CO Chris Vinton (Perham) Another dog owner was contacted after it was reported her dog was chasing deer. She agreed to watch her Chihuahuas more closely.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports last Thursday through Saturday brought out a large number of snowmobiles, but the warm weather and high traffic took their toll on the trails. Many of those stopped for speeding had excuses such as: they should get a break because they’re a local, their snowmobile wasn’t running right so they needed to open it up and clean it out, it’s too dangerous to look down at your speedometer when you’re going that fast, and they’re an experienced rider.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked snowmobile and angling activity. The Officer caught a group of ice anglers fishing with extra lines. After the officer issued the proper paperwork and was walking away, he heard one of the anglers address the rest of the group: “When I tell you to reel up the extra lines, I mean it!”
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) He responded to several injured wildlife complaints during the week. One involved a muskrat that traveled in the undercarriage of a car from the Sax-Zim Bog in northern Minnesota to Minneapolis. The muskrat was captured, and taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville.
The rest of the reports:
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. Fishing has been slow and the recent warm weather melted much of the snow on the big lake. A detail was worked on Lake of the Woods with neighboring officers, Lt. Znajda, and Ontario Conservation Officers. Violations for the week include operating an unregistered snowmobile, possess over limit of walleyes/saugers, angle with extra lines, angle without a license, and possession of marijuana.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad, the Northwest Angle and Lake of the Woods area. Enforcement action was taken for angling w/o a license in possession and possessing an unmeasurable fish.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) worked a detail on Lake of the Woods with several other officers from the district, as well as two Ontario Wardens. Warm temps caused the snowmobile trails to deteriorate, but still did not discourage people from getting out. Enforcement action taken for possession of dressed fillets, angling without a license, angling with unattended lines, no angling license in possession, failure to display snowmobile registration, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports slightly better fishing on Lake of the Woods. CO Prachar worked with neighboring officers on the lake and found many anglers with mixed success. Enforcement action taken included angling with extra lines, leave lines unattended through the ice, fail to display registration on snowmobile, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) spoke at a local sportsman club banquet. An area snowmobiler was stopped for lack of registration. He later learned the operator had an active warrant and a search for weapons incident to arrest yielded marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The subject was taken to a local law enforcement center where he posted bond and was issued citations for the drugs and registration. CO Woinarowicz worked a detail on Upper Red Lake with COs Regas, Parthun, and Holt. Success on walleyes was very location specific seeing some anglers worn out from catching fish while others had yet to get barely a bite. Enforcement action for the detail included angle with extra line, angle without license, angle with unattended lines, possess over limit of walleye, possess illegal length walleye, possess dressed fillets on special regulation water, possess marijuana and paraphernalia, and ATV and snowmobile registration violations.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked angling, snowmobiling and trapping enforcement. A Snowmobile Safety training class was assisted with in Thief River Falls. CO Hanson visited the Vintage Snowmobile display in St. Hillarie. Many original snowmobiles were displayed, including several prototype sleds from the 70s. Law questions and trail conditions were discussed with participants.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on Upper Red Lake with neighboring officers, special regulation lakes and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Time was spent conducting commercial inspections, answering numerous questions from the public regarding the regulation changes for Upper Red Lake and investigating a TIP report. Enforcement actions for the week included over limit of Upper Red Lake walleye, angling with extra lines, possession of slot walleye, angling license violations and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a sportsmen’s banquet in Red Lake Falls. Anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators were also checked. Trapping activity was monitored. Violations included angle with extra lines and no license in possession.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked anglers, trappers, predator hunting, and had a call about a dead owl. More ATVs than snowmobiles were being used. He assisted another agency and worked with officers on Red Lake.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) helped out a work crew on Red Lake. He also assisted at the Clearwater county Snowmobile Safety class and checked area lakes.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked angling activity on area lakes. CO Vollbrecht worked a detail on Leech Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish with CO Holt. Time was also spent checking anglers on Upper Red Lake. The bite continues to be good with several over limits detected.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) continued to monitor area angling activity and checked a few snowmobilers throughout the week. Time was spent working on Upper Red Lake with CO Vollbrecht. A complaint was handled regarding an injured deer. Enforcement activity for the week included angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, angling with extra lines, possess over limit of walleye, illegal length walleye, and possess drug paraphernalia/small amount of marijuana.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking anglers and shelters on the ice. Many anglers have noticed a slowdown in the bite. CO Vinton took a report from a resident that their dog was bringing home, what looked like, fresh deer parts. The leg of a deer was collected and appeared to be old enough to be from this past deer season. Another dog owner was contacted after it was reported her dog was chasing deer. She agreed to watch her Chihuahuas more closely. CO Vinton assisted a local MSP Trooper after they’d stopped a vehicle for speeding and discovered several walleye fillets without a patch of skin. Commercial bait retailers were inspected for current bait retailer’s licenses. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, unmarked shelters, no licenses in possession and failure to display ATV registration.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) reports a slow to moderate fish bite. Continued enforcement focused on anglers and shelter licensing. Miscellaneous calls of suspicious vehicles, car kill deer and driving on snowmobile trails were handled.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen. He also tagged a road kill otter and followed up on fishing and deer season complaints.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area waters. Anglers reported a slow bite. ATV and snowmobile checks were performed. CO Warren monitored activity at an old timers snowmobile run/get together conducted by a local snowmobile club.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling, ATV, and snowmobile activity in the Moorhead area. Anglers are reporting a “mid-winter” bite and fishing seems to have slowed down. The officer attended a volunteer instructor forum in Moorhead. A few thrill seeking snowmobilers were observed skipping open water and received citations for their actions. Yet again many anglers were reminded that they need to have their license in possession while angling. The officer also conducted aeration inspections on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile in a careless manner, failure to display valid snowmobile registration, angling without license in possession, and angling without a license.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) collected and tagged incidental caught otter and fisher. Enforcement efforts focused on fishing activities.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended an area appreciation dinner for the Battle Lake Lions Club. Fishing and coyote hunting activity was checked. A possible wetland violation was investigated. Incidentally taken fisher and otter were donated to the MN Trappers Association.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked angling activity and ATV activity. Numerous questions on AIS were addressed. A station detail as worked with other officers.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATVs and snowmobiles. Several fishing complaints were received and investigated. CO Osborne attended court for a boating while intoxicated case from last summer. Several ATVs and snowmobiles were found to not have valid registration this past week.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this past week working ice angling activity as well as setting up a Firearms Safety Class for February.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work primarily fishing activity on area waterways. Follow up was completed on open deer season cases and youth snowmobile safety classes. Predator hunting and trapping activity was monitored.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on monitoring an area snowmobile race, ice fishing activity and ATV operation. A complaint of garbage being dumped on a WMA was investigated and interstate minnow transportation permits were issued. Numerous phones calls from the public on fishing contest permits, ice fishing, and predator questions were addressed. CO Anderson assisted CO Baumbarger with a nighttime work crew on Lake Minnewaska.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports fishing success around the area has slowed some, despite the nice weather which has brought out a lot of anglers. Enforcement efforts for the week included checking anglers, ATV operators, and coyote hunters. Additional time was spent on a trespass complaint, and answering questions about the AIS trailer sticker.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked anglers and shelters on area lakes. Special regulation lakes were worked along with a detail on Upper Red Lake. Parthun is investigating a case involving the taking of a deer out of season. Please call the TIP line with any information. Callers can remain anonymous and cash rewards are given. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV violations, angling with extra lines, over length fish, possession of immeasurable fish and unattended lines.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) continued to check ice anglers. Fishing and angler activity his increased over the last week. Trapping activity has slowed with the lack of snow and the houndsmen along with the snowmobilers have had a complete lack of activity. ATV questions were raised with a local municipality. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and for angling with extra lines. Anglers are reminded that identification has to be permanently affixed to the outside of the shelter, in addition to the registration.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on trapping, and sport fishing activity. Nothing unusual to report. Received a call regarding un-cleaned northern pike dumped in a road ditch. Received a call regarding tribal netting, the matter was referred.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. The warm weather and accessible ice drew a crowd. Pressure ridges are continuing to win a battle with angler’s vehicles; be careful where you drive on the ice. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, unattended lines, no license, possess marijuana, and unregistered recreational vehicles.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) worked ice angling enforcement on area lakes. ATV and snowmobile operators were checked on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for juveniles operating snowmobile without helmets, adult operating snowmobile without safety training certificate, and registration issues. ATV enforcement action was taken for registration issues. Enforcement action was also taken for angling without license, no license in possession, angling with extra lines, using game fish as bait, and unattended lines. Marijuana was seized and enforcement action was taken for possession.
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 wait for snowmobiling conditions. CO Broughten handled calls of car injured deer, injured swan, and trapping questions. CO Broughten also assisted with snowmobile enforcement in the Ely area.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked ice fishermen and checked aeration systems on area lakes.
CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) checked shelters, recreation vehicle registrations and licenses this week. She attended user group meetings. She followed up on investigations and completed necessary reports.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports snowmobilers out in full force even with trails deteriorating because of warmer temperatures. Fishing on Rainy Lake and Lake Kabetogama has slowed with very few fish observed in the bag. Enforcement actions taken for week included no snowmobile registration and operate snowmobile in excessive of posted speed limit.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored angling and snowmobile activity in the Rainy, Kabetogama, and Namakan Lakes area. The fishing on area lakes has not yielded great results; however, it has not stopped spear fishermen or anglers from trying. With the nice weather this past weekend and slow fishing, many individuals ventured out onto the snowmobile trails. People are reminded to operate their machines at safe speed according to the conditions and also to keep in mind trail and lake speed limits. Runners for the Arrowhead 135 Ultra Marathon were seen gearing up for the start of this year’s race on Jan. 26. Individuals heading out on the snowmobile trails designated for use by the race should be aware of runners, bicyclist, or skiers on the trails and use caution while operating their machine around race participants. Enforcement action for the week related mostly to snowmobile registration and speed.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities. Snowmobile trails are in very poor shape with lack of snow and recent warm weather. Public access sites were checked. Forest roads and timber sales continue to be monitored. Equipment work, computer work, and office related tasks are ongoing.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the few snowmobilers in the area report the trail conditions are poor due to lack of snow. Ice fishing remains poor and very few anglers were observed. A couple meetings were attended.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reported that the warm weather made some of the snowmobile trails in the area a little rough. Even though this was the case, a number of snowmobilers traveled to the area for the Fun Run. The officer worked the Fun Run with a number of other officers from around the region. The officer took a call of a baby beaver in a back yard, but since it was unhurt and mobile it was left so it could make its way back to water. The officer is looking into a case of garbage left out on the ice, and assisted in an ongoing trapping case. Enforcement action taken this week: dressed walleye on experimental regulation lake, unmeasurable walleye, over-limit of walleye, no license in possession, snowmobile registration violations, snowmobile speeding, failure to display registration numbers, and operate a snowmobile without safety certificate.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobiles, and ATVs. The officer also finished up two big game cases from November and December and finished the investigation of the shooting of a gray wolf. Enforcement action was taken on angling with more than one line on a designated trout lake, fail to register big game animal, and fail to display snowmobile and ATV registration.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) received a call from a concerned angler who suspected he caught an invasive species called a round goby in a Virginia area mine pit. CO Frericks met with the angler and examined the catch. After close examination of the fish it was determined it was a fish native to Minnesota waters called a sculpin. The angler was contacted and informed of the true identity of the fish he caught and thanked for his concern. The crappie and pan fish bite on area lakes remains steady. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked into the mortality cause of a wolf that was found dead under snow, and determined it was an accidental death. Little to no snowmobiling activity due to lack of snow and poor trail conditions. Fishing was check and most reported poor fishing.
Ray – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports last Thursday through Saturday brought out a large number of snowmobiles, but the warm weather and high traffic took their toll on the trails. Many of those stopped for speeding had excuses such as: they should get a break because they’re a local, their snowmobile wasn’t running right so they needed to open it up and clean it out, it’s too dangerous to look down at your speedometer when you’re going that fast, and they’re an experienced rider. Enforcement action for the week included angle with an extra line, northern pike over limits, no trout stamp, too far from tip-up, no license in possession, possess marijuana, snowmobile speed and registration violations.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) patrolled remote trout lakes by snowmobile. When the rest of the state is without snow cover, many people have a hard time believing we have the snow that we do in the northeast. There wasn’t much for fishing or snowmobiling activity during the week days. The CO encountered a couple of fellows out moose antler hunting during the week as the antlers are beginning to fall as of last week.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) continued to work angling and snowmobile activity in the area. Over the weekend Murray assisted officers in the Ely station with a snowmobile detail. Most riders encountered were courteous and glad to see the officers out enforcing speed regulations. The few that were exceeding the speed limits were not as happy to see the officers when they received citations for exceeding speed limits.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) this past week worked area lakes and snowmobile trails. There were many people out enjoying the mild weather, but fishing was hit or miss. Time was also spent shuffling equipment around the state.