District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports most of the week was spent training new officers from Academy 19 in snowmobile enforcement and operations. A youth snowmobile class was also conducted at the Voyageurs National Park Rainy Lake Visitors Center with the help of Voyageurs National Park staff and U.S. Border Patrol. Enforcement action involved snowmobile violations; people are again reminded to remove the loud exhaust.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) assisted with instruction at the Academy 19 snowmobile operation course. He also provided instruction for an area youth snowmobile safety class and operations course, with assistance from Border Patrol agents and Voyageur’s National Park rangers. Snowmobile traffic was monitored along with trapping activity. Equipment maintenance was tended to.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities. Numerous snowmobile violations were encountered. The yearly problem of displaying registration numbers on snowmobiles continues and multiple citations were issued. Angling activity remains minimal given the poor lake conditions. Identification of fish houses on area lakes also continues to be a problem with enforcement action taken over the week.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time in International Falls helping out with latest CO Academy on snowmobile operations and enforcement. He also spent time riding with a U.S. park ranger, patrolling the lakes and trails. Over the weekend, Zavodnik had the pleasure of handing out a 50-year volunteer snowmobile instructor award to Shirley Baumgartner with the Cook Snowmobile Club. He would like to thank her again for the many years of hard work and dedication toward the students and training program!
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the past week working mostly snowmobile enforcement. The trails were in good condition, but the number of sleds out seemed to be low. He enforced regulations related to speed, over-driving corners, and stop signs.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobile and ATV riders and trappers. A deer-hunting complaint was investigated, a report of a sick moose was checked out, and a “Living with Bears” committee meeting was attended. Anglers were few and far between, even though slush has for the most part frozen and conditions have improved. Enforcement action was taken on ATV and snowmobile registration and speed violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing, snowmobile, and trapping activity. Anglers reported limited success but are still hindered by slush and thin ice. Snowmobile trails are in good condition. Groomers are able to get to more trails as winter goes on.
Virginia – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports fishing activity in the Ely area was fair, but most reports were of slow to no success. Snowmobiling ramped up after a week of colder weather helped with the slush conditions on the lakes. Violations included operating an unregistered snowmobile.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers this past week and slush conditions have not improved very much. Ice conditions are highly variable and many anglers are fishing while wearing snowshoes. Several calls came in about the trout opener and pike regulations.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time in the BWCAW checking anglers. He worked snowmobile trails and area lakes. Wahlstrom responded to loud snowmobile exhaust complaints and enforcement action was taken.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers and snowmobilers. Lake conditions are much improved over last week and snowmobile trails are looking good. She also took a call about trapping.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked deer cases and patrolled by snowmobile throughout the week. Snowmobile trail conditions are good and are seeing fairly high use. Enforcement action included taking a doe without a doe permit, a parent cited for a youth deer-hunting violation, and deer-registration violations.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and snowmobile activity this past week. Schottenbauer started putting the finishing touches on a background investigation. Time was also spent at a department Deer Committee meeting.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Area trails were in excellent shape with a high number of users out enjoying the trails. Area lakes are still holding slush in areas but have started to improve with the cold weather. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed and licensing violations.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails, checked anglers, and worked trapping enforcement. Time was also spent on snowmobile training and enforcement techniques for new officers and equipment maintenance.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and worked small-game, ATV, and snowmobile activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds and assisted the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office with a snowmobile crash.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity and worked snowmobile enforcement. Angler success was good this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and an arrest was made for outstanding warrants.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobile and ice angling activity. With lake conditions slowly improving, more ice anglers have been able to get out on area waters. Many of the multiple slush locations have now frozen over, making travel with snowmobiles or wheelers a bit easier.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. The colder weather is starting to help with the slushy conditions on area lakes. Van Asch also spent time instructing at this past Academy’s snowmobile training held in International Falls.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time checking anglers who are happy that the slush on the lakes, which has hindered their mobility much of the season, has begun to harden, making it easier and less hazardous to move around. Area snowmobile trails are continuing to improve with more and more trails being groomed. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations and angling on a designated trout lake during the closed season.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) worked area snowmobile trails this past week. There are still many violations for display of registration. Owners need to check the regulation book to ensure they are displaying registration lawfully. Much like license plates have to be displayed on your car in accordance with statute, snowmobile registration must also be displayed correctly. Trail conditions have improved significantly, and the slush on area lakes is freezing up.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent the majority of the past week working snowmobile enforcement in the area. He also assisted with a search for an overdue snowmobile rider in Carlton County. Enforcement activity was related to snowmobile registration, altered exhaust, snowmobile safety certificates and trespass. Schmidt assisted the Reservoir Riders Snowmobile Club with a snowmobile safety class.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the week working off his snowmobile. This included checking anglers on area lakes and working area snowmobile trails. More and more anglers are getting out on the ice after the cold weather started to firm up some of the slushy areas. Area snowmobile trails have been in great condition, and are very busy. Lack of registration displayed continues to be the reason for the majority of the enforcement contacts. Duncan also assisted at a snowmobile safety class over the weekend.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement during the past week. He followed up on a trapping registration violation, a Wisconsin deer transport concern and an injured-deer complaint. He also returned equipment from a deer baiting case. Humphrey patrolled area trails and in the Fond du Lac State Forest. Ice conditions continue to slowly improve with 10 to 12 inches of ice on several area lakes. Foot traffic and OHV use were observed. Anglers were having some success with panfish and pike.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent the week checking shore anglers along the North Shore. Early morning anglers in Two Harbors have been catching salmon while braving the cold weather. Snowmobile enforcement was worked in the Two Harbors and Duluth areas. Trails are in good condition and the weekend had many riders out. It included a veteran’s ride out of Two Harbors on Saturday. Violations included trail speed, registration-related issues and modified exhaust on snowmobiles.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore casters and snowmobilers. Salmon, lake trout, and herring have been cooperating for shore-casting anglers when the wind allows. Snowmobile trails are in prime shape, with heavy traffic on weekends. Inland lakes are starting to settle and firm up. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and angling violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.