CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls#1) reports sturgeon anglers on the Rainy River are having some success, with most boats catching at least two or three sturgeon an outing. Anglers are reminded when venturing out onto the water to have lifejackets readily available. They should have additional safety equipment in order as well, especially with colder water and faster current. Additional work activities involved animal complaints, checking on public water issues, and equipment preparation.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) spent time working OHV, state forest, and fire enforcement over the past week. With the nicer weather, outdoor activities have certainly picked up around the area. He reminds OHV operators to refresh on the rules and regulations regarding general operation and restricted travel areas. Zavodnik also asks that you keep Conservation Officer Eugene Wynn’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Thank you for your service and dedication, K297.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) continued to monitor angling, trapping, and off-highway vehicle use. Wetland and shoreline projects were monitored and open cases resolved. Slatinski also assisted a couple of individuals who slid off a forest road and found the snow off the edge of the roadbed that was still waist-deep.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports numerous accidental catches of otter were reported over the week. Border-water fishing regulations were explained and equipment work continues.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and ATV activity. Anglers reported limited success. Ice on area lakes is deteriorating quickly. Broughten also spent time arranging safety classes.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports losing a partner and friend in the line of duty. Rest in peace, CO Eugene Wynn – we’ve got it from here.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled area snowmobile trails for ATV traffic. Several ATV operators were stopped and enforcement action was taken for operating the ATVs on snowmobile trails. Frericks reminds all ATV riders these trails are specifically for snowmobiles and spring is an especially bad time of year to be operating ATVs on snowmobile trails. The aggressive tires of an ATV can and do tear up the often-wet soil on the trails, which causes rutting that leads to erosion. In addition, operating ATVs on snowmobile trails gives ATV riders a very bad image with the general public. ATV riders, do yourselves and snowmobile riders a favor and stay off of snowmobile trails with your ATVs.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received a complaint of a bear breaking into a goat pen, killing a goat and dragging it away. Fredin worked a boating/angling detail on the Rainy River during the sturgeon catch-and-release period. An accidentally trapped otter and muskrat were taken care of. Fredin received pictures of a deer with a deformed lower jaw that appears to limit its eating, causing it to be thin.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the week focusing on ATV and OHM enforcement. He also attended annual wildfire investigation training at Camp Ripley. Violations included operating an OHM in a prohibited area.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) attended a wildland fire investigation team meeting at Camp Ripley during the week.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports an uptick in returning waterfowl and grouse sightings over the past week. Several phone calls were followed up on, and a public waters case was closed out. Enforcement action included possession of a wild animal without a permit and failing to report a submerged snowmobile.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked shore anglers on Lake Superior and along its tributaries. Cool weather and rain slowed fishing, but warm weather and sun should pick things up during the week.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers in the tributaries of the North Shore of Lake Superior. Some nice steelhead were landed along the banks of the rivers despite the cold water farther up the North Shore. He gave the law enforcement ATV presentation to a class at the Cook County Middle School.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked stream angling activity during the week. Fishing picked up this past week with the return of warmer weather. A report of illegally dumped deer carcasses was investigated and enforcement action was taken on licensing violations.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) spent the past week checking anglers, following up on ATV complaints, handling complaints of nuisance and injured wildlife, and processing incidentally caught furbearers. Spring fish spawning activity was monitored but most creeks and rivers are flooded and moving swiftly still.
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) would like to have everyone keep the family of CO Eugene Wynn in their thoughts at this time. Rest in peace brother.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended arson investigation training, checked anglers and patrolled for OHV activity. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in apprehending an armed suspect who fled into the woods after robbing a bank. Area lakes are still ice-covered. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and an arrest was made for outstanding warrants.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) worked on case follow-up this past week. She also took two calls about possible injured eagles. The calls were unrelated.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV and beaver-trapping activity over the past week with snow and ice disappearing quickly. Wildfire activity has also started to take off in the area with numerous small fires started over the weekend.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked ATV, turkey, and angling enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. Van Asch attended wildland fire investigation training held at Camp Ripley. Several wildlife complaints were dealt with. Various questions from the public regarding boating, angling, and turkey regulations were also fielded and answered.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to work spring beaver-trapping and ATV enforcement in the area. Several small grass fires were investigated. Anglers were checked on the rivers and streams trying their luck at catching suckers and redhorse.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) attended a law enforcement career fair at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Interested students were given information about the job of a CO and what the requirements are to apply. Assistance was provided to Wildlife staff and multiple phone calls and emails were fielded.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked anglers along the North Shore rivers and along the shoreline. Anglers were able to launch from McQuade Harbor this past week and are having some success for coho salmon. He assisted Pine County with search efforts for CO Eugene Wynn.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to work shore fishing and river fishing along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Fishing and boating enforcement also included working from a watercraft on Lake Superior. Duncan worked an ongoing fishing trespass complaint and also assisted with a two-vehicle crash involving injuries. Duncan also assisted with the search and recovery of CO Wynn.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a Fur Committee meeting where seasons and limits were discussed for the upcoming trapping season. A talk was given to a youth ATV safety class in Moose Lake. Two wildfires were responded to in the area where enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials and careless negligent act resulting in a fire. People are reminded to check with their local DNR Forestry office for burning regulations and conditions. Angling activity was worked on area rivers with not much success to report.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) attended a law enforcement career fair held at Fond Du Lac community college. Humphrey also spoke to a firearms safety class in Cromwell about the roles of conservation officers, rules and regulations, and ethics.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent the week checking anglers along the North Shore rivers as well as Lake Superior anglers. The lake anglers have been doing well on coho salmon. Violations encountered were for trout/salmon stamp violations, boating equipment and registration issues. He also responded and assisted with the tragedy of CO Eugene Wynn in Pine county. Fair winds and following seas, my friend.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked early season boat anglers as the ice blew out. Many boaters came from a distance to look for salmon and lake trout. Now is a good time of the year to brush up on AIS requirements, boat registration, and safety equipment. Enforcement action was taken for angling, traffic, and boating violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.