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked fishermen and snowmobilers throughout the week. Lots of snowmobile activity during the Ely Fun Run. One member of a mixed snowmobile and ATV group was cited for not having an ATV registration. Then about an hour later, the group was found running down the highway to get from place to place. Time was spent checking fishermen in the BWCAW. The weather was nice so people are venturing into the backwoods. Ice fishermen had been doing well up till now and it is getting more common to find garbage on the lakes, especially where people have moved fish houses. Please bring it all home with you, even the little stuff.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reported several snowmobile events took place over the weekend in the Ely area including the annual fun run which usually attracts several hundred riders. Officers from all over the State assisted with the large groups of snowmobilers and law compliance was found to be very high. Violations included: litter, speed, operating an ATV on a state grant in aid trail, and fail to display snowmobile registration.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended a meeting regarding a wetlands/public waters violation and pending restoration work. Beaver traps were checked and area lakes, rivers and trails were patrolled. CO Manning also worked a snowmobile detail in Ely for the annual Fun Run. Enforcement action was taken for no snowmobile safety certificate, fail to display registration and fail to transfer snowmobile registration.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked snowmobile and angling activity. The Officer caught a group of ice anglers fishing with extra lines. After the officer issued the proper paperwork and was walking away, he heard one of the anglers address the rest of the group: “When I tell you to reel up the extra lines, I mean it!” The trout bite is still on while walleye fishing has slowed down. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV and snowmobile violations.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, monitored trapping activity, and worked on some administrative items. Enforcement action taken for angling without a license in possession.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked small game, and took calls about potential fishing violations. Violations included snowmobile on roadway, fail to display snowmobile registration, and angle more than 200 feet from a tip-up.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity, investigated deer complaints and assisted the local police department with a domestic. The area panfish bite has been good. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, angle with extra lines and arrest for domestic assault.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) did interviews this past week with two local radio stations where laws and regulations on trout fishing were discussed among other things. She is currently investigating a trapping violation. She cautions people who wish to travel on area lakes with highway vehicles as ice conditions vary due to recent weather and natural occurring springs and water currents. A vehicle was reported as going through the ice off of Stony Point on Pokegama Lake this past week.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked local angling pressure with many individuals out on area lakes. The limited snow cover and thickening ice has made access to most lakes fairly easy. Enforcement action was taken for bluegills over-limit on a special regulation lake, angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, allowing the illegal operation of an ATV by a minor, operating an ATV on a county road and operating an ATV without the required safety class.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) checked fishermen, snowmobiles and trappers. He also conducted a wildlife program at a local library during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana and controlled substance. CO Wichmann also completed reports from small game investigations.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent time checking anglers on area lakes and rivers. A timber theft trespass was investigated along with recreational trespass from a snowmobile trail. Complaints of ATV operation on snowmobile trails have been investigated and trail heads worked.
CO Officer Randy Hanzal (Duluth) had another busy week on area lakes. Northern pike and pan fish are being caught. Angle with extra line, angle without license in possession, operate unregistered ATV, operate unregistered snowmobile, operate ATV with improper display, no shelter license, want and waste of a game fish and liter are all violations encountered during the week. The officer also assisted with the recovery of a stolen recreational vehicle.
CO Officer Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to work fishing enforcement on area lakes. Some snowmobile enforcement was also worked during the week. Several telephone calls were returned. A trapping investigation continues to be worked. Officer Duncan assisted USFWS Special Agent with an investigation. Officer Duncan also assisted area wildlife offices with miscellaneous wildlife calls and complaints during the week.
CO Officer Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes throughout the week. Angler reports varied from a fair to good bite on pan fish and northern pike. CO Humphrey continued to check several traps in the area for compliance. CO Humphrey received calls of an injured eagle and incidental caught fisher. CO Humphrey spent time preparing for a conservation officer career presentation. CO Humphrey processed evidence from a closed big game case. CO Humphrey attended a funeral service for retired Conservation Officer Russ Johannsen. Violations for fish house identification, licensing, OHV and Snowmobile registration, fail to transfer ownership and angling with extra lines were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports angling activity up in the area because of nice weather. There are some fish being caught on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and angling without a license in possession. Some snaring activity was worked in the area. Enforcement action was taken for illegally set and untagged snares. One incidentally caught wolf was turned over to the US fish and Wildlife Service. K9 training was conducted with Schody in preparation for an upcoming school.
