.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) found a touch of spring this week as river activity finally started to get on its way on Superior tributaries. ATV activity has started to pick up in the area as well. Officer training was attended in Hibbing this week.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers and ATV riders and assisted the county. The officer instructed during the firearms qualifications in Hibbing and testified in court. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked stream trout angling activity along the North Shore. Streams are finally ice-free and a few fish are showing up. Murray attended division training during the week and prepared watercraft for the upcoming season. Enforcement action was taken for burning violations.

Ely #2 – vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled for illegal ATV operation and monitored fish run activity. He worked ongoing cases and prepped boats and other equipment for the season.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV, fishing and small game enforcement. He also worked fire enforcement and answered miscellaneous calls about wildlife. He was also called to a deer-through-the-ice situation. Deer had been crossing at this particular area all winter to get to feeders. Multiple deer had been hit by cars and on Saturday one of the two deer that broke through did not make it out of the water alive. Violations included burning without a burning permit and obstruct the duties of firefighters. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) monitored OHV activity, attended training and investigated wildfires this past week. Ice is starting to pull away from the shorelines of area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and careless fires.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV activity with local officers and the CO pilot. Enforcement action was taken over the week for operating an ATV without valid registration, allowing illegal operation by a juvenile and a person under the age of 18 riding an ATV without a helmet. Sutherland also performed division firearms training this past week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, ATV, wetlands, and fire enforcement. He responded to and investigated multiple grass fires. One claimed multiple structures and vehicles before firefighters could subdue the flames. Van Asch spoke at firearms and ATV safety classes, attended division training, and investigated a wetlands violation. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, angling, and fire violations.  

Hill City – vacant.

NE ATV Officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week working anglers along the North Shore. ATV complaints were investigated and problem areas were patrolled. Nuisance animal complaints were handled and time was spent prepping summer equipment. Schmidt assisted with the West Duluth and United Northern Sportsmen firearms safety classes.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the week working the North Shore of Lake Superior tributaries. The rivers opened this week and by midweek they were fishable. Many people were out fishing the rivers. ATV enforcement was worked and calls related to illegal burning were investigated. Other activities during the week included firearms training, equipment maintenance and a youth firearms safety class.  

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling and OHV enforcement and fielded calls about nuisance animals throughout the week. Patrols were conducted in area state parks and the Fond du Lac State Forest, where temporary road and trail closures continue to be in effect. Humphrey assisted and/or gave talks at multiple youth firearms and ATV safety classes within the area. Multiple TIP calls were received and investigated on the unlawful taking of fish. Wildfire calls were also investigated. Turkey season is in full swing with mixed results being reported by hunters. Humphrey attended annual spring in-service training with other officers during the week.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with an ATV safety class in Moose Lake and also worked ATV activity in the area. Enforcement action was taken for registration and other moving violations. Reports of several anglers taking trout from Hanging Horn Lake were investigated. The trout were recently stocked in the lake and very easy to catch. But since it was out of season, citations were issued for the violation. There are still reports of others who were involved with this. If you have information, call Turn in Poachers. If an arrest is made, the caller will receive a reward. The spring fire season has started in the area. If you plan on burning, make sure to check with your local Forestry office for any possible restrictions. Enforcement action was taken on two separate fires in which landowners did not obtain burning permits. Extra patrols were conducted in area state parks.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended firearms training in Hibbing. Olson also attended a firearms safety training field day at the United Northern Sportsmen facility north of Duluth. He reports area lakes are still locked up tight with ice cover, but the rivers along the North Shore are flowing. Olson said goodbye to retired Conservation Officer Marty Stage, who was stationed in Ely. Stage was a dedicated and hardworking field officer with strong woodsmanship skills and tenacity. He will be missed.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers along the shore and in rivers. The St. Louis River channel is mostly open, but back bays remain ice covered. Steelhead anglers are finding fishing moving into the rivers as temperatures climb. Multiple fires were responded to as conditions quickly became dry. Enforcement action was taken for angling and traffic violations.