Weekly Conservation Officer Report

Poles n Holes web 2015




Warroad: One angler seemed to think that 2 lines down one hole, plus another line, would increase his odds of catching some fish. When asked why he had 2 lines in one hole, the angler replied that it was really just to keep his minnow warmed up.

Hibbing: An individual known to the officer as not legally being able to drive was stopped for driving after cancellation. The driver tried to switch places with the passenger undetected, however the officer saw the switcheroo when he caught up to the truck. The individual also had drug paraphernalia in possession.


The rest of the reports:

District 1 – Baudette area


CO Ben Huener (Roseau) attended a district meeting in Thief River Falls and checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for possessing marijuana and angling without a license.


CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad, the Northwest Angle, Lake of the Woods and the Beltrami Island State Forest. Enforcement action was taken for angle without license in possession, improper display of snowmobile registration, and possessing an unmeasurable walleye.


CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) checked people angling on Lake of the Woods and spearing on the Rainy River. Time was also spent patrolling multiple snowmobile trails both on the lake and in the surrounding area. One angler seemed to think that 2 lines down one hole, plus another line, would increase his odds of catching some fish. When asked why he had 2 lines in one hole, the angler replied that it was really just to keep his minnow warmed up. Enforcement action taken included no angling license in possession, angling with extra lines, angling with unattended lines, possession of unmeasurable fish, possession of dressed fillets, illegal length walleye, and failure to display registration and identification for ice shelter.


CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) fielded calls from concerned anglers about being harassed on Lake of the Woods by a resort owner saying that they cannot put private fish houses in a certain area. All anglers please remember, if you can legally access a lake, you can fish where you want, with a few minor exceptions. CO Prachar worked on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River patrolling for ice angling and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action taken included angling with extra lines, fail to display registration on snowmobile and ATV, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) checked area anglers and snowmobiling activities. A complaint of a trap that had not been tended recently on a local WMA was investigated. The trap was located and charges are pending for fail to check traps and unlawfully setting body gripping trap. Other enforcement action for the week included snowmobile registration violations and no angling license in possession.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes, trapping, predator hunting and snowmobiling activity. Time was spent on commercial inspections, checking anglers on a designated trout lake which was recently opened to winter fishing and vehicle maintenance. CO Regas worked an Upper Red Lake detail with CO Chihak and CO Davis. Violations encountered included angling with extra lines, unattended lines, possession of illegal length walleye, possession of fillets on the ice and angling license violations.


District 2 – Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers on local lakes. Snowmobile operators were also checked on the Red Lake River and grant-in-aid trails. Time was also spent working the annual winter lake trout opener in Cook County. Several trout anglers and snowmobile operators were encountered.


CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked snowmobile, trapping, angling, ATV and predator hunting activities. He continued to close out a litter case, participated in a radio talk show and spoke about laws at a snowmobile safety class. Thanks to all of the volunteer instructors.


CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and shelters, answered a few wildlife nuisance complaints.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked fishermen on area lakes. Anglers are reporting mixed success. CO Vollbrecht worked with CO Holt on Red Lake throughout the week. Anglers are reminded the walleye limit drops from three fish to two fish on January 23. CO Vollbrecht monitored snowmobile activity on area trails. Trails are in poor condition due to limited snowfall, but a few people were out enjoying the trails.


CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) focused on angling activity throughout the week. Recreational vehicle activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest was monitored and time was spent working Upper Red Lake with CO Vollbrecht. Time was also spent checking into a minnow trapping complaint. Enforcement activity for the week included angling without license in possession, angling with extra lines, over limit of walleye and possession of drug paraphernalia.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking calls of dogs chasing deer, another vehicle through the ice on Ottertail Lake and assisting the Minnesota State Patrol with a couple of vehicles that had slid off the road during a freezing rain event. CO Vinton tracked down the owner of a shelter that had been vandalized and left on the ice in pieces. The owner was very grateful for the call. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration on an ATV, no license in possession and extra lines.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked anglers and spearers, fish activity was slow. Enforcement action was taken on numerous violations of failure to display shelter license while unoccupied.


CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen, doing aeration inspections, assisted other officer with complaint of party shooting nuisance turkeys and assisted sheriff’s office with a drunk driver. Fishing action was spotty with most fishermen not having great luck.


CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area waters. CO Warren attended a youth ice angling tournament on Detroit Lake. The tournament had a great turnout of area youth. A few fish were caught but each angler was able to take home a door prize. Anglers were checked on Hanson Lake which was opened this past weekend for trout angling. Anglers checked were excited but had a pretty slow bite. CO Warren monitored activity at the snowmobile races on Detroit Lake. Follow up was conducted in regards to possible violation on area WMAs and a trapper who failed to register an otter was contacted.


CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity in the Moorhead area. With the fresh snow several eager snowmobilers were out, but there is still not enough snow in the area for grooming. Angling activity was high and it seems the bite has been a little more consistent than past weeks. A work detail on local lakes was worked with neighboring officers. The officer answered calls from the public regarding nuisance turkeys, ice fishing methods, and issued car killed deer permits. Enforcement action was taken for angling without license in possession, angling without license, angling with extra lines, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia


District 3 – Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports receiving questions about AIS training and speaking with local prosecutors about violations that occurred during the firearms deer season. Angling pressure continues to be monitored with shelters and anglers checked. The lack of snow in the area is providing easy travel for vehicles and fish houses on area lakes. However, fishing success has been moderate at best for most.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked with the county attorney finalizing a case. Ice anglers were checked, finding scattered success. Several ice houses still remain unmarked or not displaying shelter tags. Coyote hunters were out in full force after a recent dusting of snow.


CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked angling and related activity. Numerous complaints were investigated including litter and ATV violations. Aerations inspections were worked.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATVs and snowmobiles. Several issues were found through the week including fish over limit, illegal length fish, operate a snowmobile without registration, operate ATV without registration, unattended lines, fishing without a license, fishing with extra lines, and a warrant. CO Osborne responded to a call on Lake Ida when a vehicle went through the ice on a pressure ridge and assisted the occupants of the vehicle to get safely back to shore.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked both trapping and fishing activity this past week. Numerous anglers were cited for angling with extra lines, with instances ranging anywhere from one to six extra fishing lines. Several walleye, sunfish and crappie over limit cases were made as well. One group of anglers from out of state was found with 40 crappie and sunfish over their limit and one angler on Lake Miltona had nearly twice his limit of walleyes. CO Lawler assisted CO Osborne with making a deer over limit case from 2012, as well as deer license lending/borrowing the past few years. Assistance was also given to the sheriff’s office with a vehicle stranded on the ice after hitting an ice heave.


CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on ice fishing activity and ATV operation. Anglers are still out in above average numbers but fishing success has been spotty at best. Enforcement action was taken for people failing to display ATV registrations, fishing with extra lines and unmarked fish houses. CO Anderson attended and checked anglers at the Donnelly Rod and Gun Club fishing tournament on Perkins Lake this past weekend. Fishing complaints in the vacant Glenwood station were handled and the local police department was assisted with a stuck vehicle. Aeration inspections were completed and numerous calls from the public were addressed. CO Anderson and RTO Frank Rezac conducted an ATV safety instructor recertification class


Wheaton – vacant.


District 4 – Wadena area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked anglers and shelters on area lakes. An injured animal call was taken and equipment maintenance issues were addressed. Follow up was conducted on a hunting while intoxicated case.


CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen and trappers. Officer Hunter located a snare that had not been checked. CO Hunter assisted neighboring officers with a big game violation.


CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked ice anglers and noted that ice breaks are still causing safety issues. Trapping activity was monitored with mainly coyotes being taken.


CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on trapping, and sport fishing activity. Nothing unusual to report. Received multiple calls with questions regarding winter trout fishing. Two vehicles broke through pressure ridges on Leech Lake in a 14 hour time span, luckily no one was injured.


CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) continued working ice anglers on area lakes. Winter trout fishermen were catching some nice fish on the opening weekend. Some eager snowmobilers were checked on the ice and road ditches. ATV operators were also checked. Trapping activity was monitored. Enforcement action was taken this week for angling with extra lines and license and registration issues while operating ATVs, snowmobiles, and angling.


CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling and spearing activity. Angling and spearing success still remains low in the Longville area lakes. Snowmobilers continue to hope for snow. Ice conditions remain good, however, reports continue to come in of vehicles and ATV’s going through the ice. Anglers are reminded to exercise extreme caution when traveling on the ice.


CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the ice fishermen, had a truck drop front end thru ice break on Lake Alexander. Teach laws at Staples snowmobile class.


CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) checked ice fishing activity and ATV registrations on the lakes. Work continues on some open cases. Final interviews were conducted and other cases were closed.