WREO Mike Scott attended a meeting with other LGU folks reference a WCA and Public Waters Violation in Grand Marias area. Reconstruction of a local road culvert resulted in some impact to area wetlands and public waters. Officer Scott attended the Minneapolis Boat Show staffing an AIS booth with DNR Eco Services and Boat Water folks talking to those at the show about AIS issues and the new trailer sticker training that is on the horizon. Over 500 people stopped by the booth with information shared with all.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked trout anglers north of Duluth, since the warmer weather had many anglers out. However, the trout bite was on the poor side. Olson attended the United Northern Sportsmen (UNS) annual ice fishing contest on Island Lake. For the 20th year this officer helped weigh fish, check license and field DNR questions. The warmer weather helped attendance. Sunday brought out more than 400 anglers to try for 1st place. The winning fish was a 6lb.4oz. catfish. First time in recent history a catfish has been caught in Island Lake.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice and shore anglers. An incidentally snared wolf was seized in the city of Two Harbors and turned over to DNR Wildlife for educational use. A meeting was attended for the renewal of the Lake Superior Fisheries Management Plan. Violations of late charter records were handled. Enforcement action was taken for angling and commercial violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. He also attended a meetings and completed reports. Enforcement action was taken for various angling violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and small game enforcement. Work has begun on an illegal dumping of deer carcasses on a State Wildlife Management Area. One of the deer legs that was illegally and unsightly dumped in the parking area still had the DNR Big Game Site Tag with the hunter’s full name attached to it. Officer Guida also interviewed a trapper who admitted to falling short on the required daily check of above ground snares. Officer Guida recovered an accidentally caught fisher and worked the fishing contest on Gull Lake with other area Conservation Officers.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for ice fishing activity. CO McGowan also assisted at the Brainerd Jaycees ice fishing tournament on Gull Lake. Enforcement action was taken for angle without a license, expired snowmobile registration, fail to submit equipment/fish for inspection, litter, and no ice house reflectors.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and spearing enforcement during the past week. Assistance was also given to a South Dakota Game Warden working a license fraud investigation.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including follow up work on deer season cases, handling incidental fisher, inspecting ice shelters for marking and license compliance, checking fishermen, monitoring the new winter trout season on the mine pit lakes in the Cuyuna Country State Recreational area, and working with the USFWS on an alleged wolf coming into town situation.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers and trappers and continued follow up on cases from deer season. The officer helped with a work detail at the Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake where several people unfamiliar with the lake conditions drove vehicles onto thin ice and broke through. All were able to escape without injuries including one truck where the occupants crawled out as it was sinking and stood on top of the truck where they were rescued by a couple of local anglers who were passing by.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers are out in full force and report the walleye is slow. The ice conditions are good but the snow drifts and pressure ridges continue to be trouble for some anglers. This past week 3 pickups, 1 SUV, 2 snowmobiles and 2 OHVs either broke through thin ice or cashed into the pressure ridge. No reported injuries but significant damage was observed. Gull Lake went well. Some of the violation observed were speed, careless operation and expired registration on snowmobiles and ATVs. He worked on a trespass complaint by coyote hunters. He worked with neighboring CO Tim Collette checking anglers extra lines and no license violations were found. Complaints of unlicensed and no identification on fish houses were reported.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week with so-so success being reported. Officer Lee received a call this past week from a local trapper in regards to catching a gray wolf in a snare set for coyote. Officer Lee met with the trapper at the site were the wolf carcasses was removed from the snare and disposed of. Officer Lee followed up on a TIP in regards to a party taking over limits of crappies. Through the investigation Officer Lee learned that the party was also using unregistered shelters on area lakes to hide his ID. Officer Lee also assisted the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department with locating a suicidal male in the Cuyuna Mine Pits area, and motor vehicle crash with injured parties. Officer Lee assisted other Conservation Officers this past week with the Jaycees Fishing Contest on Gull Lake. Officers assisted with vehicles going through the ice, and a young child falling down in between an ice heave and becoming stuck. The child was successfully rescued with no apparent injuries. Enforcement actions were taken for snowmobile and ATV registration issues.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) reports a busy week of checking ice anglers as the weather warmed. She also responded to a crash on Hwy 65 where a vehicle struck and killed a moose. The occupants of the vehicle were not injured. The moose hide was donated to the Long Lake Conservation Center and the meat was donated to several locations though out the state for volunteer instructor banquets and similar events.
CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored angling activity and investigated vandalism in the Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area, assisted local law enforcement and worked a detail on Gull Lake for the Ice Fishing Extravaganza.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen out on Mille Lacs Lake during the week. Some nice perch are still being seen and also some throw back walleyes were seen. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office after the Officer found some stolen property at a local access. Lots of fishing, ATV, snowmobiling and wolf law related questions were answered and a car kill deer permit was issued to a party for a deer. The Officer assisted a neighboring Officer with an ice racing event and also in checking anglers who were out enjoying the nice weather. A TIP on some deer carcasses that were dumped and also some suspicious activity on some state land were investigated during the week. ATV and snowmobile activity was also monitored on area lakes during the week and weekend. Enforcement action was taken for various fishing violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) received a call of a black bear acting aggressively and entered the caller’s attached garage. The bear ended up being dispatched. Speldrich worked with two north metro CO’s checking area lakes. Approximately 150 fish houses were checked. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, no angling licenses, no angling license in possession and no shelter IDs. The Carlos Avery WMA was also patrolled for after hour use. Speldrich received calls regarding injured fox and nuisance wolf.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took care of some equipment issues and administrative items. Paperwork for an accidentally trapped bobcat was completed. Fishermen were out with the warmer weather, with some pike on Mille Lacs still showing up. Enforcement action was taken for spearing without a license and no license on a fish house. A dead deer discovery was also investigated.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a large increase in fishing pressure during the week. Ice anglers were out in force taking advantage of the warm, thawing temperatures. Despite the nice weather, most anglers said they really struggled to find fish that would bite. The increase in lake activity unfortunately brought with it an increase in garbage being left behind. Many hours were spent patrolling, watching for littering violations and reminding anglers to clean things up before leaving the ice.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) checked anglers, state forest activity, and spent time checking littering complaints. He finished up reports, spent time answering questions about snowmobile and trapping laws. CO Wynn continues to monitor local accesses and ice shelter areas for littering issues. Warmer weather over the weekend found many people on the ice chasing mostly panfish in the Pine City area.
WREO Rob Haberman attended the Minneapolis Boat Show over the week. He answered many question about AIS laws and the AIS trailer sticker. WREO Haberman also assisted officers with the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Contest. More than three vehicles broke through the ice near pressure ridges on Gull Lake that day. Ice conditions are good, but channels and ice ridges should be crossed with extreme caution.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) worked angling and ATV activity on area lakes. A dumping complaint was received and upon investigating, CO Silgjord located multiple pheasant carcasses that had been illegally dumped on an individual’s land without permission. Assistance was provided to another officer with a big game investigation. Violations for the week included angle with extra lines, no angling license, fail to possess angling license, allow illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, unmarked fish, and no fish house license.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs and trappers. Thesing spoke at the Holdingford firearms safety class. Follow up was conducted on deer cases with two more lend borrow deer license citations issued. Enforcement action for the week also included no ATV registration, no ID or license on fish house and license infractions.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week working on Benton and Morrison county wetland violations. Fishermen were also checked.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) continued working on open cases. Moderate angling activity was observed, with fairly low success. People inquired about burning laws. Some areas still had three inches of snow cover, some did not. ATV operators commented how they wished they were able to ride snowmobiles instead.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) followed up with incoming calls and emails left for the officer for road kill deer permits. The officer work angling activity. Officer assisted neighboring officers again with pending deer cases.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) received a TIP call of unattended lines on an area lake where two anglers had tip-ups out and went in to the bar on the lake. CO Kuske waited an hour and the two anglers showed up. They had three tip-ups out and also were found to have three additional lines down in the fish house. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines, unattended lines and the brand new tip-ups and rods were seized.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers. CO Mies also worked on tip calls and assisted neighboring officer. CO Mies worked on trapping case.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) experienced high activity on the lakes as the result of the nice weather. Fishermen played their usual games with extra lines and improper fish house identification was addressed with a number of individuals. Northern pike have been biting very well on several lakes. A juvenile was once again found operating an ATV illegally. The behavior has been addressed with the parents, as well as enforcement action on three separate occasions. This time the 17-year-old is looking at violations of operating an ATV while revoked, reckless careless operation, no safety training certificate, no helmet and an unlawful passenger. The matter has been forwarded to the county attorney’s office for resolution.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He issued summons and written warnings for a number of violations. He assisted on an injured owl the rehabilitation team was notified. He assisted District 13 at the Lake Waconia Vintage Snowmobile Rally with a number of summons and written warnings issued for expired registration, failure to display registration, speed and allowing juvenile to operate a snowmobile illegally. He assisted Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department with a criminal damage to property call on an area lake.