District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports snowmobile and ice fishing enforcement continue to be the main emphasis for work activities. A Voyageurs National Park and Minnesota DNR work coordination meeting was attended during the week. Animal-related complaints and snowmobiling questions were also handled throughout the week.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobiles were a common sight on one of the busiest weekends. Anglers were also out enjoying the last days of the inland walleye season, with some success observed. Violations encountered included snowmobile speed, registration issues, and unattended shelters without identification. A coordination meeting with Voyageurs National Park was also attended.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) checked area lakes and snowmobile trails, monitored area forest roads, and checked public access sites. Fishing remains poor with little activity noted.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent the majority of the week assisting an out-of-state conservation officer investigating a possible big-game violation. He also wrapped up a case from the previous archery season. During the investigation, the person was fairly forthcoming about the violation, and admitted to being “guilty as sin.” Enforcement action was taken, including an eight-point set of antlers being seized. With warm weather hitting much of the region, the snowmobile trails stayed in reasonably good shape. Speed was still the most common violation on the trails, but Zavodnik also observed the vast majority obeying the speed limit.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked this past week on his snowmobile. Areas of enforcement were speed, registration, unsafe trail use, and stop sign violations. Some time was spent focusing on anglers. Trout anglers are reporting good fishing, and with the warm weather there were a good number of them venturing onto Trout Lake.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and snowmobile riders, handled a complaint of someone intentionally blocking a public access with plowed snow, and worked snowmobiles and lake trout anglers in the Ely and Tower stations. Most folks aren’t happy when they receive a citation, but one snowmobile rider was so upset that upon his exit he nearly tipped his snowmobile over twice. Enforcement action was taken for no trout stamp, unattended lines, being more than 200 feet from a tip up, blocking a public access, fish house violations, transporting a loaded/uncased handgun, littering, ATV violations, and snowmobile violations consisting primarily of registration and speed.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Fishing success remained limited and snowmobile activity remained high. Snowmobile trails are starting to deteriorate due to the lack of new snow.
Virginia – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) assisted the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and Rescue Squad after a hiker had gotten turned around and could not locate the path on the Bass Lake Trail north of Ely. Fortunately, the hiker stayed put after making the emergency call and conservation officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents located them quickly. Violations included excessive snowmobile speed, operating an unregistered snowmobile, and unmarked fish house.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Slush conditions continue to improve and trail conditions are very good despite a few days of warm weather. Velsvaag received multiple calls about border water fishing regulations and northern pike length restrictions.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week working trout lakes along the U.S./ Canada border and inland trout lakes. He also checked walleye anglers during the last weekend of the season. Some nice fish were seen on the ice. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and angling violations.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement throughout the past week. A detail was also worked with other officers on Upper Red and Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action included walleye overlimits, extra lines, unattended lines, angling without a license, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, expired registration, and no shelter tag.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area snowmobile trails, cross-country ski trails and lakes. She also spoke with concerned homeowners regarding a deer feeding conflict among neighbors.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and snowmobiling activity. Time was also spent on training and equipment commitments.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports getting out and enjoying the sunshine and warm weather during the week. A few hundred miles were put on the snowmobile with some positive contacts being made with riders from all over Minnesota and Canada. One minor registration issue was handled. Hill assisted various agencies with a severe snowmobile crash in Cook County with both riders sustaining injuries. Ski pass compliance is finally getting better with only one citation being issued to a party who knowingly went skiing without a pass. State parks were monitored for vehicle permits. Hill followed up on a big-game case along with an ATV crash from the previous fall.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, investigated a trapping violation, and worked a snowmobile trespass complaint. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration violations and speed.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and worked small-game, ATV, and snowmobile activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He took care of miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) patrolled the area snowmobile trails, checked anglers and assisted the local police department with an intoxicated person walking in the middle of the roadway. The area slush conditions have improved. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and operating a snowmobile on the roadway.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and snowmobiling activity over the past week with enforcement action taken for an overlimit of walleyes/sauger and having a slot walleye in possession.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. Snowmobilers were out enjoying one of the warmer weekends to hit the trails. Trail conditions deteriorated as a result of the warm weather and high traffic. Follow up was also completed on ongoing investigations. Enforcement action was taken for several snowmobile, angling, and big-game violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) saw an increase in snowmobile activity over the weekend with the warm weather bringing lots of folks out to hit the trails. Overall compliance among snowmobile riders was very good with only minor violations having to be addressed. Fishing success in the area varies greatly from lake to lake, with crappies being the most targeted species.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw very heavy snowmobiling activity over the weekend. Violation rates for improper display of registration are still very high. Loud exhaust also continues to be a significant issue on our trails. Any modification to the exhaust that makes it louder than stock is not lawful and creates conflict with landowners who allow trails to cross their property. In addition, it portrays a poor image of snowmobiling to the non-riding public. Angling activity was also high with the warm weather, but not many fish were being caught. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines, angling with extra lines, no license in possession, failure to display snowmobile registration as required, and unlawful exhaust.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to work snowmobile enforcement on area trails. Snowmobile activity was high during the week and into the weekend. Fishing activity was also worked. Area lakes have firmed up, which is allowing better access to many fishing locations. Duncan also participated in a snowmobile detail with the U.S. Border Patrol during the week.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey assisted in a district snowmobile work detail in the Duluth area. He received calls/questions on wolf depredation, ice fishing, youth snowmobile training, and unlawful burning. Snowmobile and angling violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked snowmobile activity in the area. Trails are in excellent shape in the area. Enforcement action was taken for speed, registration, and loud exhaust violations. Time was also spent patrolling Jay Cooke State Park in complaint areas. Enforcement action was taken for having a dog off-leash, allowing dogs on ski trails, and also fat tire bikes operating on ski trails. An injured owl was reportedly found in the Carlton area. The young barred owl was captured and turned over to DNR Wildlife to try to save it.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked snowmobile enforcement during the week. The area trails up to the Iron Range are in near-perfect condition and the warmer weather had many people out taking advantage of them. Olson worked the vintage snowmobile run in the Fish Lake area, along with the Yeti snowmobile tour in the Island Lake area. He also checked anglers along the North Shore and Duluth-Superior Harbor as well.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports calls were handled regarding nuisance wildlife and snowmobile trespass. Work was done on watercraft training materials. Enforcement actions were taken for snowmobile-related violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.