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MN DNR Weekly Report for Jan. 22, 2019

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports frigid temperatures have put a damper on most outdoor activities throughout the area. However, a few people ventured out to attempt ice fishing on Rainy Lake. Success was very limited. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and extra lines.

CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) was busy working angling and snowmobile enforcement. Earlier in the week, Zavodnik responded to a call assisting the local police department involving a snowmobile striking a pickup truck and then fleeing the scene. He also spent time working with fellow COs for Hockey Day Minnesota. While doing a regulatory check on a few ice houses, it was apparent that marijuana had been smoked. When confronted about it, each party was honest, quickly handing over the drug paraphernalia and raw marijuana that they had. Other violations encountered included possession of alcohol by a person under the age 21, unattended fishing lines, fishing without a license, and no license in possession.

CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports angling and snowmobiling were once again prevalent in the area. Fishing success has slowed considerably with the recent weather extremes, but some that were willing to endure the cold were rewarded with some nice catches. Angling license and snowmobile registration issues continue to be addressed. Other violations included operating a snowmobile without snowmobile safety certification and not transferring recreational vehicle ownership. The remainder of the week was spent on repair and maintenance of equipment.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) worked snowmobile and angling activities. Temps in excess of 30-below zero kept activities light administrative and equipment work was completed.

CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity. The recent cold weather improved ice conditions. Anglers reported limited success this week on Lake Vermilion. Area snowmobile trails have seen a lot of traffic and need new snow. Broughten also assisted with a snowmobile crash with injuries.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent much of the week working snowmobilers. The cold weather slowed activity some, but there were a number of people out braving the elements. Enforcement action was taken on registration and exhaust violations.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked primarily trout anglers and snowmobiles. Frigid temperatures towards the end of the week kept outdoor enthusiasts to a minimum. A coyote running loose with a snare around its neck and a fox that showed no fear of humans were handled. Enforcement action was taken on fish house and snowmobile violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) checked anglers on Virginia area lakes. A few crappies are being caught but activity remains slow. Ice conditions have improved. One angler was cited for angling without a license. While following up on a trapping violation, Frericks executed a search warrant on a trail camera that was found monitoring the area where the traps were found. Due to the information gathered and interviews conducted, several citations were issued.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked area snowmobile trails and found them to be in decent shape. Ice fishing has gotten easier with the slush on area lakes freezing up. Fredin took a call of a wolf with a leghold trap seen running around Hibbing.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports extremely cold weather deterred some snowmobile activity for the annual Ely-Babbitt-Tower snowmobile fun run. Large groups of sleds were still seen and reports were that the recent dips near negative 40 in the area helped with the slush that had become severe on some lakes. Trail conditions are fair but many of them have become packed from the recent heavy traffic and lack of fresh snow.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout and walleye anglers this past week. Fishing was very slow but slush conditions have greatly improved. With the frigid temperatures, fewer snowmobilers were out but trail conditions are good. Velsvaag received several calls on injured animals and trapping questions.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports lots of snowmobilers but very few anglers out in the frigid cold. Anglers and snowmobilers were checked.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked sledders; trails have held up well with the extreme cold conditions. Manning spoke with WTIP radio about snowmobile trail etiquette and safety for Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week. She also checked anglers and ice fishing shelters as well as ski passes. Questions about coyote-hunting tournaments outside Cook County and use of tracked ATVs on designated snowmobile trails were also addressed.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) primarily worked on a background investigation over the course of the week. Time was also spent patrolling snowmobile trails and station lakes. Activity was slow due to extreme cold except for a short period for Saturday’s snowmobile club benefit Fun Run. Clubs have been doing a good job grooming the trails but new snow would certainly aid a thinning base. Spotty moose sign and a very large amount of wolf sign was observed.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Time spent on a public lands squatting issue.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. The trails were very busy with snowmobilers enjoying all the snow. He saw some nice trout in the bag on area lakes. Enforcement was taken for snowmobile and angling violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and fishing activity this week. Area trails were in good shape and trail use was high. Riders are reminded to stay on trails to avoid trespass issues with landowners. Slush remains a problem on area lakes but has begun to freeze with recent subzero temperatures.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked anglers. He processed incidentally caught furbearers and performed equipment maintenance.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity and assisted the county with an arrest warrant. The area snowmobile trails are in good condition. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and arrest for outstanding warrants.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) worked people out spearing and angling through the ice. She also spent time with snowmobile trail enforcement. Grell completed a couple of investigations from the deer season and took various enforcement actions.  

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and spearing activity with the January slump in full swing. Fish have seemed to be dormant with the cold temperatures, but some sportsmen and women are still out and about. Enforcement action was taken for possessing a found deer without a permit and for operating an unregistered snowmobile

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working snowmobile, ATV, and angling activities throughout the surrounding areas. Anglers contacted reported slow success. Follow-up investigation was also completed for a pending case. Enforcement action for the week included ATV violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continues to monitor ice fishing and snowmobiling activity in the area, both of which have slowed dramatically due to the cold weather. Some anglers still found success with sunfish in shallower water. Follow up from the firearms deer season was completed and assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies throughout the week.

NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) responded to a call about animal carcasses being dumped next to Highway 23. Multiple small game animals and various protected birds were among the animals dumped just outside the Fond du Lac neighborhood of Duluth. If anyone has any information about where these animals came from or who dumped them, Willis would appreciate a call or email.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked winter fishing on area lakes. Many snowmobiles were out during the week enjoying the excellent trails in the Duluth area. Duncan followed up on TIP calls and participated in a snowmobile safety class.  

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) patrolled local snowmobile trails and area lakes during the week. Calls/complaints about snowmobile trespass and speeding were received and investigated. Humphrey followed up on a complaint that resulted in big game violations for failing to register deer, validate the licenses and unlawful transportation. Humphrey assisted CO Willis with a snowmobile detail resulting in several registration violations. Area trails were marginal and several lakes had slush making travel difficult. An angler was cited for fishing without a license after producing a passport and stating he didn’t have an angling license.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent extra time patrolling area state parks after receiving information that people are walking dogs on ski trails and not having dogs on a leash. Enforcement action was taken for ski pass violations. Snowmobile trails in the area are in fair shape. Time was spent patrolling complaint areas and assistance was given on a work detail on Mille Lacs Lake. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, registration and other license violations. A litter violation was worked where an old shell of a snowmobile was dumped along a railroad grade. The registration is still on the snowmobile and the registered owner does not return phone calls. Other means of contacting this person are in the works.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked snowmobile and ice fishing around the Duluth area; colder temps have firmed up much of the slush on area lakes. Marine Unit items were also tended to during the week along with a car-injured deer in Lakewood Township.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) check snowmobilers and ice anglers on a frigid cold week along the North Shore. Bad slush conditions continue on inland lakes and harbors on Lake Superior are just starting to freeze up. High levels of snowmobile traffic were worked, with enforcement action taken for trespass, modified exhaust, registration, and careless operation.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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