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reported the warm weather has increased the fishing activity, but most anglers are having a hard time finding a good bite on most lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines and possession of marijuana.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers. Violations were found for no license, extra lines, and possession of drug paraphernalia. CO Musatov spoke at a youth snowmobile safety class. Follow up was done on a big game case.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy week on area lakes. Numerous permanent shelters remain on area lakes without identification. Anglers had a hard time finding decent numbers of fish on area lakes. CO Langevin also handled several animal complaints. Violations included fail to display ATV registration, unattended lines, no license in possession and extra lines.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Time was spent on area lakes and fishing success varied. Lots of folks enjoyed the warm weather and most found themselves on the ice recreating in some fashion. Enforcement action was taken on angle with extra lines and no angling license and purchase husband/ wife combination license without being married.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers on local lakes and at fishing tournaments and reports seeing limits of panfish. Officer Londgren also had a student ride along, followed up on trapping and dumping complaints, and spoke at a snowmobile safety class.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) handled several animal calls including owls, swans, coyotes and raccoons. A State Patrol dispatcher was given a ride along to show what Conservation Officers do in the field. The Vintage Snowmobile Event was worked with district and area officers on Lake Waconia. Anglers were checked all week having good success on panfish.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent the week checking anglers on local lakes and patrolling WMAs for signs of late season small game hunters. Enforcement action was taking on no fishing license in possession and angling with extra lines. She assisted neighboring officers and took several calls from citizens with questions regarding angling and ice house laws. Fishing reports are still slow but Leuthardt spoke to several anglers who were having varying success throughout the week.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice fishing and snowmobiling activity in the metro area lakes and trails. He responded to a TIP complaint in Medicine Lake and animal complaints. He also worked the vintage snowmobile event at Lake Waconia and returned phone calls on the small game hunting season to the Hmong community.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers in West Metro area lakes. He provided a ride along to a State Patrol dispatcher. Along with officers in West Metro District, CO Le worked at the Annual Vintage Snowmobile race on Lake Waconia.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Anthony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Washington counties for angling activity. CO Salzer also patrol Carolos Avery WMA for off road activity. Officer Salzer also dealt with equipment issues.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week doing fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement in Washington and Anoka counties. CO Arntzen handled a trespassing complaint, a call about dogs pursuing big game and patrolled Carlos Avery WMA. He also continued working on cases from the 2014 deer season and handled a call about a possible wolf track that was later found to be from a domestic dog.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent the week checking anglers and did aeration inspection. He worked ATVs and sleds on local lakes with a neighboring conservation officer. CO Pril also spoke at a firearms safety class in Lakeville and responded to nuisance animal calls.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked ice anglers throughout the week. He signed a complaint at the Anoka County Attorney’s office. CO Johnson responded to a TIP complaint of an illegal deer in St. Paul. He responded to several injured wildlife complaints during the week. One involved a muskrat that traveled in the undercarriage of a car from the Sax-Zim Bog in northern Minnesota to Minneapolis. The muskrat was captured, and taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week working angling and ATV activity. WREO Block spoke to a group in Minneapolis regarding AIS laws. WREO Block also worked the weekend at the Boat Show held in Minneapolis answering many questions related to AIS laws and regulations.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) checked numerous anglers on area lakes over the nice weekend. She worked on a trapping case and assisted with a deer case. CO Kruse attended training, worked ATV enforcement and issued a couple road kill deer permits. Violation encountered this week included expired ATV registration, possess drug paraphernalia, no fishing license, extra lines, no shelter license, expired snowmobile registration and fishing license not in possession.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) reports working ATV and snowmobile enforcement on area lakes. Ice anglers were also checked with little success observed. A nuisance animal call was handled as well as calls from the public with questions answered. Enforcement action for the week included ATV and snowmobile violations, angling violations, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving under revocation.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked at the AIS Booth for the Minneapolis Boat Show and continued to answer questions in reference to the new trailer sticker and AIS training for 2015. Officer Hanson also checked ice fishermen and trappers and followed up on WCA and PW cases.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ice fishing, ATV, & snowmobile activity during the week. The only snowmobile action in the area is on local lakes. Anglers are having moderate success. Litter issues continue on lakes. Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly KLOH radio show. An investigation of hunter harassment was made in the Canby area. Coyote hunters were confronted by a landowner that believed the coyote dogs had trespassed his land. This case is under investigation. Ice conditions are poor with rain in the area.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent most of the past week working ice fishing and ATV enforcement. Ice conditions continue to be a topic of conversation with fish house owners. Most lakes still have between 9-18 inches of ice; however, rain and temps near 40 degrees all week has not helped. Time was also spent working on court cases from this last fall.