District 5 – Eveleth area


CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports two snowmobile safety classes were given in the Int’l Falls and Littlefork areas. Snowmobile traffic over weekend has increased tremendously, with one reported accident and two snowmobiles breaking through at pressure ridges in Kabetogama area. People are encouraged to slow down and use caution around pressure ridges and stay on the trails. Enforcement action for the week was mainly snowmobile registration issues.


CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) assisted Voyageurs National Park staff in locating several radio collard wolves in the park’s surrounding areas. CO Van Asch also attended a snowmobile safety class with CO Kittelson at Littlefork High School that had a number of eager youths in attendance. Time was also spent monitoring snowmobile activity in the International Falls and Ray areas. The weather provided a few good days of riding with many hitting the trails and several contacts were made with people coming from all over the state to ride. The trail system became a bit run down by the end of the weekend and could use another snowfall. Enforcement action was taken for fail to display valid snowmobile registration and angling without a license in possession.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling activities, snowmobile trails are in very poor condition due to inadequate snow. Forest roads were checked as were timber sales, fishing reports overall are poor.


CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reported that with increasing snow cover, snowmobiling activity increased. The past week also marked the trout opener for the remainder of the state outside the BWCA. The officer assisted Ely PD with local speed enforcement on sleds. The trout opener was spent with CO Williams working trout lakes in the Ely area. The walleye bite on Vermilion is still a little slow and sporadic, but trout anglers seemed to be having some success. Enforcement action: ATV in the BWCA, a number of extra line violators, no snowmobile registration, failure to display snowmobile registration, no angling license in possession, no trout stamp in possession, cutting firewood without a permit, motor vehicle on a snowmobile trail, snowmobile speeding, and no registration displayed on ice shelter.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobiles and the winter trout fishing opener. Trout fishing violations included no trout stamp; possess live minnows and angle with extra lines on a designated trout lake. An illegally taken wolf case is currently being investigated. An individual known to the officer as not legally being able to drive was stopped for driving after cancellation. The driver tried to switch places with the passenger undetected, however the officer saw the switcheroo when he caught up to the truck. The individual also had drug paraphernalia in possession. Other enforcement action was taken on unregistered snowmobile, no angling license in possession, and angle with extra lines.


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) completed an investigation of a dog that was caught in an untagged snare by locating the trapper who placed the snare and issuing him a citation for the violation. An unlicensed ice shelter that CO Frericks found on a lake last season showed up again on the same lake this season. This time CO Frericks was able to locate the owner and issue him a citation for the violation from last season. Crappie and pan fish angling has slowed down considerably. CO Frericks assisted Ely area CO’s in checking trout anglers on Ely area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and no trout stamp.


CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked in-land trout opener and found numerous groups of people out enjoying the nice weather; lakers, splake, and rainbows where being caught. Night time snowmobile enforcement was worked with little sled activity seen. Time was spent on equipment maintenance and office work.


Ray – vacant.


District 6 – Two Harbors area


CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a busy holiday weekend. Weather for the trout fishing opener was some of the nicest for the event and that brought out the anglers.  One angler should have stayed out longer, or had lunch on the ice. While he was out of sight inside his cabin, Officer Manning was checking his tip-ups and waiting for him to come tend his lines. Eventually the officer tracked him up to the cabin, explained the reason for the visit, and provided him with some paperwork.


CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with other officer for the winter trout opener.

The nice weekend and great traveling conditions did not improve activity as it was down from previous years; however, violations were up. The officers encountered over limits, extra line, unattended lines, no fishing license/trout stamps in possession and snowmobile registration violations. The CO’s also encountered BWCA violations.


CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the trout opener over the weekend and although it was relatively uneventful, the fishing was good. One group from Duluth possessed a bag of Lake Superior smelt on a pristine trout lake and had no idea about the hazard of transporting potentially VHS infected smelt to other waters. Luckily the fish were seized before any had been used. Another local party was busily trying to get an extra line out of the hole as the officer watched patiently. He then threw the line and plopped down onto a couch and crossed his legs as if he’d been there watching football on TV all day.


CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked with officers up the Gunflint Trail for the opening of winter trout season. Most anglers had a few fish and enjoyed the warmer temperatures but lake travel and trail conditions were extremely rough from drifting snow. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations and excessive snowmobile muffler noise.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked angling enforcement throughout the week. Some additional weekend snow helped the trails out. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


CO Sean Williams (Ely) winter trout season opener was very active, with villages of ice houses appearing overnight on most of the trout lakes in the Ely area. Success was fair to good, with a distinct morning and afternoon bite. Violations included taking trout during the closed season, angle with an extra line, and angle without license in possession.


CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the trout opener. Weather was great, and CO Schottenbauer was surprised to see so few people out. Time was also spent working other fishing and snowmobile activity.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the trout opener with area officers. The weather was one of the warmest the officer remembers. A few anglers were happy catching their limit of trout. Time was also spent on US/Canada border lakes and other remote backcountry lakes. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, live minnows on trout lakes, ATV registration and snowmobile registration.


District 7 – Grand Rapids area


CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, investigated a trespass case on state land, and wrapped up firearm deer season cases. Enforcement action taken for trespass on state land, posting state land, no trout stamp in possession, possess live minnows on a designated trout lake, and possess small amount of marijuana.


CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked trespass complaints, trout opener, snowmobile activity, and gave a law talk at a snowmobile safety class. Violations included snowmobile on the roadway, possess a small amount of marijuana, angle with an extra line, angle more than 200 feet away of a tip-up, drug paraphernalia, trespass, no license in possession, no trout stamp in possession, live minnows on a designated trout lake, and non-preserved minnows on a trout lake.


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, investigated trapping complaints, monitored snowmobile activity and attended K-9 training. Area panfish anglers are having good success. Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra lines and license issues.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers with pan-fishing activity heating up. Local lakes have come out of the mid-winter slump and are starting to produce limits of nice crappies and bluegills. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession and operating an unregistered snowmobile.


CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles and state trails. He also spoke at several school classes during the week.


CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week patrolling area lakes for fishing activity and following up on TIP reports.


CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATV activity and trout anglers this past week. CO Velsvaag also checked snowmobilers as conditions have greatly improved. CO Velsvaag received several calls about the wolf relisting and a litter complaint around fish houses.


District 8 – Duluth area


CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended court on a DWI arrest from last year and spoke to a group of Cub Scouts in Carlton about the job of a Conservation Officer and the K9 unit. K9 training was attended in Grand Rapids with other K9 units from around the region. Fishing and trapping activity was checked in the area. Not a lot of activity to report. Fishing is spotty and a lot of the trapping activity has declined in the area. A report of an owl that was hit by a car was responded to. The owl was captured and brought to a rehabber to see if they could help it.


CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) spent lots of time was checking ice anglers again this week as access to favorite winter fishing holes remains excellent. A few maintenance issues were dealt with. A presentation was given to a large group of students receiving their Snowmobile Safety certificates.


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to spend time working on a trapping investigation. Some fishing enforcement was also worked around the Duluth area. Several questions from the public were answered and several telephone calls were answered. An ATV trespass complaint was also completed. Officer Duncan spent several days in the Grand Marais area working the opening of winter trout angling on inland lakes.


CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes throughout the week. Anglers were reporting a slow to fair bite on pan fish. CO Humphrey checked several traps in the area for compliance. CO Humphrey assisted an area trapper releasing an incidentally caught timber wolf. CO Humphrey signed a criminal complaint on a big game case involving the unlawful possession and transportation of a fawn deer from this past spring. Violations for fish house identification, licensing, OHV registration, and untagged traps were encountered


WREO Mike Scott checked anglers on area lakes and with the warm weather many anglers were out enjoying the day. Fishing has slowed down some but plenty of northern pike were seen taken and several limits of crappies. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, fail to display current fish house license, and fail to display current registration on ATV. Officer Scott was requested to conduct some training with the St. Louis County Rescue Squad, Search and Rescue, and area K-9 on the best way to handle traps and deal with their K-9 partners should they become caught in one. Hands on training was conducted with those present after a short classroom training about how to release a trapped animal and the steps to take to prevent possible incidents. Minnesota Trappers Association provided packets with zip ties and instructions for releasing an animal should they get caught in a trap. Participants were very thankful for the information and hands on training provided. Officer Scott staffed an AIS booth at the Minnesota Green Expo at the Minneapolis Convention center where information was exchanged with vendors, contractors and others who are in the business of working around and in water as well as selling water garden supplies. The booth was sponsored by the Minnesota Sea Grant folks.


Lake Superior Marine Unit


CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked and anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. Some trout lakes were checked for the opener. Reports were also completed.


CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked inland trout anglers on an abnormally warm trout opener. Some lakes were very busy, but the fishing seemed to be slower than previous years. Shore anglers were checked along Lake Superior with a few herring and salmon showing up. Snowmobile activity is still very low due to poor snowfall. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.


