by Richard Sprouse
Evansville: A group of juveniles decided to ram fish houses with their truck. They rammed the first house but it was a spear house and ended up dropping the front of the truck into the spear hole and got stuck. Several charges will be pending along with a hefty tow bill.
McGregor: One angler on Big Sandy thought he would try to put his illegal length walleye down his fishing hole as CO Peterson pulled up to his fish house. The fish was dead and was not going to swim away for the angler.
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored bobcat trapping activity in area WMAs and Lost River State Forest. Assistance was given to local law enforcement locating a missing person and with a traffic accident. Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods. Citations were issued for anglers using too many lines.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked trapping, ATV, snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad, Lake of the Woods and the Beltrami Island State Forest. Enforcement action taken included no angling license in possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, possess small amount of marijuana and unmeasurable fish.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent the week checking fishermen and follow-up on some last minute trapping complaints. Assistance was also given to local law enforcement agencies for a train vs car accident in Warroad. Violations for the week included angling with unattended lines, no angling license in possession, and possessing dressed filets on LOW.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports a busy week of fishing on Lake of the Woods. Anglers report that fish numbers are increasing ever so slightly, although the walleye being caught seem to be larger. With the recent snow and strong winds, the snowdrifts make the ice more difficult to traverse. Plan accordingly if you are making a long trip. Enforcement actions include angling without license, no license in possession, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked an enforcement detail on Lake of the Woods with multiple officers over the New Year’s Holiday seeing success to be very location dependent. He also responded to a call of trespass where hunters were asked to leave property they were hunting without permission. The hunters did not leave when told to do so by the landowner and CO Woinarowicz, with assistance from a State Trooper, located the individuals drinking beer at a different location on the property. Enforcement action for trespass and litter was taken. Additional enforcement action for the week included snowmobile registration violations, snowmobile trespass; possess dressed fillets on special regulation lake, and angling license violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports concentrating enforcement efforts on angling activity on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes, trapping activity and snowmobile activity throughout the week. Time was spent investigating a TIP call regarding litter on Upper Red Lake and a few complaints anglers trespassing to access a couple of area lakes. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office locating and the arrest of an assault suspect on Upper Red Lake. Enforcement action for the week included angling with extra lines, unmarked fishing shelters, angling without license in possession, fail to display snowmobile registration and possession of filleted fish on the ice/unmeasurable fish.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Crookston. Time was also spent checking anglers on area lakes. ATV and snowmobile operators were also checked. Violations included no angling licenses and no ATV registration.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) had a report of a car in a lake and continued checking on a concern of unlawful ditching. Angling, predator hunting and snowmobiling activities were monitored.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on Bemidji area lakes. The cold weather has helped to improve ice conditions, but a vehicle did go through on Lake Irving. Anglers are reminded to use caution when traveling on the lakes and avoid areas where the current is moving under the ice. CO Vollbrecht worked with CO Holt on Red Lake and also worked with CO Prachar on LOW. Angling activity remains high on Red Lake with good numbers of fish observed. An accidentally caught fisher was seized.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked anglers and trapping activity. Officer Holt also participated in work details on Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods. A TIP complaint was received and is still under investigation. Enforcement activity for the week included angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, possessing unmeasurable walleye and angling with extra lines.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports preparing classroom materials for the upcoming EVOC class for the CO Prep program, taking calls of another vehicle through the ice, assisting with an investigation for Conservation Officers in a western state and picking up an accidentally taken fisher.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers, most reported finding cooperative fish. Spearing activity remains high, as well as the fish action. Extra lines, no license and ATV registration violations were found. Follow-up on deer season cases continue with a subsequent search warrant, along with other follow-up and evidence inventory.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen. He also took calls about injured eagles and swans.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) spent time working angling, ATV, and snowmobile activity on area waters. CO Warren assisted another CO with follow up. Questions regarding ice angling, spearing and ice houses were answered.