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) received several complaints about coyote hunters shooting out the window and trespassing. With warm weather CO Picht spent time marking fish houses and checking them for license and identification. CO Picht started with commercial inspections.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) followed up on trapping complaints and other tip calls, with some investigations ongoing. Time was spent checking ice fishermen and it was found that some did not have an angling license and some were using extra lines. Klehr also took time to speak with a snowmobile safety class in Watkins.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) continued checking anglers and ice houses during the week, verifying angling licenses and shelter licenses. ATV noise regulations and registration problems were addressed on area lakes. OHM regulations were also addressed. She spoke on the local radio station on Snowmobile safety. She responded to a dryer that was dumped at a DNR parking lot. Mueller also spoke at a Snowmobile Safety class in Arlington.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding injured wildlife and a possible poached deer. He also gave a snowmobile safety talk. Nelson spent the majority of the week working angling and ATV enforcement. Pan fishing remains lack luster while a few northerns and walleye are being caught.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers, ATVs and small game activity. Gruhlke completed a radio program with KKOJ/KRAQ discussing aeration of area lakes, closure dates for border and inland waters, and area activity.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted aeration inspections. Anglers were checked along with their shelters. Area lakes and public accesses were patrolled for litter. Numerous questions were answered regarding upcoming new laws especially the trailer invasive decal needed this year. Trespassing complaints were investigated.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) worked with neighboring officers checking angling activity this past week. ATV activity remains high on areas around lakes and rivers. Information on a deer poaching case is being investigated.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes & rivers. Snowmobile and ATV activity were worked during the week. The officer also worked on a wetland violation investigation.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working coyote hunting, snowmobile, ATV, and angling activity. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, trapping, and recreational vehicle enforcement this week. The fish bite has slowed a bit in recent days, but there were still numerous anglers out with the unusually warm weather. Snowmobile trails are still in poor condition due to warm weather and lack of snow.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers as well as ATV and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent responding to TIP calls and other complaints from the public. Time was also spent checking small game and predator hunters.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking anglers. Ice conditions have improved, but remain variable. Some anglers pulled their shelters off during last week’s warm spell. Assistance was given to a local Sheriff’s Office with several calls.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a busy week of ice fishing with the nice weather. Some people were catching walleye and sauger on the river channel and panfish were being caught in the backwaters. People are reporting they are starting to find antlers.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports the warm weather gave the trappers another good opportunity to get some active raccoons. Coyote hunters continue to have success with day time calling. All week the squirrels have been active which brought out some late season hunters. High numbers of ice fishermen with mixed success. He received a call concerning young turtles. LaCrescent PD assisted and discovered several young painted turtles had come out from their wintering area. The high temps along with the sun reflecting off the side of a building caused the ground to warm up and trigger the young turtles to get active.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success was slower for most. The river opened up quite a bit with the warmer weather allowing some to take out their boats. Heyn also checked into other complaints.
CO Phil George (Rochester) followed up on some cases from the deer season and checked anglers along with ATV and snowmobile operators. Several ATV and snowmobile violations detected along with angling with unattended lines.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking coyote hunters. Success has varied. Time was also spent on injured eagle calls and injured deer calls as well. Winter trout anglers were out with the warmer weather and doing well. Ice fishermen have been doing fair, but anglers added that they need to keep moving to find active fish.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week and weekend checking fishing activity. The nice weather on the weekend brought numerous anglers out. Time was also spent talking with the county attorney’s office on charges for a deer case and talking with safety instructors about upcoming classes.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working ice fishermen in the backwaters of the big river. Fishing activity has increased with the nice weather but the fishing success has been spotty. Some trapping activity is also taking place and the coyote hunters are still having some success. Finally some illegal deer information was investigated.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying wolf pack counts. Jensen flew an enforcement flight in NE MN to gauge angling activity. Jensen also flew a training flight and started his flight instructor renewal class.
Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reports several flights postponed due to weather. Station and aircraft inventory were conducted and wolf telemetry missions were flown.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued work on the NE moose survey. Snow conditions are holding up well despite the unusually warm weather. The remaining plots near Grand Marais are showing good numbers of moose. Only a few bulls with antlers, and a fair number of cow/calf combinations.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew enforcement support recon flights for predator hunting, ATV and angling activities. Geving also worked on equipment inventory management.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew the helicopter moose survey when weather cooperated. Snow, fog, rain and ice is making this survey a challenge to finish.