District 9 – Brainerd area


CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) reports checking several anglers on area lakes. She followed up on an over limit tip of crappies and assisted a neighboring officer with some additional follow up.


CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including investigating suspected predator depredation of livestock, inspecting fish houses on area lakes for marking and licensing compliance, checking fishing activity on area lakes, handling incidentally caught fisher, and working the new winter trout fishing season opener on the mine pit lakes in the Cuyuna State Recreational Area.  Numerous anglers and pike spearers were found out on the mine pit lakes trying their luck on bodies of water that had previously been closed to fishing since the 1960s and 1970s. Although the trout bite was found to be overall very slow, one 38-inch lake trout was found to be taken, and several pike spearers were found having success and taking quality size pike. Enforcement contacts were made for issues including no trout stamps, fish house marking and licensing, and ATV and snowmobile registration violations.


CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers were still out trying their luck. Violations he observed were unattended lines and extra hooks. He investigated a report of special regulation violation on Mission Lake. The angler dressed and cleaned an illegal length northern. The angler explained he didn’t know of the special regulations and a citation was issued. The ice conditions are good; however, slush and large pressure ridges have developed on some lakes. He worked with a Cass County Deputy on complaints of speeding snowmobilers on Gull Lake. Other violations observed were no safety certificate and expired registration.


CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers who were reporting so-so success on area lakes. Officer Lee received a call in regards to strange activity of a gray wolf. The reporting party stated that the wolf entered a shed pulled from it a deer carcass and tore it apart in the yard. The reporting party has had deprivation issues with wolves and cattle in the past with the most recent occurring in mid-December of this past year. The information was confirmed by Officer Lee and passed on to the USDA Wildlife Services. After investigation by USDA Wildlife Services, and Officer Lee the incident was confirmed a personal safety issue with traps being set by the USDA Wildlife Services. Enforcement actions taken this past week included no shelter registration and no angling license.


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and all-terrain vehicle enforcement. Over limit information was received and investigations are pending. Officer Guida saw two youth operating all-terrain vehicles across a divided state highway and continued directly down the paved county road at a high rate of speed. The youth, who were safety certified, were stopped and the adult allowing the illegal operation was notified and enforcement action was taken. Both youth were reminded of the training that they had taken and the conditions that need to exist in order for youth to operate in the right of way.


CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling enforcement throughout the week. Assistance was also given to Officer Hadrits with new ice angling opportunities opening in the Crosby area mine lakes.


District 10 – Mille Lacs area


CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked spearing and angling activity including increased traffic from a local northern contest. Getting around on the ice continues to generate violations with lack of ATV registration and training. Several questions were answered regarding new mine pit fishing opportunities and invasive species trailer requirements coming up this summer.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers on Mille Lacs Lake; an ice house was found with unattended lines. Further investigation into the unattended lines led to an armed felon. The party was arrested for the possession of the firearm and illegal transportation.


CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working fishermen out on Mille Lacs Lake during the week and weekend. Some nice perch and also tullibee are still being seen and most folks were happy with the milder weather to fish in. Assistance was given to the Sheriff’s Office on an alarm call and a missing juvenile incident. A car kill deer permit was issued and lots of law questions related to fishing, atv, snowmobiling, and trapping were fielded during the week. A fishing related TIP complaint was investigated and found to be unfounded. Some ATV and snowmobile activity was monitored on area lakes and roads throughout the week and weekend. A call regarding an injured deer was fielded and several smaller lakes in the Malmo station were monitored for fishing activity. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing violations.


CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) assisted Pine County Sheriff’s Office with the recovery of a burned out Class 2 ATV. The ATV was found on the Snake River about a quarter-mile from a public access. Everything on the vehicle was gone except the frame and engine. The VIN number was located and computer checks showed that it was reported as stolen from another county. Speldrich attended a meeting to discuss future plans for the General Andrew’s Nursery and its grounds. She received calls regarding nuisance wolves and questions about angling licenses.


CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked a multiple district work crew for fishermen and recreational vehicle users. Some panfish were observed in the buckets, along with some pike. Trapping activities were also monitored. CO Starr found that the ice on Mille Lacs Lake is shifting, causing some new pressure ridges. Enforcement action was taken for a motorist who crossed into a non-motorized area with a truck. The elderly driver claimed to be lost and re-directed to a legal area.


CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) worked the trout opener that turned out to be very busy due to mild weather. Record numbers of trout anglers took part in the opener and many were successful and went home with good numbers of rainbow, brown and lake trout in their coolers. Violations dealt with included angling license violations and ATV registration violations. A couple complaints of wolves killing deer and wolves hanging around residences were also taken. Time was also spent giving a presentation at a Minnesota Deer Hunters Association meeting.


CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week answering questions about nuisance animals, fish house licensing and identification, and concerns with litter on the ice. CO Wynn followed up on complaints of abandoned equipment found in the Chengwatana State Forest. The equipment was later found out to be stolen items and the case was turned over to the Pine County Sheriff’s Department. CO Wynn also checked anglers, and monitored activity at local public accesses.


WREO Rob Haberman (WREO) checked anglers on local lakes in his assigned area. WREO Haberman also responded to a trespassing and shooting call in Fifty Lakes and found individuals were trespassing on the callers property and shot a porcupine. The suspects were gone on arrival. WREO Haberman also attended a TEP meeting in Aitkin County and worked on wetland and public waters cases. WREO Haberman also testified in a failure to restore a wetland case in Crow Wing County.


District 11 – St. Cloud area


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports working with neighboring officers with follow up to the big game season. The officer also assisted neighboring officers with aeration inspections and fishing enforcement. Officer fielded calls regarding possible fishing violations.


CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports several people out enjoying the milder weekend weather. Work continued on a WCA case. A trapping violation is under investigation.


CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs, and snowmobiles. A call of dogs chasing down a 12-point buck and killing it was handled and is being investigated. Enforcement action for the week included possession of marijuana, unattended line, no registration on snowmobile and no license in possession. Thesing spoke on a local radio show about current topics.


CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) took a number of calls for car kill deer permits and also received a call from a landowner that had found a fresh deer gut pile on their property. CO Kuske had a landowner burn down an old farm house that was on the property without getting a permit from DNR Forestry. Part of the permit process is removing the prohibited materials on the house before burning it. Since this had not been done the landowner now gets to talk to the county judge about the incident


CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers, checked trappers in Stearns and Wright counties, and checked aeration systems.


WREO Keith Bertram spent the week working wetland follow-up and checking anglers. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, unattended lines, and extra lines.


CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) would like to remind fish house owners to read the requirements for shelter identification in the regulation booklet. While doing checks on just a few lakes over 40 houses were found to be in violation of the basic rule to have identification on your house when it is unattended. The early bird catches the worm, so does the CO checking fishermen at sunrise and finds a father and juvenile son using 8 lines to take fish. They attempted to hide the extra lines under the floor of the house but that trick has been tried too many times to fool the average CO. Besides a ticket, the father was scolded for involving his kid in illegal activity. CO Kuske sponsored a work crew in his area where officers on ATVs patrolled a number of lakes, taking enforcement action for extra lines, no fishing license, expired ATV registrations and fish house identification. The crew of CO’s from D10, D11 and D12 received positive comments from the public for the stepped up enforcement presence.


CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity. The crappie bite has picked up a bit but only in a few areas. A trapping complaint was handled with enforcement action being taken for failing to tend. CO Silgjord also spoke with the county attorney regarding an upcoming case.


St. Cloud – vacant.


District 12 – Princeton area


CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and ATVs. Violations were found for extra lines and unmarked ice shelters. Several animal complaints were handled.


CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers on local lakes and found that most anglers were finding a few walleye during in low light conditions, but most were targeting crappies with fair success. Reller also investigated possible illegal placing of sand blankets on some lake shorelines in the area. Contractors and landowners should be checking with area hydrologist before working within the lake basin. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and drug possession.


CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He took enforcement action on a number of fish house violations and angling violations. He followed up on a Big Game investigation. He answered an injured swan call in the Monticello area; a rehabilitator was notified. He checked snowmobilers on area lakes.


CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy week on area lakes. The warmer temperatures had many anglers on area lakes. Northern and small panfish were in the majority of bag limits. Numerous ice shelters were also found without identification or shelter license. Violations also included no license in possession, angle without a license and fail to display ATV registration.


CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) followed up on lend/borrow of deer licenses from the past season. Officer Londgren also checked anglers, shelters, trappers and spoke at several snowmobile safety classes.


CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Time was also spent working off the ATV in Morrison County. Most fishermen had only a few fish on the ice and many reported a very slow bite.


District 13 – West Metro area


CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the trout opener with CO Le finding lots of anglers out enjoying the warm weather and catching lots of fish. Litter complaints on area lakes left behind by anglers were investigated. Snowmobile and ATV enforcement was worked on lakes and trails.


CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers, snowmobilers and investigating complaints. Violations included shelter license and identification issues, no fishing license in possession and possessing a small amount of marijuana/paraphernalia.


CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent the week enforcing ice angling and recreational vehicle operations. The fishing pressure has remained steady on many lakes in Scott County but the bite has continued to be slow. She investigated and took enforcement action on abandoned property at local accesses, angling without license in possession and complaints from anglers regarding youth vehicle operations on the frozen waters. Several people had questions regarding ice conditions and while many are driving on the ice, she reminded them all that no ice is safe and to proceed with caution at all times.


CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ATV and snowmobiling activity in Scott and Carver counties. He checked ice fishermen and patrolled state parks trails in the metro area. He also talked to firearms safety instructors in the Hmong community about planning for the summer classes and assisted Officer Le with a deer case in St. Paul.


CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the temporary assigned stations of Bloomington and Fort Snelling State Park for angling and trail usage. He worked with CO Walter and CO Grewe on Lake Minnetonka checking angling and snowmobiling activity. He spoke at a game feed event in Saint Anthony Village for a group of 80 people. He completed a case of over-limit on deer, transport untagged deer, failed to registered deer. Enforcement action taken for no shelter ID, no vehicle permit in State Park, over limit of deer, failing to give a gift receipt of wildlife, illegally transporting deer, and failing to register deer.



District 14 – East Metro area


CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) reports working anglers throughout Dakota and Scott counties. The bite appeared to pick up with the increase in temperatures over the week. Coyote hunters were out and about with very limited success. A ginseng case was investigated with a neighboring officer. Enforcement action for the week included, possession of drug paraphernalia, angle without license in possession, trespass, and driving under revocation.


CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked snowmobile and ATV activity on area lakes. Ice anglers were also checked around the metro area lakes and citations were issued for fishing with extra lines. He provided a ride along for an individual who was interested in becoming a conservation officer. CO Pril also responded to miscellaneous animal complaints.


WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week working angling activity and wetland related case work. WREO Block also attended a civil hearing regarding an AIS violation from this past fall. Angling activity has increased significantly in the area due to improving conditions.


CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) checked numerous anglers on area lakes over the past week. She is working on a trapping case, worked ATV enforcement and handled nuisance and injured animal calls. CO Kruse continued working on a deer case and worked with another student from Century College that she is mentoring. Violations included possess drug paraphernalia, no shelter license, no reflective material on shelter, no fishing license, and no identification on shelter.


CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working on deer cases from the 2014 deer season.

He spent time doing recreational vehicle enforcement, checking anglers and working the trout opener on Cenaiko Lake. CO Arntzen also answered questions about the new AIS trailer sticker and snowmobile laws. Violations for the week included angling without a license, no trout stamp, taking trout during closed hours and angling with extra lines.


CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) checked anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. He received a TIP report of a dog caught in a trap in Bayport WMA. CO Johnson took down the TIP Wall of Shame at the Sportshow with the assistance of CO Pril. CO Johnson received a call of an injured Eagle in Oakdale.


CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Washington counties for angling and snowmobiling activity. CO Salzer assisted CO Arntzen in patrolling Forest Lake where several violations were detected. Officer Salzer also worked the trout opener on Cenaiko Lake with lots of trout being taken on the stocked lake.



District 15 – Marshall area


CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) handled numerous complaints pertaining to coyote hunters. Fishing activity remains strong on Lac Qui Parle with anglers finding crappie and walleye. Warmer temperatures have caused the ice on area rivers to deteriorate.


CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) continued to focus enforcement efforts on ice fishing, snowmobile, and predator hunting enforcement. Above normal temperatures has caused some problems with ice conditions on a few lakes and has also brought snowmobile activity to a halt. Fish house owners are reminded that it is a violation to leave houses at public accesses. An illegal burn investigation was conducted with enforcement action being taken for burning prohibited materials. The first annual “Save the Birds” coyote contest was worked on Saturday. The event was put on by the local NWTF and PF chapters.


CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH radio. Warm weather has opened several aeration systems so extra caution must be used. Enforcement action was taken on numerous extra line violations which were encountered on several different lakes.


WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) met with a county attorney on an APM violation. Snowmobiles and ATVs were checked for registration. Coyote hunters and ice fishermen were checked and AIS info was issued.


District 16 – New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked ice anglers and ATV operators. He conducted aeration inspections. Denz also followed up on deer cases.


CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) took the opportunity during the week to work with other officers when they did a check on a local fur buyer in a neighboring station. The rest of the week was busy with ice fishermen. Lots of anglers took advantage of the nice weather over the trout opener and some had luck catching a few trout. Time was also spent checking trappers and some investigations are ongoing.


CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers and ATVs during week. A couple of ice houses where found to be marked improperly on the outside or were missing shelter licenses. Although the warm weather brought out more anglers, the fish catch in the area was still poor. A report of damage to a public access was also taken.


CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) checked area anglers and the remaining snowmobilers that are left in the area. Oberg also checked on a call he received regarding a dead deer. Commercial enforcement was also worked.


CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding injured wildlife. He spent the majority of the week working angling, snowmobile, ATV and predator hunting enforcement. Warm weather and consistent weather patterns brought increased angling activity and better success.


CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers as well as snowmobile and ATV activity within the county. Gruhlke responded to several phone calls for information.


CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted angling license and shelter inspections on area lakes. Warmer weather moved in creating slushy areas with water next to shelters. One lake sustained numerous shelter break-ins resulting in damage and equipment theft. One shelter was observed with six inches of water around it. The Granada snowmobile safety class was taught. Predator hunters were checked.



District 17 – Mankato area


CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports good ice is allowing anglers to access lakes. ATV activity has increased with the warmer temperatures. Lake inspections were completed.


CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, snowmobile, and ATV activity. A snowmobile safety class was attended in Hope. The officer worked a snowmobile event on Cannon Lake. Follow up investigations were performed on complaints received.


CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking anglers. More trucks and hard-side fish houses are on the ice, but still not as many as usual for this time of year. Panfish are coming off area lakes.


CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes and rivers. Snowmobile and ATV activity were worked during the week. The officer also assisted with a detail at Upper Red Lake.


CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked fishermen and snowmobilers. CO Ihnen responded to TIP calls and other complaints from the public. Additional time was spent investigating a litter complaint at a public water access.


CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working coyote hunting, snowmobile, and angling activity. An angling enforcement detail was worked on Upper Red Lake. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.


District 18 – Rochester area


CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) report spending the week checking angling activity and working on cases from the fall. Time was spending checking angling activity over the weekend. Numerous anglers were out taking advantage of the nice weather by boat and on the ice. Some fishing violations were detected.


CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers and a few snowmobiles and taught the laws and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class.


CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success was mixed, but some nice northerns were seen taken. Heyn also worked on equipment and other case follow up.


CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports ice fishermen were out in good numbers with the warmer temps. Sauger / walleye continue to bite below local dam sites. He investigated a TIP call involving a deer taken out of season. Enforcement was taken. Coyote hunters are taking advantage of the small cover. Attended a volunteer instructor meeting at the Gopher State Sportsman Club


CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports closing out deer cases from the fall. Time was also spent checking a few snowmobilers out earlier in the week before the warm up. Riding was fair to poor. CO Boyum also checked coyote hunters and small game hunters. A few trappers are out snaring coyotes and having some luck. He reports seeing a fair numbers of pheasants out in the field scratching for corn.


CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing enforcement on the backwaters of the Mississippi River. The nicer weather brought out more fishermen but the winter success has slowed down a little. The coyote hunters are still having some success. He also worked on some big game investigations from the fall.


CO Tom Hemker (Winona) continues to spend time checking ice fishermen. The area lakes seem to be getting more pressure than usual winter fishing. Hemker also spent time in St. Paul during the week.


Training Section


Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.


Aviation Section


CO Pilot Bob Geving flew an otter survey along the Mississippi River; much evidence observed and tracks counted. Geving also flew enforcement support recon flights for ATV and angling activities.


Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) flew multiple wolf and fisher telemetry flights. A fish shelter/lake reconnaissance flight was also flown with CO Vollbrecht. Aircraft maintenance issues were accomplished for several aircraft.


NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on the moose survey in northeast part of the state. Snow conditions were good throughout the majority of the plots surveyed. Many moose were observed, and appeared in good health. Tricky winter weather always plays a part in flying in the extreme northeast part of the state.


NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew helicopters up to Ely for the start of the moose survey. Weather made it interesting at times but he made good progress for the first week of the survey.


CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of primarily flying wolf pack location flights were wolf pack numbers are counted. Jensen also flew a flight in northeast Minnesota to evaluate the angling activity in more remote lakes of this region. Assistance was given to position aircraft for the upcoming moose survey. Cold clear weather gave more opportunity to perform these survey/enforcement flights.





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