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent a majority of the week monitoring angling activity, which has increased over the holidays. The officer responded to a call of two large bucks with their antlers locked. One of the bucks was deceased from their battle. With the help of the reporting party the officer was able to free the living animal and after a while he recuperated and wandered off into the woods. Follow up was conducted on a coyote case where several individuals were cited by the sheriff’s department for transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle. The officer confirmed no further enforcement action was needed and clarified coyote hunting regulations for the individuals. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, failure to display shelter tag, unmarked or improperly marked fish houses, fail to display snowmobile registration, fail to display ATV registration, fail to renew ATV registration, allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, operating a snowmobile without a safety certificate.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week focusing efforts on checking fishing activity on rural lakes around the Becker and Otter Tail counties. Time was also spent working on open WCA cases and planning for upcoming AIS booths at sport shows and AIS training for Lake Service Providers.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports fishing activity has been steady throughout the work area. Richards took information regarding a vehicle through the ice, incidental caught otters, and commercial minnow dealer activity. Violations addressed during the week were related to angle with extra lines, unattended lines, illegal length fish, over limit, shelter violations, possession of drug paraphernalia/small amount marijuana, and registration of ATVs/snowmobiles. The lack of snow in the area may delay some of the upcoming snowmobile safety classes.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) focused on fishing activity throughout the week. Plautz assisted with a workcrew on Ottertail Lake resulting in 13 citations. Several violations encountered were: fishing with extra lines, unattended lines, no shelter tag, no identification on fish house, illegal length fish, and fishing without a valid fishing license. Trapping complaints continue to be investigated and also a poached deer with head cut off was reported.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement activity checking fishermen, fish shelters and ATVs. There is still some open water on area lakes and caution is advised. Fishermen are reminded to not leave fish houses on public access sites for storage. A work crew was held in the Elbow Lake station on New Year’s Day with numerous violations detected. Lots of questions regarding the new AIS boat trailer training have been handled.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked ice fishermen and trappers. Two complaints were received on New Year’s Eve; one from the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office on a stolen ATV and one from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on a vehicle ramming fish houses on Moon Lake outside of Brandon. A group of juveniles decided to ram fish houses with their truck. They rammed the first house but it was a spear house and ended up dropping the front of the truck into the spear hole and got stuck. Several charges will be pending along with a hefty tow bill.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent most of the week monitoring ice fishing activity. Lots of anglers were checked on station lakes as well as on Ottertail Lake during a work crew with other D3 officers. Enforcement action varied widely from angling with extra lines, unregistered ATV, fishing after revocation, fish overlimit, and numerous illegal length fish.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to check fishing and ATV activity on area waterways. Time was spent assisting other officers on fishing enforcement work details. After observing suspicious behavior and fresh blood on the floor of a spear house an angler eventually admitted to spearing an illegal length northern pike on a special regulation lake. The fish was found hidden in a gunny sack underneath the back seat of a vehicle. To make matters worse, the angler was found to have transported a loaded rifle onto the lake as well. Enforcement action was taken. With the recent cold snap the ice is in good shape on area lakes, however there are still unpredictable areas such as pressure ridges. Caution still needs to be used when traveling on the ice, especially after dark and on unfamiliar areas and bodies of water. There was a report of a partial vehicle break through near a pressure ridge on Lake Osakis over the weekend. No injuries reported and the vehicle was removed.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on the last days of pheasant season, ice fishing activity and ATV operation. COs Anderson, Baumbarger and Nelson participated in a workcrew in the Elbow Lake station on New Year’s Day with several violations encountered. A fishing contest in the Morris station prompted a weekend work crew for COs Anderson and Nelson. Minnow transportation permits were issued as well as calls regarding snowmobile regulations, AIS training and ice fishing questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, trappers, pheasant hunters, and predator hunters. Additional time was spent on a fishing workcrew in the Elbow Lake area, investigating a trespass complaint, and attending a district meeting. Questions were answered about the new AIS trailer sticker/training.