CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports a busy weekend with opening of fishing; lots of people were out enjoying the nice weather. Success was limited on Rainy Lake with better success on Lake Kabetogama, where most people caught a few keeper walleyes. A few animal complaints were also handled. People are reminded to leave baby animals alone. Enforcement action for the week included unattended lines, illegal-length fish, and boating equipment violations.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) spent time focusing on boating and angling enforcement over the week. Despite the slow fishing reports, anglers were all smiles being out on the water and enjoying the nice weather. Overall, boating safety compliance was found to be very good during the opening weekend.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) continued to monitor trapping, OHV use, state campgrounds, fire activity, and – the highlight of the week – the statewide fishing opener. A report of damage to a state trail was received along with an unattended fire that was located and was associated with the same incident. There was an uptick in state campground use with the fishing opener. Trapping complaints were received and investigated. Weather for the fishing opener was among the best in recent memory, according to anglers in the area. Most of the anglers encountered were happy to be once again fishing open water and most reported success of varying degrees. Some said all they could find were fish too big to keep.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports fishing activities were monitored. Success was poor and opening-day winds were strong. Access sites were monitored. Minnow trapping was checked. ATV activity was monitored. Beaver complaints continue.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, ATV, and trapping activity. Opening weekend for walleyes and northern pike on Lake Vermilion yielded limited success for many anglers. Most of them were happy just to be out in the boat with good weather. Boaters and anglers are reminded to prepare their boat prior to entering the boat ramp. Broughten assisted with a BWI arrest where the boat operator was found to be more than double the legal limit. He also investigated a wildfire.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked the opener in the BWCA with RTO Phil George. After time spent on surveillance, the officers charged a group angling and keeping walleyes and northern pike a day before the season opened. The officers made a BWI arrest and after four relays to other officers, the suspect was transported to jail.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the fishing opener and ATVs, dealt with a complaint of a large number of walleye carcasses dumped in the woods, investigated a dead bear complaint in a front yard and met with the SWCD and BWSR on a wetland-fill case. Fishing success was fair over opening weekend with some large northern pike and respectable walleyes taken. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, wanton waste, unregistered ATV, no PFDs, and boat registration violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent most of the week working wolf depredations, beaver trapping, boating, angling, and ATV enforcement. ATV issues continue to take a lot of enforcement efforts in the area with illegal wetland riding and illegal operation on snowmobile trails.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports fishing opener was the usual boom or bust depending on which lake you were on. Most anglers found at least some success, but that varied between two or three 12- to 13-inch walleyes to nearly a limit of 17- to 18-inch fish. Violations included angling without a license in possession, no PFD, and illegal slot fish.
CO Darn Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked an enforcement detail with CO Fondie in the Voyageurs National Park and the western side of the BWCAW during the fishing opener.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports numerous anglers were disappointed to find their destination lakes still mostly frozen, but with not enough to ice fish on. Manning checked steelhead anglers, Lake Superior anglers and a few folks who managed to find some open water for opening day. After another round of snow, the following warmup has bears, foxes and grouse out and about; grouse numbers look promising for the fall season. Manning also assisted Cook County Sheriff’s deputies with a couple calls and attended an Honor Guard meeting.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a very busy opening weekend of fishing. Time was spent inside and outside the BWCA. A college drinking party was discovered on U.S. Forest Service land with numerous underage drinking citations issued. Plenty of fishing, boating, and other violations to report including fishing after suspension, insufficient PFDs, watercraft registration violations, litter, marijuana possession, and unlawful OHM operation. Several anglers did well on walleyes. Numerous car-hit deer were dispatched this past week.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked a busy fish opener. Anglers had to be less picky about what lake they fished as a fair number still are ice-covered. Time was also spent on trespass and trapping issues.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the fishing opener checking anglers and ATV riders. Wahlstrom attended training on Lake Superior with the U.S. Border Patrol in Duluth. He helped instruct the ATV field day at the Cook County school. Enforcement action was taken for several ATV, boating and angling violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a sunny fishing opener on the North Shore. Most anglers checked reported a slow bite but ended up with enough fish for dinner. A trespass case was investigated and enforcement action was taken for unattended lines and failure to remove drain plugs before transporting watercraft.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked boaters, ATV operators, and anglers. Fishing success varied greatly. He finished seasonal equipment maintenance, took calls on problem beavers and bears, and assisted the sheriff’s office with a landing zone for a life flight.
