District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports snowmobile activity was at a minimum in the area, even though trails are in great shape after the recent snowstorm. Perhaps, though, that’s what kept people away this past weekend. Ice fishing and spearing on Rainy Lake are also slow, which is typical in January. A few animal-related complaints were handled as well.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) worked trapping and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Trapping complaints were taken and followed up on. Complaints of loud exhaust on snowmobiles were heard and complaint areas were monitored. Background investigation work continues, and equipment repairs were handled.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy snow fell over the weekend in the area. Lake conditions (heavy snow and slush) make travel conditions very poor with little activity noted. The trout opener on remote lakes accessed by snowmobile was a non-event – no angling activity was noted. The yearly problem of displaying snowmobile registration continues. Tickets continue to be issued to address this.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time patrolling the area snowmobile trails. With the increased amount of snowfall as of late, trails have been in excellent condition around the Cook, Tower, and Quad Cities area. Zavodnik and CO McGowan worked together over the weekend patrolling Lake Vermilion and area trails. They also checked a handful of anglers as well, many of whom reported the bite has really slowed down since the last big snow fall. Violations encountered over the week included expired registration, failure to display registration numbers on a snowmobile, operating without proper equipment, excessive speed, unattended lines, no license in possession, failure to transfer ownership within 15 days of purchase, and failure to stop at a roadway.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the past week on snowmobile enforcing speed and registration violations. He assisted a few motorists who got stuck on the bad roads.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobile riders, and the winter trout opener. Trout anglers were greeted with about 9 inches of new snow on the opener, which resulted in fewer anglers than usual. Some trout lakes had no anglers, but others checked had some fine rainbow trout brought to the ice. Enforcement action was taken for a traffic violation and angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, spearing, trapping, and snowmobiling activity. Recent snowfall improved riding conditions but also increased slush on area lakes. Anglers report varying ice conditions with as few 4 inches found on some lakes. Snowmobilers are reminded to slow down and consider the amount of snow we have may be covering hazards that normally could be seen.
Virginia – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports a good turnout for the regular inland trout opener. There were mild temperatures and generally very little slush. Success was also generally good, with some limits being checked. Violations included angling with extra lines, excessive snowmobile speed, and failure to display snowmobile registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout anglers this past week. Fewer people were out in some locations due to snow and slush but slush conditions are improving. Fishing was average and some nice fish were caught.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers during the trout opener on area lakes during a work detail. He assisted in the search and rescue of four snowmobile riders who were wet, cold, lost and stuck in a swamp off a backcountry trail. All parties made it out safely. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drugs and paraphernalia, as well as angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a snow-filled trout opener. Heavy snowfall led to a good deal of slush on area lakes, which caused problems for some anglers and led to at least one portable fishing shelter becoming not so portable. Manning checked sled operators, anglers and fishing shelters and spoke with the local radio station on the importance of the Great Minnesota Ski Pass.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) found station trout lakes very quiet on the opener. Snowmobile trails were busy with an abundance of snow. A few final deer cases were followed up on during the week. Enforcement action included taking a doe without a doe permit, failure to register deer as required, snowmobile registration violations, loud exhaust, failure to stop at road crossings, and marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) found a few trout anglers during the week who were having little success. Turned out this was good for them as the season for trout did not open until Saturday. Groups checked stated they did not bother to read the regulations before heading out and did not notice the lack of activity on area trout lakes. The actual trout opener was greeted with 2 feet of snow that made access very difficult. Still, many anglers made the trek.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a busy weekend of winter activities in Cook County. Multiple snowmobiles were seen on the trails and lakes with one operator being cited for a juvenile helmet and safety certificate violation. Hill took part in a detail with other officers during the opening weekend of the winter trout season. Anglers from all over the state were contacted in the area with some nice fish being seen. Some anglers easily obtained their limits while others used every trick in the book just to get a mark. A few license violations were handled. Hill and other officers assisted Cook County with locating four stranded snowmobilers on a remote swamp after they had gotten a snowmobile stuck. Aside from wet feet and a few signs of hypothermia, the parties were in good spirits and were thankful the officers were close by when the call came out. A reminder that it is a necessity to have survival equipment handy when riding snowmobiles in remote areas of the state. Things can go wrong at any moment, even on shorter rides. The riders were extremely lucky they had cell phone coverage
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Area lakes again are slush-covered, keeping angling pressure light. Recent snowfalls dumped more than a foot of fresh snow, making snowmobilers happy to be out on the trails. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails and lakes, worked ongoing cases, and maintained equipment. Deep snow and slush have made it very difficult to travel on area lakes.
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. Recent snow slowed activity.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the trout opener in the Grand Marais area, monitored snowmobile activity and assisted the State Patrol with vehicles off the road. The recent snow made it tough going for anglers. Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile on the roadway, no angling license in possession and no trout stamp.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy week of snowmobile activity with many non-residents and residents alike hitting the area trails, which are in great condition. Multiple registrations were checked with overall great compliance for having snowmobiles registered.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Anglers’ success rates have been moderate at best throughout the surrounding areas. Snowmobile trails are in good condition with the additional snow this past weekend. Enforcement action was taken for various angling and snowmobile-related violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity. The snowmobile trails in the area are in very good condition with the addition of the last snowfall. Although the heavy snowfall and high winds made for a slow start to the trout season, several hardy anglers were observed doing fairly well with some nice trout in their buckets.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) assisted with training at Camp Ripley as part of the Division use of force team. Calls were fielded regarding trapping and deer-hunting issues. Willis also continued to follow up on ongoing cases.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent the past week working snowmobile enforcement on area lakes and trails. Registration issues, altered exhaust systems and trespassing issues continue to be the most common violations. Anglers braving the deep snow and slush are struggling and few fish were seen. Schmidt attended the funeral for Pine County Deputy Ben Neel.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to spend the majority of the week working from a snowmobile. Trail conditions around the Duluth area have been very good. Many snowmobile riders have been enjoying the trails. The most common violations observed continue to be registration issues, no snowmobile safety certificate, and altered muffler systems. Fishing activity was also worked on area lakes. Ice conditions are continuing to improve, which is allowing better access to the popular fishing holes.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked trout lakes over the weekend in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. The recent snow has area trails in good condition and they are busy. Olson investigated a crashed and abandoned snowmobile along the North Shore Trail in the Two Harbors area during the week. Violations were detected for loud muffler complaints and registration issues.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked inland trout anglers on the trout season opener. Deep snow required people to expend extra efforts all along the Gunflint Trail and North Shore. Snowmobile riders were checked, with common violations found for safety training requirements and modified exhaust systems. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.