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) wishes everyone a happy and healthy 2015. He wants to remind turkey hunters of the January 9 deadline for submitting the application for the spring turkey lottery. Parthun worked a detail on various lakes and took enforcement action for no shelter ID, angling with extra lines and failure to allow inspection.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked anglers and trappers. Ice conditions are improving with the cold weather but current continues to keep areas open. Officer Hunter received possible over limit of fish calls and calls regarding trapping.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) monitored ice angling activity. Trapping activity was relatively slow due to the lack of snow, but a few animals were registered. Enforcement action was taken on a small amount of marijuana.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on trapping, and sport fishing activity. Nothing unusual to report. Ice pressure ridges continue to create problems to those who attempt to cross them, one truck and two ATVs broke through this past week on Leech Lake.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers. Generally good ice conditions paved the way for a big influx of permanent fish houses to the area. Some reports of weak ice near pressure ridges were reported. CO Mathy also assisted with a domestic disturbance, made a warrant arrest, and checked a few remaining bobcat trappers. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, unattended line, illegal length walleye, underage possession of alcohol, and possess marijuana.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) checked ice fishermen on area lakes. ATV and snowmobile activity were monitored. Enforcement action was taken for taking fish without a license in possession.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on trapping, spearing, and ice angling activity. Cold and windy weather limited recreational activity. Ice anglers continue to report poor success and snowmobilers are still waiting anxiously for snow. CO Broughten also assisted the State Patrol with a vehicle off the road. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, angle with extra line, no ID on ice shelter, and no shelter license.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the ice fishermen. Halverson registered fur for local trappers and had another accidental caught Fisher turned in. A large deer was poached in Todd County; only the head was removed.
CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) checked area lakes and trail systems. Bitter cold weekend temperatures left many shelters unoccupied. The week between Christmas and New Year’s had many people out trying to find their limit of fish and socializing. Reminder to put the required identification on shelters and licenses for those left overnight. Work continues on open cases and research.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports assisting Voyageur National Park staff with locating a radio collared wolf that was located outside of the park. A deer found dead by a local trapper was investigated as possibly being shot, but it was determined fatal injuries were sustained from a vehicle. Cold weather has kept most people inside.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) worked angling and trapping activity during the week. The recent weather conditions have appeared to halt the fishing bite on the Rainy Lake area. The weather has not stopped the Voyageurs National Park employees from keeping the ice road open from the Visitor’s Center to Rainy Lake City. CO Van Asch also spent time assisting CO Kittelson and Voyageurs National Park employees in locating a collared wolf. Enforcement action was taken for angling and spearing without a license in possession.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling activities with very few anglers observed with very poor results noted. Snowmobile trails have yet to be groomed.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the extreme cold has returned to the area and very little outdoor activity is taking place. About 8 inches of snow fell early last week; however, the area snowmobile trails remain in poor shape.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reported last week was the trout opener for lakes in the BWCA. The fishing on Trout Lake was pretty good and a number of groups were catching fish. The snow conditions were such that hiking into the lake was very easy. The fishing on Lake Vermilion seemed to pick up slightly during the week and anglers were taking home some nice sized fish. The officer investigated a complaint of unauthorized vehicles using state snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken on the following issues: illegal bait, too far from tip-up, possession of marijuana, angling with extra lines, no license in possession, fail to display shelter registration, and unattended lines. The snow system that moved in over the past weekend helped the trails and a number of sleds were out and about for the first decent day of snowmobiling this season.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, spearing, and trapping activity. The officer closed out an invalid license case from the firearms deer season. The officer investigated a trap tampering case where the snare and trapped animal was stolen, and an ongoing case of possible multiple illegally possessed deer. Enforcement action was taken on take deer with an invalid license, no shelter license, a fish taking violation, and failure to display ATV registration.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) is investigating a report from a dog owner whose dog got caught in an untagged snare around the Virginia area. The dog is okay but the owner, who is a sportsman himself, is frustrated at the trapper who left the trap tags off his snares. Area lakes were checked and darkhouse spear fishermen are reporting good clarity on almost all area lakes. Anglers looking for crappies on area lakes have been successful. A fisher that was caught in a fox snare was turned in.