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked fishing and ATV enforcement, answered wildlife-related calls and assisted other agencies.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, worked OHV enforcement and responded to an ATV accident. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating evidence for a case in which three eagles had been shot and assisted a deputy involved in a foot pursuit in which the suspect ran into a house. Two suspects were arrested for outstanding warrants. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, illegal-length walleyes, expired registration on watercraft, no throwable and illegal-length northern pike.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking angling and boating activity over opening weekend. Anglers were fairly successful even though the water was still cold and high in many locations. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy fishing opener where many people got out to enjoy the area lakes and the sun was even out for a change. Enforcement action was taken for operating an unregistered watercraft, possessing multiple fish from within the protected slot and multiple angling-without-a-license citations.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, boating, AIS, and ATV enforcement throughout the area. The opening fishing weekend brought out anglers from across the state to test their luck. Many anglers contacted reported better success rates as the weekend weather improved. Time was also spent investigating a wolf depredation complaint. Enforcement action was taken for several angling, boating and AIS violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) worked a busy fishing opener. Some safety violations were encountered, but overall, most folks had PFDs, throwables, and other safety equipment needed for the boating season. Although the walleye bite was slow, some anglers were having success finding the panfish in shallower water.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) assisted local agencies at the scene of a plane crash in the water near Moose Lake. Willis reports very heavy angling and boating activity was worked on the St. Louis River during opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, no Type IV PFD, no angling license and other equipment issues.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week prepping equipment for opener and working the weekend. Anglers were out in force and enjoying nice weather but the catching was less than stellar. Boating equipment violations were common as well as licensing issues. Bear complaints are coming in rather steadily. Please leave baby critters where you find them. He assisted with a water survival class for deputies at the Staples pool.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked the spring fish run along the North Shore of Lake Superior. That also included checking many steelhead anglers and a large number of late-night smelters. Duncan assisted with instructing a water confidence course for several law enforcement officers from around the state. The 2019 fishing opener (walleye, pike, bass) brought many people to the water. The weather cooperated and so did the fish for many anglers. Some examples of violations included no PFDs, expired boat registrations, no licenses and extra lines.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) attended boating skills training with the U.S. Border Patrol in Duluth. Humphrey attended various meetings in both Brainerd and Floodwood and an interview in Duluth during the week. Humphrey worked the fishing opener with Lt. Speldrich in Carlton and Pine counties. Anglers were commenting on the water temperatures factoring into a reportedly slow bite. Still, some nice catches were observed. Several violations for watercraft safety equipment, registration, and angling license violations were encountered
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended boat training with the Border Patrol in the Duluth harbor and on Lake Superior. A K9 talk and demo with K9 Schody was given to a Duluth-area school DARE class. Assistance was given to local agencies with a fatal plane crash that happened near Moose Lake. Several anglers were checked in the area on fishing opener weekend. Some fish were caught but success was low. Enforcement action was taken for fishing in a closed area, transporting watercraft with drain plug in, and watercraft light violations.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended the water confidence course in Staples for water patrol deputies and attended watercraft training in the Duluth-Superior bay with the U.S. Border Patrol. The North Shore was worked for the steelhead run during the day and smelters and river surveillance during the dark hours. Opener was spent with CO Murray working the northern tier of the Two Harbors station. Some lakes checked still had large amounts of ice, making fishing from boats difficult. Violations included watercraft registration issues, no license in possession and assorted taking violations.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on a busy opening weekend. Walleyes were cooperative for most anglers on the St. Louis River, but wind kept the big lake pretty quiet for boat activity. Smelters continue to have good success in rivers along the North Shore, but they need to follow the regulations and signs about rivers closed to taking smelt. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.