MN DNR Weekly Report for May 14, 2018
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports Rainy Lake was ice-free on opening Saturday evening, however most people found fishing slow. The Rainy River was similar as waters were muddy from a recent rain event. The sturgeon catch season closed with people having some success at the end. Enforcement action for the week included license and boat registration violations.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) monitored the final days of the spring sturgeon season. Although many anglers stated the catch rate seemed to be down, most boats reported catching several per day. Slatinski picked up and processed incidentally trapped animals and worked the fishing opener in the Kabetogama area. Most boats reported catching at least a few fish with many inside the protected slot length. The weather on Saturday had anglers commenting it was one of the nicest openers in recent memory.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports area lakes and rivers were monitored for boating and angling activity. Minnow trapping activities were monitored with the seizure of trap for no identification. ATV activity was plentiful prior to the bugs and wood ticks appearing. ATV registration violations were addressed. Assistance was provided to the sheriff’s office regarding a domestic disturbance. Trapping activities continued to be monitored with a violation of failing to check traps and an illegal Conibear set addressed. Assistance was provided to the St. Louis County Land Department regarding a gate tampering issue. DNR Forestry was assisted in the field. A litter complaint was looked into regarding a large number of game fish carcasses dumped adjacent to a county road.
CO John Velsvaag (Cook) received a call of a dead timber wolf and started an investigation. He also checked anglers during the opener, primarily on Lake Vermilion, and received several phone calls about the new pike regulations and questions about ATVs.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports after a cold midnight opener, the weekend turned very nice. Lake Vermilion was ice-free but those who ventured into the BWCA had to break ice. Fishing was sporadic with some people having poor luck, while others were getting nice limits. Enforcement action was taken on a number of incidents, including minnow dealer violations, taking fish in a closed season, drain plugs, ATV operation on a state highway, boat registration violations, and boating while intoxicated.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, ATVs, boaters, AIS and state park enforcement. He also taught wildlife identification to the CO Academy at Camp Ripley. Two wildfires were investigated. Bozovsky reminds people: Before you strike that match consider that not only can you be cited, but you can also be held responsible for fire suppression costs, which can add up to thousands of dollars. Smaller numbers of anglers than normal were seen out on area lakes for the fishing opener. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no license in possession, illegal-length fish, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, no PFDs, no fire extinguisher, unregistered ATV, littering and a PWC violation.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) worked on completing investigations on several cases and attended training at Camp Ripley. Two accidental otter catches were turned over to Frericks. These otters will be donated to the MTA for their tanned fur project. Frericks spent a majority of time checking anglers over the opening weekend. Several anglers were seen taking advantage of the new northern pike regulations. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display current registration on a watercraft, insufficient PFDs and no angling license in possession.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked area lakes throughout the fishing opening weekend. A number of anglers were found to be fishing without a valid license. Some believed their 2017 license was still valid, while others just forget to buy one. Other violations of insufficient PFDs and expired boat registration were found. Fishing for most was slow but some did well on walleyes and crappies.
International Falls #2 – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports fishing opener success was typical – a mixed bag between lakes where a good bite was observed, and colder lakes where very little or no angler success was seen. Most lakes were completely ice-free by opening morning with only a few still having some ice. Violations included angling without a license in possession, operating an unregistered watercraft, and failure to display current watercraft registration.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) did a canoe patrol in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, checked anglers on lakes at the end of the Gunflint Trail, and did boating safety checks.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked area lakes over the opening weekend of the fishing season. Several folks forgot their licenses and more than a few forgot throwable devices for their boats. Steelhead are still in the tributaries and anglers were also checked along the shore. Manning helped in the classroom for a firearms safety class and handled an unpermitted brush pile burn. The fellow burning brush said he didn’t contact Forestry or seek a permit because a family member told him that he didn’t need a permit for his fire. Perhaps they can split the cost of the citation issued.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy fishing opener. Time was spent before the opener and on the opener in the BWCA with a high violation rate encountered, including one group with numerous watercraft, drug, and can/glass violations. The weather was comfortable while fishing success was hit and miss, and enforcement action was taken for possession of a northern pike within the protected slot, unlicensed canoes, marijuana possession, no PFDs, cans/glass in the BWCA, litter, no navigational lights, and transporting watercraft with the drain plug in place. Time was also spent on a possible waters violation.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Time was spent at an ATV safety class as well.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a busy fishing opener along the North Shore. Most anglers checked had some fish but reported a slow bite overall with water temperatures in the low 50s. Smelt run activities brought many anglers from out of the area to Lake Superior streams to try their dip nets. Most anglers were law-abiding and respectful but some chose to leave litter, use illegal seines, and burn prohibited materials in campfires.