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked fishing throughout the week and found few fish being caught. A few more snowmobiles were seen after a recent snowfall. He worked BWCA Trout Lake with CO Hopkins and reported a few nice lake trout were being caught. Violation of no angling license in possession, more than 200 feet from a tip-up, and possession of small amount of marijuana.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports a busy start to the BWCAW trout lake opener. The first few days saw cool temperatures but the lack of significant snow made for easy travel and most anglers reported at least some success. The first heavy snowfall came this past weekend which made for some busy snowmobile activity, although the trails have yet to be groomed and were fairly rough. Violations included no shelter tag displayed on an ice shelter, and operating an ATV on a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked ice fishermen and the last of the grouse hunters before the season closed. There were a few people driving around hunting in the 8 inches of new snow. Stage received a call that one of the snowmobile trail gates had been left closed. The officer was able to get the gate safely open with a bit of creativity just minutes before the first three snowmobiles of the day came along.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with Officers Murray and Duncan checking anglers during the BWCA trout opener. Most anglers had good success. The CO’s were able to find plenty of people to check and talk with. The weather was good and the going was great due to the lack of snow. Hard packed trails and wind swept lakes made snowshoes unnecessary. The COs got the pleasure of watching an otter cross a lake right in front of them one morning. Winter has arrived in Cook County.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers on BWCA trout opener with some nice fish were caught and compliance was good. CO Manning patrolled snowmobile trails and forest roads during the busy holiday weekend and assisted again with a car stuck in another section of snowmobile trail. The officer also patrolled trails during a dogsled race near the Gunflint Trail and was pleased to note no user conflicts and no problems or breakdowns despite the bitter cold.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the BWCA trout opener. Many wilderness users were contacted with the great conditions for walking/skiing/dogsledding. The first real snowstorm hit the area on the weekend bringing out a large number of snowmobiles. Remember, it only takes a careless rider or two to push all the snow off the corners and hills, not to mention the safety risks associated with that riding conduct. Enforcement action for the week included use of live minnows on a designated trout lake, disposing of bait in the lake, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and expired ATV registration.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area anglers in the BWCAW, along with the trout opener on those lakes. An uptick of car kill deer on highway 61 as deer are moving into their wintering areas was noted. CO Schottenbauer is starting to see some snowmobile activity on some trails, but conditions are spotty.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the BWCAW trout opener with area officers. Some nice trout were seen on the ice on a few of the Boundary Waters lakes. Snowmobilers were checked with reports of rough trails. The Officer answered numerous questions about the new AIS training and followed up on past investigations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the BWCA trout opener in the Grand Marais station. Foot travel conditions were excellent with no slush encountered on area lakes. Most anglers ended up with a few fish for their efforts and law compliance was good.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and trappers, answered calls about wolves, wrapped up cases from the deer season, and assisted a stranded motorist. Enforcement action taken for snaring violations.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked small game, big game, and took calls on trespass. Several anglers are being investigated for trespassing to get onto area lakes to ice fish. Property owners are seeking maximum prosecution for trespassing on posted property, which is a gross misdemeanor carrying up to a $3000 fine, a year in jail, and loss of DNR privileges.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity and assisted the county with the search for a suspect that fled into the woods. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si tracked the suspect from a residence into the woods, over a river, down the power line, across a road and into a pine plantation. CO Fairbanks and K-9 Si were able to flush the suspect out of the woods where he gave himself up to the Officers watching the perimeter. Enforcement action was taken for OHV registration issues, no license in possession, fleeing on foot and an arrest was made for outstanding warrants.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked anglers and trappers this past week. She took a call about a dead owl north of Grand Rapids. She investigated a trapping complaint with CO Shawn Wichmann, which turned into multiple big game violations and seizure of deer meat, hides and a rifle. She also took enforcement action for OHM violations and other trapping issues.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers and small game hunters. He also checked some snowmobiles using trails in the northern part of the county.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and small game activity. CO Wichmann also assisted CO Sindelir with a small game investigation that later resulted in three deer taken without a license.