District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports a busy weekend with snowmobile activity and lots of people enjoying the mild weather. Trails were in great shape but as the weekend came to an end they were less desirable as the high traffic took its toll. Great job by the local snowmobile clubs for all their efforts and work maintaining the trails. Thank you! Enforcement action for the weekend included registration and loud exhaust issues.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) spent time monitoring the snowmobile trails for the kickoff of the Arrowhead 135 Ultra Marathon. A group of students completed the snowmobile operator’s course to meet the snowmobile safety requirements. A deer goal-setting workshop was attended in International Falls with discussion on many topics. Another workshop is scheduled for Feb. 27, from 6-9 p.m. at the Rainy River Community College. Slatinski assisted a local business with raccoons causing damage and living where they were not wanted. Snowmobile traffic has picked up considerably with enforcement action taken for illegal exhaust and registration issues. Slush continues to be a problem off of marked trails.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes with little angling activity observed given the poor lake conditions. Snowmobile trails and area forest roads were checked. Deer continue to struggle with snow depths. Equipment work and administrative tasks were completed.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook Station) spent time patrolling the snowmobile trails around the Virginia and Cook areas over the week. On one occasion, while Zavodnik and Lt. Frericks were on snowmobile patrol, they observed an individual traveling at a speed of 86 miles per hour in a 50 mile per hour zone. When the individual was stopped and asked how fast he thought he was going, the operator stated, “I didn’t dare look down to see, but I knew I was going too fast.” The trails were extremely busy over the weekend, and Zavodnik made many stops mainly due to excessive speed. On another occasion, Zavodnik was nearly struck by an oncoming snowmobiler taking a corner too wide. He wants to remind snowmobilers that as trails deteriorate due to heavy use, especially on the corners, speed should always be considered no matter what the posted speed limit is. Zavodnik also spent time investigating a deer-hunting violation that occurred this fall as well as possible deer-poaching activity. Common violations found over the week included expired registration, excessive speed, careless operation, failure to affix license numbers, and no angling license in personal possession.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobiles, otter and bobcat fur registration, finished a trapping/snaring violation case, followed up on an invalid deer-hunting license violation and assisted the U.S. Forest Service with a shooting violation. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, disposing of bait into state waters, taking deer with an invalid license, taking deer over the limit, failure to check snares daily, leaving snares set after the close of the season, setting a snare in a deer trail, and a number of snowmobile violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported limited success this past week. Snowmobiling activity remains high. Snowmobile trails are in decent shape but could use fresh snow.
Virginia – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports ice angling activity was very high over the week, but success for most trout anglers was poor. He also assisted with an ice safety course hosted by the local college, where participants were able to practice self- and team-rescue techniques. Violations included no shelter information, angling with extra lines, and no fishing license in possession.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers on remote trout lakes. Some nice fish were seen in the bag. Snowmobilers are out enjoying the trails. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and fishing violations.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) assisted with a youth safety class in Babbitt. Thanks to the volunteers who helped out with the course. Time was spent on the busy snowmobile trails, on grant-in-aid ski trails and following up on cases. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, failure to display registration, no snowmobile safety training, and no cross-country ski pass.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling activity this past week. Time was also spent on area trails working snowmobile activity.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the North Shore was packed with people enjoying several different means of outdoor recreation throughout the week. Multiple anglers were contacted chasing trout and few fish were seen. Hill cited multiple people for no fishing license, no trout stamp, extra lines on a designated trout lake, and possessing/using live minnows on a designated trout lake. The North Shore State Trail and other Cook County-area snowmobile trails were hit hard by riders. Compliance was strong, but a few riders went home with citations for expired registration and altered exhaust violations. Cross Country Ski Pass compliance is still struggling, and a few skiers were cited after they admitted that although they saw multiple signs on the trail stating they needed ski passes, they decided to still ski without a pass. A snowmobile safety class was attended with about 40 area sixth-graders. A big shout out to the trail groomers and snowmobile safety instructors for putting their time in to help everyone enjoy their time out on the trails.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area lakes and trails. Several snowmobile complaints were received and worked. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display snowmobile registration, no non-resident trail pass, speed, and failing to stop at a road crossing.
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 with a snowmobile safety class.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails and assisted the county in locating a suspect who fled into the woods. Angler success was good this past week. The area snowmobile trails are in excellent condition. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and snowmobile registration issues.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked heavy snowmobiling activity over the past week with the nice weather. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a snowmobile, failing to display a registration sticker, failing to transfer a title, angling without a license in possession and angling with extra lines.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on snowmobile and fishing enforcement. Time was also spent working with the water survival team as training was provided to cadets attending the State Patrol Academy. Violations addressed included excessive speed on a snowmobile and registration issues.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) fielded calls and conducted follow up of ongoing cases. Ice conditions deteriorated some with the warm weather, so there was less angling activity on area lakes. Equipment maintenance issues were addressed as well.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent most of the week working snowmobile enforcement on area trails. Lakes were busy as well with warm weather and ice/snow conditions improving. Angling efforts are showing little reward as most anglers are experiencing a tough bite. Follow up on open cases and equipment maintenance was also completed.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to work winter fishing on area lakes. Snowmobile activity has been high and several days were worked from the snowmobile. One day was spent completing a snowmobile inspection. Duncan also completed end-of-the-month office duties.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement throughout the past week. Area snowmobile trails were holding up well. Anglers were reporting mixed results. Ice conditions varied with more slush brought on by warm weather. Violations for snowmobile and ATV operation, registration, and unlawful equipment were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent extra time patrolling complaints in Jay Cooke State Park. Complaints of walking on cross-country ski trails, having dogs off a leash and snowmobiles driving on ski trails were received. There is lots of snowmobile activity in the area with excellent trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for speed and registration violations. One individual asked if the groundhog saw his shadow. He thought Staples would know since he works for the DNR. Staples did not know advised the man to check online.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along the shores of Lake Superior in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. Early morning catches of coho salmon were seen. Snowmobile enforcement was worked along the North Shore State Trail. Registration and muffler violations were most common. Trail conditions remain good.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers and boats out trolling on Lake Superior. When the wind cooperates, a decent salmon, rainbow, and lake trout bite has been had. Snowmobiles were worked inland, with common complaints and repeated violations of loud exhaust. Riders who modify their sled’s exhaust system to be louder than stock can expect a citation when checked. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.