Ely #2 – vacant.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on fishing opener, patrolled for illegal ATV operation on public lands, enforced AIS laws and worked ongoing cases.
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV activity, fishing, small game enforcement, boating, AIS, and state forest campgrounds. Violations included failure to drain water-related equipment, dogs off leash, and no license in possession. He also dealt with various wildlife complaints.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the fishing opener, handled nuisance bear complaints, attended training at Camp Ripley, monitored OHV activity and assisted the local ambulance with medical calls. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted with K9 demos. The area angler success was good. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, angling in a closed area, possessing illegal-length walleyes, insufficient PFDs, and failure to display valid registration on a watercraft.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers this past week with ice leaving all area lakes. Sutherland took enforcement action for angling without a license, angling after angling and hunting privileges were revoked and an illegal minnow trap was seized.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, boating, trapping, AIS, and fire enforcement. The opening fishing weekend brought great weather and a consistent bite for anglers chasing walleyes and northern pike. Van Asch assisted local law enforcement officers with a suspect who fled on foot into a wooded lot. The suspect was located and taken into custody for felony warrants. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length walleyes, taking fish in waters seasonally closed to taking fish, angling without a license, no angling license in possession, failing to display valid boat registration, and trap tampering.
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) attended training with the Enforcement Division’s Honor Guard at Camp Ripley. Opening fishing weekend was largely successful for local anglers. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no license in possession, expired registration, no Type IV PFD, and no required fire extinguisher. Boaters are encouraged to check all required safety equipment prior to venturing out onto the water.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) focused much of the week on angling activity along the shore for Kamloops and steelhead. Rivers were full of anglers during the day and night with smelt running well. Opening weekend of fishing provided great weather but most were disappointed with the lack of cooperation from the fish. Anglers were catching some walleyes but slot fish in the area were tough to come by and measuring of fish caused issues for some. Fire issues were handled along with nuisance animal complaints.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) assisted local agencies with small wildfires in the area, checked several beaver trappers and collected several incidentally taken otters. Night fish run activity continued during the week with many people in local tributaries during the day attempting to catch steelhead and many in at night attempting to net smelt. Opening fishing weekend brought in beautiful weather to the area. Water conditions were colder than usual this time of year, but plenty of fish were still be caught. Law compliance for life jackets was the best I’ve seen in my career for opening weekend.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, OHV, AIS, turkey hunting, and wildfire enforcement throughout the week. Patrols were conducted in area state parks, wildlife management areas, and the Fond du Lac State Forest. Several calls were received including questions on the new northern pike regulations. Humphrey attended training in St. Paul and at Camp Ripley during the week. An investigation and follow up on a big game case from last fall was completed. Humphrey assisted the State Patrol and Pine County with a complaint and arrest of an impaired driver. Fishing opener activity was down over the weekend. Fishing catch reports varied. He encountered violations for watercraft equipment and registration, lending/borrowing licenses, unlawful party hunting, careless OHV operation, and registration issues.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports a busy fishing opener in the area. Not a lot of fish were caught, but there were several anglers out enjoying the weather. Enforcement action was taken for equipment, license and registration violations. One angler felt he needed to report his catch. He caught two deer legs out of an area river. It turns out someone dumped deer parts in the river and left them there. This most likely occurred last fall. This is considered littering and an investigation is underway to try to find the responsible party. A complaint of a wolf pup that was stuck in a window well was received. The pup was able to be removed and left in the area to see if its mother would return. If she doesn’t return, the pup will be brought to a rehabber. Extra patrols were conducted in area state parks. One vehicle was stopped after being in the park after hours. Further checking revealed that the driver had an outstanding warrant. He was arrested and taken to the local jail.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reported a beautiful and sunny opening fishing Saturday. He worked area lakes north of Duluth along with the fish run in North Shore streams. Slot violations were encountered on Fish Lake along with minor license-related issues. The smelt run continues along the North Shore as well. Decent catches of smelt have been seen on some evenings during the week.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on a busy and beautiful opener weekend. Walleyes cooperated well for anglers on the St. Louis River, as well as a few salmon and trout on the big lake. Special regulation areas were worked with violations found for undersized fish and angling in a closed area. Enforcement action taken for angling violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.