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV Officer) patrolled for ATV activity. He checked ice anglers and answered questions about winter fishing activities. CO Velsvaag spent time enforcing snowmobile violations. There was an increase in snowmobile activity with the recent snowfall in northeast Minnesota.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent time working snowmobile trails and ice anglers. Snowmobile trails are not in riding condition with very little base. Ice anglers were checked and most anglers were reporting a slow bite with few fish observed. Nuisance animal calls were handled and a raccoon was delivered to a rehabber in the area.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports ice fishing has dominated the recreational activities in the area. Good ice and fair angling has contributed to a huge upswing in the amount of anglers seen on local lakes. During a small work detail with area officers, several violations were uncovered. Angling with extra line, angling with no license, angle with no license in possession, operating ATV with expired registration and operating snowmobile with expired registration were a few of the violations encountered. Follow up work left over from the firearms deer season was also done.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the first part of the week following up on telephone calls and office work. A trapping investigation continues and fishermen were checked around the Duluth area. Officer Duncan also participated in a work detail with neighboring officers and Forest Service law enforcement for the opening of trout fishing within the BWCA. Snowmobile enforcement was also worked over the weekend.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) finished up an investigation into a trapping violation where enforcement action was taken for failing to tend and illegally setting a trap. Car kill deer permits and other paperwork were done for incidentally trapped animals. A meeting was attended with the Minnesota Trapper’s Association and assistance with fur tagging was given at the winter meeting. Complaints of vehicles driving carelessly and on closed trails in the Nemadji State Forest were worked. Angling success is slow in the area with several people out trying their luck on area lakes. Time was spent on an older case from bear season which still is an ongoing investigation.
WREO Mike Scott worked with DNR Forestry on access issues for land locked person trying to obtain access to their hunting property through state land. Officer Scott checked anglers on area lakes with several other COs. Fishing was OK in some areas, but overall slowing down. Lots of folks out enjoying the nice weather. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, failure to display current registration on ATV and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobiles. Very cold weather and a lack of snow near the lake limited activity, but some snowmobiles found decent conditions in northern Lake and St Louis counties. Trout anglers were checked on a very nice opener in the BWCA with a few nice lake trout in the bag. Continued cold will only make for safer ice as the season continues. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked angling, snowmobile, ATV and trapping enforcement throughout the week. He also checked the local designated trout lakes for early anglers. Lots of anglers were checked throughout the week, with some having success. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile, angling and ATV violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week who were reporting a so-so bite on area lakes. Officer Lee completed a gray wolf depravation complaint with all information being turned over to the USDA. Officer Lee received a TIP report of a party taking over limits of crappie which is under investigation at this time. Officer Lee also assisted area law enforcement agencies with motor vehicle crashes this past week in the area. Enforcement action was taken this past week for no angling licenses and expired ATV registration.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked trappers and anglers. A fisher caught accidentally in a bobcat set was confiscated. Angling success has been slow and several people attempting to increase the odds were caught using extra lines and a few without the required license.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing enforcement. Ice conditions are improving with numerous days in freezing temperatures. Officer Guida instructed Nisswa area youth in snowmobile safety education. Their riding test is pending snowfall. Officer Guida also worked the New Year Holiday checking angling activity. Angling with extra lines and other license violations were detected and addressed. BCA DMT recertification was also completed.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked anglers, spearers and trappers during the week. Enforcement action included trespass, no licenses and alcohol/marijuana offenses.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers out report mixed success with northern anglers having the best luck. The ice conditions have improved and most anglers report close to 20 inches of ice on area lakes. Pressure ridges have been forming on some lakes and open water spots have developed. He worked on trapping issues and reports of accidental fisher. He checked small game hunters in the Pillsbury Forest. Archery deer hunters report a poor finish and not many deer observed. He worked with neighboring CO Collette checking anglers. Complaints of unlicensed fish houses, no angling license and unattended lines were reported.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Crow Wing County lakes for angling activity. Anglers are reporting a slow bite.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) checked area trap lines and spent time on the ice checking anglers. One angler on Big Sandy thought he would try to put his illegal length walleye down his fishing hole as CO Peterson pulled up to his fish house. The fish was dead and was not going to swim away for the angler. Several anglers were reminded that their houses needed to have reflective material, identifying information, and a shelter license if they were going to be left out overnight.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angling activity as ice conditions improved and more houses were left out. Even with the colder temperatures one truck had to get extracted from the ice, and ice ridges continue to pop up. ATVs are the go to means of ice travel which generated issues with registration, juvenile helmets, and lack of required training
