CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports most work activity involved monitoring sturgeon fishing enforcement on the Rainy River, along with boating safety and invasive species. Two sturgeon fishing tournaments were conducted along the river over the weekend. ATV enforcement and assisting other agencies were also part of the tasks for the past week. Enforcement action for the week included license violations, fishing in a closed area, boating issues, and drug-related violations.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) spent time working sturgeon enforcement with other COs and the K9 Unit. One encounter over the weekend entailed a sturgeon untagged and hidden in the bottom of a cooler under a pile of rough fish. The illegally possessed fish was seized and, unfortunately, couldn’t be released. Enforcement action was taken. Other violations encountered over the week included unattended lines, too many lines, not enough life-saving devices on board, untagged sturgeon, and failure to validate sturgeon tag.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) monitored sturgeon fishing, trapping, off-highway vehicle use, and transportation of water-related equipment. He checked on areas of animal-related complaints. To avoid conflict between homeowners and bears, some of the easiest things to do this time of year are clean up/remove bird feeders and store garbage inside. Road and trail closures were monitored with damage to a forest road gate reported. Any information in regards to the incident would be appreciated.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports equipment work was completed. A car-hit bear was dispatched. Public access sites and trapping activity continues to be monitored. Beaver complaints have started.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, trapping and ATV activity. Anglers are anxiously waiting for fishing opener. Broughten assisted local law enforcement with an altercation and assisted with an ATV safety class.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent the week investigating illegally taken gray wolf cases and litter complaints. Any information on a wolf that was shot a short distance west of Hibbing last fall would be appreciated. One litter complaint resulted in one suspect being cited for driving after revocation. A dog-chasing-deer complaint was also investigated and the responsible dogs were located. An illegal fire was investigated after the suspect started a large pile of clothes on fire just 10 feet from the house. A motor vehicle crash was located and found unoccupied after it left the roadway and went airborne into a gravel pit. A DNR table was manned at the St. Louis County Courthouse at a public information event. Enforcement action was taken on driving after revocation, burning prohibited materials, no burning permit, and allowing a dog to chase a big-game animal.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled the Virginia area for spring beaver trapping activity. Numerous beaver sets were located and several violations were detected. Frericks will continue to monitor the sets to see if the owner of them corrects the violations. An issue where a person set up camp with four tents, complete with an archery shooting range, Christmas lights and a generator at a public access is being addressed. ATV traffic continues to increase dramatically. Landowners who have granted easements for snowmobile trails to run through their property are regularly reporting that ATVs continue to tear through their property. In many cases this property consists of wetlands. Frericks reminds all ATV riders to not make it more difficult on yourselves – please respect others’ property and stay off of the snowmobile trails.
Aurora – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling activity was low. Snow, rain, and wind made the early part of the week understandably less attractive to anglers. The local ATV club held a run that was well attended and, as usual, compliance was high.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers this past week. He also worked ATV complaint areas and took several calls about nuisance animals.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that while some smaller lakes farther up the Gunflint Trail are open, there are a few that will be close. There will be lakes to fish on the opener, but make sure to check with your lodge or outfitter for BWCAW lakes and others. Many of the backroads are still impassable due to snow, so don’t chance it unless you see bare ground.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area fish sanctuaries and closed areas on local rivers. Manning also checked steelhead anglers and checked a few inland lakes for ice-out. Snow has mostly melted again and adventurers are warned that auto travel on more remote state forest backroads may be hazardous due to frost heaves and culvert washouts. Cell phone service to call for help is mostly unavailable.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked sturgeon anglers on the Rainy River with CO Zavodnik. Time was spent on fish run activities. A snowmobile trails meeting was attended. Enforcement action included insufficient PFDs, failure to display watercraft registration, extra line, unattended line, and untagged sturgeon. The sturgeon was seized from the angler, who possessed it without purchasing a tag.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) checked area anglers this past week. Time was spent on AIS compliance and training in Owatonna.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored ATV activity in Lake and Cook counties. Anglers were checked along the North Shore streams. He responded to an illegal burning complaint and conducted commercial inspections.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping and fish run activities during the week. Warmer temperatures have now made most lakes ice-free in the area and anglers were out preparing watercraft for the upcoming fishing opener. Enforcement action was taken for trapping and licensing violations.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked fishing and ATV enforcement. He answered wildlife-related calls and assisted other agencies.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked a detail on the Rainy River, checked anglers, monitored trapping activity and worked the spring fish run. Angler success was slower with the cold weather. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, unattended lines, possession of walleyes out of season, untagged sturgeon, failure to validate a tag and equipment violations.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity this past week. She also assisted with a firearms safety class. She took a littering complaint and is completing follow up from other enforcement cases.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked shore fishing and trapping activity with trapping activities slowing down and angling picking up. Roadkill deer tags were also issued. Deer are on the move. Almost all area lakes are now open and ready for boating activity.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) continued to work trapping, ATV, boating, and angling enforcement in the area. Several individuals were contacted making last-minute equipment preparations before the fishing opener. A reminder to the public to check your watercraft to ensure all necessary safety equipment is on board before heading out on the water. A wolf depredation was fielded and investigated. Van Asch also spent time assisting with a firearms safety class in Nashwauk. Enforcement action was taken for several OHM and boating violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time checking anglers who were targeting panfish. With cooler-than-preferred water temperatures, fishing was tough with little success. ATV traffic is starting to pick up and several ATV violations were encountered. A reminder: Anyone under 18 years old, whether operating or a passenger on a Type 1 or Type 2 ATV, must have an approved helmet on.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) has been handling frequent reports of litter with carcasses being dumped throughout the station. Calls have been fielded regarding bear hunting as well and equipment is being prepped for the upcoming fishing opener.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked ATV complaint areas and trail heads. Shore anglers and anglers on Lake Superior have been out in force and are having some success. North Shore rivers were also worked and time was spent checking for smelters. He completed equipment maintenance for the upcoming open-water season
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) assisted with security at a DNR meeting. Time was spent working fishing enforcement along the North Shore of Lake Superior for the steelhead run. Night time fish run activities were worked and resulted in several violations detected. Duncan assisted CO Schmidt with the removal of an 8X8 fish house floor that someone left out in the ice. After ice-out, it turned out to be a navigation hazard.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) responded to a complaint of trespassing and checked angling activity in the area. Assistance was given on the Rainy River over the weekend with checking sturgeon anglers. Enforcement contacts were made for angling without a license in possession, unattended lines, taking walleyes out of season, untagged sturgeon, failure to validate a sturgeon tag and watercraft light violations.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked anglers along the tributaries of the North Shore during the week. The rivers are looking good and fish are being hooked. Olson worked late nights with smelters in the Duluth area and violations were detected for illegal equipment issues in and around the rivers. Coho salmon are still getting caught from boats in the Duluth-Two Harbors end of Lake Superior.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked steelhead anglers in rivers and trollers on Lake Superior. Coho salmon have made up the majority of the catch on the big lake. Boaters are still dodging a few icebergs and blockages towards the Superior entry. Smelt are just starting on the Minnesota side, with steady action in rivers up and down the shore for rainbows. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.