District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a very slow week as cold, wind, and rain made outdoor activity very undesirable. Several animal complaints were handled, along with a waters and wetland complaint. He attended to equipment and maintenance needs.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports activities included checking on areas of unauthorized land use/trespass. Fishing activity has been steady with varied success. He monitored transport of watercraft and other water-related equipment for compliance with invasive species regulations, which was good. Slatinski also followed up on ongoing cases and prepared a boat for use at the current Academy.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities, as well as public access sites. Beaver-related problems continue. Rain has diminished fishing and boating activities. Equipment work and administrative tasks are ongoing.
CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers and boaters and spent several hours for several days at the auto dealership due to vehicle problems with his squad. He also assisted with a work detail at the Grand Portage Port of Entry.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) assisted the sheriff’s office with two water searches this week. One was on Lake Vermilion, where a boat that was occupied was reported to have overturned when it was caught in a storm. Hopkins responded onto the lake with numerous rescue agencies, county deputies, and the St. Louis County Rescue Squad. While the search was going on, the storm was still occurring with winds gusting, heavy rain, and numerous lightning strikes all around the searchers. After many hours, with no watercraft located and nobody reported missing, the search was called off. The second search was a result of a kayak washed up on shore with half a paddle and one shoe. It was later determined the kayak had been lost earlier in the week and everyone was fine.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, a state park complaint, and invasive species enforcement. He also gave a presentation to the Hibbing fifth-grade class on the duties of a CO and spent more than two days teaching wildlife identification and wildlife complaints and evaluating scenario performance at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley. Bozovsky assisted the Hibbing Police Department with an uncooperative motorist from a traffic stop and the State Patrol with a suspect who fled in a motor vehicle and on foot but was captured. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no trout stamp and littering.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) investigated a report of small-diameter birch trees cut off of private land. Further investigation found cutting on county and mine property. Fredin responded to a report of a banged-up kayak and sandal washed up on Embarrass Lake. Search and rescue was activated and after a period of time a responsible party came forward to report all is well. The kayak swamped in rapids earlier in the week. All of this could have been avoided if the person reported the swamped kayak and registered it as the law required. That way, rescuers would have known who to contact.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent several days along with other District 6 officers focusing on AIS enforcement in the Grand Marais area. Compliance seemed higher than in past years, but several citations were issued. Violations included failure to drain water-related equipment, failure to remove drain plugs, possessing a fish overlimit, and possessing uncountable fish.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) participated in a border work detail at the Grand Portage Port of Entry with other conservation officers.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked an enforcement saturation detail at the Grand Portage Port of Entry, contacting boaters and anglers travelling to and from Canada. Several folks were prevented from transferring water from Canadian lakes back to their home waters and a few overlimits were caught. Boaters and anglers were also checked on inland lakes and state parks were patrolled by the officer.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports spending most of his patrol time on the water. One individual was arrested for BWI while returning from a motorized Basswood Lake day trip. Other enforcement action included jet ski violations, watercraft registration violations, insufficient PFDs, and wanton waste. Additional time was spent on a shoreline project with potential violations and nuisance beaver complaints.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling and boating activity. Time was spent enforcing game and fish laws as well as AIS rules at the Grand Portage Port of Entry.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a border detail in the Grand Marais station with other district officers. Enforcement action was taken for illegal transportation of fish and other invasive species violations. Murray also investigated an arson fire and wetland violations.
Ely #2 – vacant.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and boaters, patrolled for AIS violations related to watercraft transportation, and worked ongoing cases. He also investigated complaints about litter and tree theft and handled several wildlife complaints/issues. Patten took multiple calls on “abandoned fawns.” If you see a fawn, leave it alone. The doe leaves them for long periods of time until they are big enough to keep up with her.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, responded to AIS complaints, attended K9 training and worked a detail at the Pigeon River Port of Entry. Angler success was very good. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, failure to remove a drain plug, possessing an overlimit of walleyes, transport uncountable fillets and no skin patch.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity over the past week with the walleye bite heating up on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for failing to remove a drain plug while transporting a watercraft on a highway, angling without a license in possession and transporting fish fillets without a skin patch.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, AIS, boating, and ATV enforcement. Area fishing success has slowed down, and anglers had to battle subpar weather conditions over the weekend. The public is reminded to leave newborn wildlife alone as the mother is often close by and will care for it. Enforcement action was taken for overlimit of sunfish, transporting fish without a skin patch, and several AIS violations.
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spoke about boat safety and regulations at a lake association meeting in Alborn and addressed ATV complaints. Boat and water safety issues were also addressed during angling checks on the water. Enforcement action was taken for no PFDs, no type IV PFDs, no license in possession, expired registration, and no fire extinguisher on board a watercraft.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week working anglers and boating activity. Illegal-length fish and life preserver issues were quite common. ATV complaints were handled along with complaints about nuisance animals. Trespassing issues were handled and a waters complaint was investigated
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent a day at Camp Ripley training. He checked several anglers throughout the week on area lakes and at shore-fishing locations. ATV activity was also worked. Duncan also returned calls and investigated complaints. He also assisted local agencies on calls for service.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, OHV, and AIS enforcement throughout the week. Patrols were conducted in the Moose Lake State Park, Sawyer WMA, and the Fond du Lac State Forest. Humphrey investigated litter and minnow trap complaints. He also spoke to the local Kiwanis club about OHV safety and regulations in Moose Lake. Humphrey completed evidence transfers for items to be auctioned at a later date. Various boating and OHV violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on wetland complaints in the area and also put extra effort on aquatic invasive species enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for failing to remove drain plugs from watercraft before transporting and transporting aquatic macrophytes. Assistance was given at a work detail at the Canadian border where numerous contacts were made for fishing, transport and aquatic invasive species violations. K9 Schody assisted with the detail by searching vehicles for hidden game and fish.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked Lake Superior in the Duluth to Two Harbors end. Fish are still being caught on the surface near the McQuade Safe Harbor. A reminder to leave newborn animals alone – they are not abandoned and mom is close by. Inland stream trout anglers were also checked before the bugs are too bad in the woods.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Commercial charter records items were handled and information was given out about the new carbon monoxide detector requirement for boats. Academy items were prepped for watercraft instruction. Constantly changing weather has anglers on their toes but still finding some fish. Enforcement action taken for angling and boating violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked with a concerned citizen who located a baby beaver walking through the parking lot of the local grocery store. Sullivan transported the beaver to new habitat. Sullivan also worked cases involving an overlimit of black crappies and illegal-length largemouth bass. Numerous nuisance bear reports also came in and landowners were given recommendations to assist with avoiding nuisance bears.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd #1) worked an ATV detail with another officer, monitored a large fishing tournament, responded to a call of a sow bear that had been hit on the highway with her three cubs close by, and had many conversations with anglers in violation of the new northern pike rules.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) received bear complaints this week. Preparation was done for upcoming Academy training and patrol was done on area lakes for boating and angling violations. Guida responded to a water-related emergency on the Whitefish Chain.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for fishing and boating activity throughout the week and also investigated TIP calls. He spent time assisting at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, invasive species and ATV activity.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrolling the park for fishing activity and checking for any park violations. He also spent time teaching at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley. Fitzgerald issued a permit for a road kill otter and fielded a complaint of illegal jet ski activity. He also answered a lot of outdoor law-related questions throughout the week and weekend.
Cross Lake – vacant.