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) monitored trapping and angling activity in the area. Anglers were checked on Mille Lacs Lake with some reported success. In one case, the officer located five unattended tip-ups nowhere near anglers. The officer monitored the area and found that the anglers went to town to run some errands. The tip-ups were seized and citations were issued.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen out on Mille Lacs Lake throughout the past week and weekend. Some nice perch were seen on the east and north end of the lake along with a few keeper walleyes, tullibee and eel pout. Multiple ATVs were found to have expired registration as the Officer was checking fishermen. Please take a look at your ATV registration before venturing out. The Officer followed up on a muzzleloader deer case and reports were forwarded to the county attorney’s office for charging. A wetland case from this past summer was checked on and found to now be in compliance with the WCA laws. The Officer received a call of a wolf stuck in a coyote trap. The Officer responded and with the help of the trapper the wolf was freed from the trap and ran back of into the woods. Lots of fishing, trapping, ATV and wolf related law questions were fielded throughout the past week and weekend. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing and ATV related law violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked traps throughout the week. Violations encountered included untagged snares, snares with illegal diameter loops, box sets without proper length overhangs and failing to tend. She received reports of wolves being taken illegally. The US Fish and Wildlife Service investigated these cases which both turned out to be coyotes.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked with Tribal Officers on an inter-agency project, which includes both tribal and non-tribal recreational opportunities. Some walleye were cooperating on Mille Lacs, with one house found with two keeper walleye. Violations found were numerous. Extra lines and unattended lines led the way, with no license in possession and un-marked fish houses also found. Public land was also patrolled for trapping and snaring activities.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) attended the annual meeting of the Minnesota Trappers Association. CO Grundmeier tagged furs for trappers from around the state and answered questions about trapping laws. Most trappers reported having pretty good luck catching bobcat and otter. Colder weather improved ice conditions and most area lakes had a large increase in fishing activity. Violations found out on the lakes included illegal operation of ATVs, fishing license violations, and angling with too many lines.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) worked on littering complaints; complaints of trucks stuck in the Chengwatana State Forest; and checked anglers throughout the week. He also spent time answering questions about trapping and registering animals, followed up on incidentally taken animals, and worked snowmobile complaints around Pokegama Lake. Persons insist on leaving public accesses, public lands, and public waters as their personal trash disposal sites. If you see or know of anyone dumping trash in these areas call the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen on area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. The fish bite was a bit slower especially with colder temperatures and wind conditions driving fishermen off the lakes. A 2013 poaching case came to a conclusion with four individuals pleading guilty. A call of littering on Mille Lacs Lake was addressed and an incidental caught fisher was turned in by a local trapper. Enforcement action was taken on fishing violations during the week and weekend.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports taking calls concerning trespass to access area lakes, injured deer calls and questions concerning AIS trailer training. The officer worked area lakes for fishing activity. The pheasant season came to a close with a few out on Saturday but Sunday’s weather deterred many people.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity. A slow bite was found throughout the station with a few crappies being seen. CO Silgjord participated in a work detail on Sauk Lake with good compliance being found.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) handled equipment maintenance. Over the past week, shelters reappeared on area lakes. Activity was good, until windchills made it miserable to be outside. Open investigations continued and/or were concluded.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs, and bow hunters. A TIP call was investigated and an individual was found to have shot a deer with his bow over a corn pile. It was also found that he did a lend/borrow deer tag with his wife earlier in the season making him over limit. Enforcement action for the week included no registration on ATV, drive ATV with passengers under 18 with no helmet, angling with extra lines, deer over limit, and hunting deer over bait. One lakeshore owner was found to have cut bull rush along his shore to get rid of the weeds for the summer.