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MN DNR Weekly Report for March 25, 2019

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports warm weather has put a damper on the snowmobiling as the trails are not in the best condition. Ice fishing continues on Rainy Lake, but ice road conditions have deteriorated so people are cautioned to use snowmobiles or ATVs.  Fishing on the Rainy River has started with one ramp open at the Kuttes Access. People are reminded that the regulations have changed to catch and release only. Enforcement action was taken for motor vehicle violations of speeding.

CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) spent time working angling, snowmobile, and ATV enforcement. Off-highway vehicle activity has started to increase and Zavodnik advises operators to stay current with the rules and regulations regarding them. Reports on the Rainy River were slow fishing, with current water temperatures around 38 degrees. With rain possible and warmer weather in the forecast, he’s hopeful that fishing success will start to pick up within the next week so. Zavodnik also cautions anglers to know the rules and regulations when crossing into Canadian waters when fishing the Ontario side of the river. 

CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports snowmobilers have exhausted the last of the usable snow in the area. The lake surfaces have turned into mostly bare ice and the overland trails have long stretches of bare ground showing through as well. He took a report and began an investigation of two dead coyotes a short distance from one another. Seasonal equipment maintenance was tended to. Snowmobiling, ATV use, and angling were monitored with enforcement action taken for registration violations.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and checking public access sites. Area forest roads were checked and equipment work was completed.

CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. Few anglers were observed this past week likely due to the amount of slush on area lakes due to the recent warm weather and rain. The snowmobiling season is likely over as the snow on area trails and lakes has deteriorated. Broughten continued an investigation into timber trespass. He also assisted other officers with snowmobile details on Lake Vermilion. Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile in a careless/reckless manner, no angling license in possession, and failure to display ATV registration.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) checked a number of anglers this past week. A couple forgot to get a new license this year. Remember, if you are planning on fishing, your license expired in February. Hopkins and a few partners worked the waters-skips this past week. A few individuals were cited due to skipping near the Trout Lake Portage. He also had to deal with a couple of ice shelters left on Lake Vermilion after the removal date. 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) mainly worked anglers and ATV riders and attended a Bear Committee meeting. He also dealt with the fish house removal deadline, a demolished house that was set on fire, a deer caught in a fence and worked the TIP Wall of Shame at the Virginia Home Show. Warmer weather ended most snowmobiling activity, but brought out ATVs and more anglers, including one angler who decided to keep a largemouth bass out of season. The angler’s hopes of mounting the large fish were dashed. Most fish houses were off by the deadline for removal. Enforcement action was taken for taking fish out of season, fish house on the lake after the deadline, unmarked fish house, littering and a number of ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on several instances of fish house owners who removed their shelters and left behind blocks and other garbage. Enforcement action was taken in every instance. Frericks manned the TIP Wall of Shame at the Iron Range Home Sport and Travel Show. As with every year the public asked a large variety of questions. Another thing that occurred was that many members of the public were able to pass on some vital information regarding numerous deer and other ongoing violations.   

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the week focusing on trout angling and snowmobile enforcement. Snowmobile activity hit its peak on Saturday as conditions were too poor for most riders after the second day above 50 degrees this past week. Trout angling was fair to good and several anglers inside the BWCA reported a very good bite. Violations included operating a snowmobile in a reckless manner, possession of aluminum beverage containers inside the BWCA and underage possession of alcohol.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers this past week. Fishing was slow and snowmobile trail conditions deteriorated. Velsvaag received questions about road-killed deer and litter left on the ice.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked a coordinated detail along the border with Ontario and Minnesota COs mostly concentrating on angling. He did radio interviews on bobcats and ice safety.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers on area inland lakes; snow is going fast and lake conditions are great for foot travel right now. Manning also checked snowmobilers who were happy to get a few last rides in for the season. Cross-country skiers were also checked and reported that trail conditions were less than ideal with rather treacherous conditions on the shaded downhills. One person reported that the warm weather brought a sudden melt and release of water and ice on the river next to her home. It brought up the river level several feet very quickly. Folks planning to do any spring river walking/hiking are urged to use caution and watch the weather.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) took a call and is investigating a poached wolf in Isabella. All fish houses were off station lakes by the deadline. Numerous crappie anglers were checked throughout the week with relatively low success, but lake trout anglers in the BWCA were having success. A possession tag was issued for a road-killed bobcat. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, unattended lines, litter, cans in the BWCA, and failure to display snowmobile registration.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked are angling activity this past week. He also coordinated a snowmobile work crew in the area. Trails are starting to break up and many riders were ready to call it a season.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked an angling and snowmobile detail up the Gunflint Trail over the weekend. Spring riding conditions were fair and recent trail grooming was enjoyed by all. Lake Superior ice has started to break up with recent winds and ice-breaking efforts ending the rare ice-angling event. Murray answered several car-injured deer calls and checked spring beaver trapping activity.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked activity on area lakes, attended the annual Bear Committee meeting, worked ongoing cases, and handled several injured-wildlife calls. Time was also spent setting up safety training classes.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement. He also took care of wildlife-related complaints.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored fish house removal, responded to a sick/ injured moose and attended training. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also attended the USPCA region detection trials. Fairbanks and Si certified in fish and game detection.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) followed up with owners of fish houses/shelters left on the ice past deadline. She checked area lakes for angling activity.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked late-season ice anglers. With much of the snow gone from local lakes, it is becoming much easier to move around on the ice. Sutherland also worked on past deer and furbearer cases. He also worked ATV activity in the area with many riding enthusiasts out and about with the warmer weather. 

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, recreational vehicle, and fish house enforcement. Follow up continues on fish houses left on the ice after the deadline. Anglers are experiencing a consistent panfish bite on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) checked several ice anglers over the sunny weekend who reported feeling like their face was sunburned. Fishing success was fair at best but mostly everyone was smiling due to the enjoyable weather. Various ATV and fishing violations were handled.

NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jake Willis (Brookston) handled calls regarding a shelter left on Grand Lake after the deadline. A call from someone with a license plate led him to the owner as there was no longer a license on the shelter. Illegal-dumping complaints were investigated as well as a call about a bear acting strangely. Most likely, it was just emerging from hibernation. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues and operating a motor vehicle other than a snowmobile on a designated snowmobile trail.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) followed up on fish houses remaining on area lakes. Time was spent following up on dumping complaints and handling injured-animal complaints. Calls regarding ATVs on snowmobile trails were handled and a wetland investigation was completed.  

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to work winter fishing enforcement on Lake Superior. A few calls of bear sightings and concerns of injuries due to slow-moving behavior were received. Equipment maintenance involving watercraft and his patrol vehicle was completed. A call of possible illegal possession of protected species was investigated. Duncan participated in a work detail along the United States-Canada border concentrating on fishing and snowmobile activity.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with K9 training and testing in the metro area where several dogs were certified in detection. Some time was spent patrolling area state parks where enforcement action was taken for a dog off-leash and no vehicle permit. A car-injured-deer call was handled in the Duluth area where a deer was severely injured and had to be euthanized.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement. Humphrey fielded questions on safety training courses, deer carcasses, ice conditions, and special regulations. He assisted on a snowmobile work detail in Cook County. Snowmobile registration violations were encountered.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. The U.S. Coast Guard has started ice-breaking operations on Lake Superior so anglers are urged to use extreme caution and pay attention to wind directions.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on Lake Superior and finished up commercial investigations. Equipment preparation for possible flood response was completed, and a snowmobile detail worked in the Isabella area, where ridable snow is dwindling rapidly. Enforcement action taken for angling, snowmobile, and DWI violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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