CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports rainy weather has kept most people close to home, with fishing on Rainy Lake and Rainy River being slow over the holiday weekend. People are reminded to leave young animals alone as in most cases they will be fine as the mother will return for them at a later time. A district meeting and training were attended in Duluth. The Wall of Shame was presented to surrounding area 11- and 12-year-old students at an Outdoor Learning Days Event.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) reports a busy week of working OHV, boating, and angling enforcement. Earlier in the week, he assisted in finding a lost morel picker who had gotten turned around in the woods. Luckily, the individual was able to give a fairly accurate description of where he was and was able to find his way out by listening to the emergency sirens sent off by a squad. Zavodnik also spent the day working the T.I.P. Trailer with neighboring conservation officers. Talking points were discussed to local elementary students regarding the importance of conservation and questions were also answered. Fishing success over the weekend seemed spotty with reports of small walleyes being caught. Some violations found over the week included unattended lines, expired boat registration, not enough life-saving devices on board watercraft, and failure to drain water-related equipment before transport.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports angling, ATV use, boating safety, and education were focus areas this past week. Assistance was given locating an individual who became lost hunting for mushrooms. Fortunately, he had the foresight to realize he was lost and had a cellular signal to call for help before darkness set in. A display for a youth outdoor education event was staffed with approximately 100 students passing through over two days. Fishing reports have been mixed but overall reports have been positive.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports wind and rain dampened outdoor activities. Boating and AIS activity was monitored. ATVs were checked and beaver-related issues were tended to. Equipment work continues. Spare time was spent returning phone calls on a variety of topics. A district meeting was attended.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, boating and ATV activity. Anglers still reporting limited success on Lake Vermilion. The walleyes that anglers are finding are still on the small side. Broughten also investigated a complaint of ATVs operating in wetlands. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, boating, and angling violations.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports the past week had a definite increase in walleye-fishing success. Many limits were being taken although some were on the smaller side. Hopkins took enforcement action on registration violations, loud boats, and watercraft safety violations. He worked with CO Broughten on an AIS detail on Highway 53 and a number of violations were dealt with. A group of ATV operators in the Superior National Forest were operating in a wetland. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and boating activity, the state park, ATV riders, invasive species enforcement, conducted a site inspection with the county on an uncooperative landowner on a wetland violation, attended training in Duluth and gave a presentation on duties of a conservation officer to fifth-grade classes in Hibbing. One ATV driver racked up violations of no handgun permit to carry in possession, operating on a public highway, no helmet on a passenger under 18, too many passengers, and operating in a prohibited/closed area on state land. Violations were numerous and varied, consisting of angling without a license, no license in possession, OHV trespass, ATV in public waters, no burning permit, minor in consumption of alcohol, providing alcohol to a minor, several boat registration and no PFD violations, no permit to carry in possession and a number of ATV, PWC, and AIS violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) investigated several fires in the Virginia area. At one of the fires, an interview with a suspect revealed that he intentionally started the fire. He will be cited. Cooler weather over the Memorial Day weekend pushed many people off the lakes and onto their ATVs and OHMs. Unfortunately, some of those riders choose to ride on snowmobile trails. Numerous Virginia-area snowmobile trails are now rutted up from ATV traffic so badly that it will take a long time for them to be smoothed out. Frericks reminds all ATV riders to stay off of snowmobile trails.
Aurora – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) spent the weekend and holiday patrolling areas of the BWCA focusing on water safety. Activity was high and fishing success was overall good. Violations included angling without a license in possession and failure to display current watercraft registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and boaters this past week. He also attended training and took several questions about nuisance bears and beavers. Velsvaag reminds people to take down bird feeders and keep any other bear attractants away.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked anglers, boat and water safety equipment, and BWCAW accesses during the week. A burning pile of tires and burning without a permit was also dealt with.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked state forest and park campgrounds and boat accesses. Fishing success was mixed and angler and boater compliance were good. One pair of boaters realized they had forgotten their life jackets and made the 75-mile round trip to purchase new ones in town just before an equipment check at the access. Manning spoke with WTIP Radio about boating safety and the importance of proper preparation before boating. She also checked burning permits and minnow retailers and attended a district meeting. Manning wrapped up the holiday by cleaning up after the irresponsible parent of a toddler who tossed out dirty diapers and soiled paper towels and newspapers in a public parking area.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a detail on Upper Red Lake with CO Lawler. Fishing was slow and weather conditions made for tough fishing. Time was spent on cases involving illegal shoreline impact. Enforcement action included fishing without licenses, watercraft registration violations, and boating safety violations.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area anglers and boating activity this past week. Time was also spent working AIS and beaver complaints.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior, inland lakes and in the BWCA. Fishing remained slow on most lakes. He gave a presentation to the firearms safety class at the Cook County Middle School. Commercial minnow enforcement was also focused on. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling, boating, and ATV activity over the holiday weekend. Weather conditions started out sunny and warm before turning windy and cold by Monday. Fishing was slow, according to most anglers checked. Enforcement action was taken for licensing and illegal ATV operation violations.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and boaters, worked ATV complaints, helped with a firearms safety class field day, and handled several injured/nuisance wildlife-related calls. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display watercraft registration, no throwable flotation device, and no angling license in possession.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, attended training, monitored OHV activity, responded to an ATV fatality and assisted EMS with an overdose call. The area panfish bite was better this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and an arrest was made for outstanding warrants.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) assisted with a possible wetland violation site visit this past week. She also did a fur identification presentation to first-graders for the Trout Lake Day celebration in Coleraine. She worked the busy holiday weekend. Enforcement action was taken for boating and angling violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy second week of the fishing season. With cooler temperatures the angling bite has been a bit slow, but anglers are still getting out and about and catching some dinner. Sutherland took enforcement action for having a plug in a watercraft on a roadway, keeping a fish from within the protected slot and not having enough life-saving devices on board a watercraft. Sutherland also assisted Itasca County with an ATV accident.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working a busy Memorial Day weekend. Many anglers, boaters, and ATV riders were contacted. Anglers had moderate success despite subpar weather conditions parts of the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for youth ATV passengers under 18 without helmets, failing to display watercraft registration, illegal-length northern pike, no angling license, no angling license in possession, and angling with extra lines.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) checked anglers who are reporting a better bite as the water temperatures slowly rise. Hochstein assisted CO Willis with environmental day at an elementary school where the officers gave a safety presentation and explained the duties of a conservation officer. A TIP complaint was also worked where a goose was taken out of season. Many fishing and ATV violations were addressed.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) addressed a public-waters issue this past week and issued a restoration order. The holiday weekend resulted in heavy activity on the water. Enforcement action was taken for no PFDs, insufficient number of PFDs, no angling license and registration issues.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) focused enforcement efforts towards angling and boating activity. Finally enjoying some nice weather, anglers were out in force along with a few jet skiers and tubers. Most anglers, unfortunately, were limited to enjoying the weather as the fish were less than cooperative as a whole. Life jacket violations, watercraft registration, angling license issues and illegal-length fish violations were handled. ATV registration and illegal operation kept local officers busy as well. Schmidt reminds people to leave little creatures alone as they are not abandoned and they generally do not need our help.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) investigated a couple waters complaints, one of which involved a wetland and the other an alteration of a public water. Time was spent working recreational vehicle enforcement. Some of the violations included registration, operation on roadway, illegal youth operation, and OHMs operating within the right of way. Fishing and boating enforcement on area lakes was also worked. Lack of sufficient PFDs, no licenses, and illegal-length fish were a few of the violations encountered.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) attended employee right to know training and a district meeting held in Duluth. Humphrey assisted with boat and water work details on Mille Lacs Lake and Fish Lake in the Duluth area. Several nuisance animal-related calls were received, of which most involved beavers. Multiple violations for watercraft safety equipment, registration, and angling license violations were encountered, in addition to several off-highway vehicle violations.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a two-day K9 training at Camp Ripley with the rest of the DNR K9 unit and also attended a district meeting in Duluth. Extra patrols were conducted in area state parks with enforcement action taken for traffic violations, not having vehicle permits, being in the park after hours, and possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Calls of people finding fawns are starting to come in. People are reminded to leave them alone. If you have a concern, call one of your area wildlife offices or conservation officer but do not pick them up. K9 Schody was deployed after contacting some nervous anglers along the St Louis River. When they left the area, they said they had no fish. A short search and Schody’s nose said otherwise. Not far from where they were walking were three walleyes stashed under the leaves in the woods. The anglers were interviewed and confessed to hiding the fish after seeing Staples. Enforcement action was taken for possessing under-sized fish, over limit, failure to submit fish for inspection and litter.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended training during the week and checked anglers and boaters on area lakes north of Duluth. A strong northeast wind on Lake Superior kept anglers and boaters at bay and as a result Olson worked ATV enforcement with CO Murray in the northern tier of the Two Harbors duty station. Violations detected included registration issues and operations regarding youths.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters, anglers, and recreational vehicle operators on a cool holiday weekend. Multiple instances of ATV and OHM violations were discovered that are preventable if the operator would read the registration book or recall what they were taught in safety training. A local person who dumped a trailer house frame and loads of scrap at a public water access early in the season returned to reclaim some of his materials. Unfortunately for him, officers in the area frequently share information about ongoing violations, and a brief period of surveillance led to enforcement action for traffic, dumping, and other public access violations. Enforcement action also taken for angling violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.