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week checking fishermen, hunters, and updating wetland cases. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, extra lines, no ATV registration, and transporting a loaded gun.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers last week. CO Mies also worked on a trap theft complaint. CO Mies also assisted Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and worked a tip call.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and pheasant hunters. An investigation was completed on an overlimit deer/hunt over bait case. Several expired snowmobile and ATV registrations were found.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy holiday week on area lakes. Many anglers took advantage of the days off of work to hit the lakes. Lots of permanent houses were moved onto lakes this past weekend. Anglers found good numbers of bass and small panfish. Ice conditions on area lakes had a large range. One lake had areas of 5 inches of ice up to 12 inches. A truck went through ice in 5 feet of water on the south side of South Center Lake. Violations included unregistered ATV, unattended lines, no license in possession and extra lines.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, small game hunters, ATVs and spear houses. Officer Londgren also followed up on trapping and hunting complaints, as well as taking calls on nuisance and injured animals.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Fish houses are showing up on area lakes with 15-18 inches of ice being the norm. Sunfish, crappie and northern pike were seen in buckets and on the ice. Enforcement action was taken on unattended lines and no ATV registration.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a snowmobile safety presentation at Hasty/Silver Creek Sportsman Club. Reller also checked anglers, a few snowmobilers and ATVers. A few walleyes are biting in the evening on several lakes, but the crappies seem to be the best bite. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and ATV registration violations, operating a snowmobile without safety certification and no ice shelter license.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent most of the week checking anglers throughout the Scott County area. Anglers still reported a slow fish bite with some spotty success on various lakes. She also received ice reports form several anglers and anticipates seeing far more permanent houses out after the weekend. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, and no registration displayed on a snowmobile.
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) responded to a dead trumpeter swan call near Patterson Lake. Aeration inspections were done on area lakes. State parks and trails were patrolled for snowmobile activity. Anglers were checked on special regulation lakes. Pheasant hunters were out trying their luck the last few days of the season. Enforcement action was taken for fish houses left on public access sites, angling without license in possession, angling without first procuring a license and shoot pheasants within 500 feet of an occupied residence.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking fishermen, monitoring trail activity and investigating complaints. CO Grewe reminds people venturing out on metro lakes to check ice conditions before traveling out. Violations included expired registration on both ATVs and snowmobiles, license issues with permanent fish houses and fishermen.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers in the Bloomington station and patrolled Fort Snelling State Park. He spent time on getting a newly issued snowmobile ready for the season and arranged schedules for several upcoming speaking engagements in his assigned areas. Administrative work was also performed as well as returning calls on ice fishing regulations.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Anthony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer worked on materials for an upcoming training session. Officer Salzer also answered hunting questions regarding city ordinances.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week monitoring recreational vehicle use, checking anglers, and patrolling WMAs for trapping activity and small game hunting. He also responded to a complaint of a deer that was shot out of season, and answered calls about predator hunting and trespassing. Violations for included illegal length walleye, fishing without a license, failure to display registration on an ATV, and no license in possession.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week checking angling, snowmobiling and small game activity. Angling pressure on area lakes continues to increase with improving ice conditions. Predator hunters are taking advantage of the clear winter nights pursuing coyotes.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers around the metro lakes. He patrolled and monitored snowmobile and ATV activity on lakes and trails. CO Pril also handled calls and checked aerator systems around Dakota County lakes.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working investigations, coyote hunters, and ice anglers. Pheasant hunters braved the weather to get out for the last week of hunting. Their success was very limited. Ice anglers concentrated on Lake Shetek but success was fair, at best. Enforcement action was taken for no ATV registration, operating a snowmobile on the inside slope of highway road ditch, no snowmobile safety certificate, and expired snowmobile registration.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) checked an ice dam clean out at a bridge and new tile draining into a ditch connected to a WMA. Pheasant hunters were out for the last week of pheasant hunting. Trappers were also out with the mild weather.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) reports ice fishing and small game activity were monitored during the past week. Anglers are having moderate success. Snowmobiling activity is non-existent, due to the lack of snow.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working ice fishing, snowmobiles, and small game enforcement. Hunters were checked enjoying the last few days of the archery deer and pheasant hunting seasons. Cold weather is helping with ice conditions but ice thickness still varies on lakes. A snowmobile accident occurred in southern Lyon County resulting in injuries. Assistance was given with a snowmobile safety class in Belview.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week taking phone calls, answering questions about licensing fish houses, coyote hunting, and fur registration. Time was also spent checking pheasant hunters during the final weekend of the season. Ice fishing in the area has picked up with some fishermen having luck and some are still reminded that they can only fish with two lines through the ice.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) followed up on a report of dumped deer carcasses and a possible bait pile. She checked ice anglers and ATVs during the week. Mueller also checked state park vehicle passes. A trespass complaint with a pheasant hunter was also dealt with.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked some snowmobile and ice angling enforcement this past week. Oberg also worked trapping and predator enforcement in the area. Time was also spent setting up snowmobile safety talks.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked pheasant hunters, coyote hunters and anglers. Angling activity is starting to increase again in the county on area lakes and the on the river. Gruhlke followed up with the Jackson County Attorney’s Office concerning an angling violation from last summer. He noted that aeration systems in the county had not been turned on as of December 30.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked ice anglers on area lakes. Ice conditions are improving quickly and ATV’s are being used more than foot travel. Small game hunters were checked.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) responded to a complaint about a missing dog possibly caught in a trap. Ice conditions are improving. Anglers were checked on area lakes and rivers. Inspections were completed on lake aeration systems.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working coyote hunting and trapping activity. A trespass complaint was received with enforcement action pending. A law and ethics presentation was given to a snowmobile safety class in Lyle. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, trapping, and ATV activity. Ice conditions seem to be firming up with the recent cold snap and anglers are finding fish on local lakes. Time was also spent monitoring snowmobile trails with trail conditions poor due to lack of snow.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, ATVs and snowmobile operators. Officer Ihnen patrolled state parks and public water accesses for violations as well as completed a number of aeration inspections on area lakes.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking anglers. Cold weather is firming up ice conditions, but anglers are still predominantly on foot. A trapping complaint was investigated with enforcement action pending.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week and weekend checking ice fishing activity. The fishing in the area is sporadic with some days being ok but most days have been slower. The weekend saw large numbers of anglers out taking advantage of the nice weather on Saturday. Some fishing violations were detected.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking coyote hunters; success was fair. Trespass and shooting too close to residences were complaints received. A few small game hunters were out with limited success. Time was spent on snowmobile complaints as well.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking anglers and a few snowmobiles. He took a complaint of a non-motorize trail user and snowmobiles not getting along on the state trail. Goose hunters were out on the last weekend. He took a complaint of sick animals and returned phone calls to the public.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports heavy ice fishing and the boats have been put away. He found an ice fisherman with too many fish that tried to put his extra fish down the hole but the floating fish would not disappear. He also found a person using marijuana at a state park that admitted to possessing felony drugs in his truck.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working more fishing and hunting activity during the week as well as follow up on a few investigations. Pan fishing activity continues to be high when the temps up and slower when it is a little colder. Some trappers were also contacted on the river as well as on some area creeks. Enforcement action once again involved license and unlawful method violations.
Rochester #2 – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO/Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) worked on some online flight training activities. Geving also attended to some equipment and hanger maintenance matters.
CO/Pilot Chris Lofstuen flew multiple wolf and fisher telemetry missions. A post maintenance test flight was flown and other administrative details were taken care of. A day was spent on Upper Red Lake checking anglers with a CO. Warning citations were issued for unmeasurable fish as well as an extra line.