Pequot Lakes: A couple of anglers checked on an area lake with special regulations must of thought they were good to go after being checked as one of the anglers left with both of their limits of fish and the other stayed to catch more. They found out differently when they were issued appropriate paperwork.
Pierz: CO Paul Kuske was invited to attend the annual 6th grade ice fishing trip from Pierz Elementary School. Fun was had by both kids and adults, one student was so excited to catch a small northern that he gave it a kiss, finding out what most fishermen already know, pike slime doesn’t taste very good.
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers and snowmobile activity on Lake of the Woods and around Roseau and Warroad. Fishing is slow on the south side, but was fair at the NW Angle.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad and the surrounding areas. Over the weekend enforcement action was focused on snowmobilers at the Northwest Angle, monitoring was done for speed and DWI violations. This CO is happy to report that there were no violations noted in either respect. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without a license in possession, leaving a line unattended through the ice, and failure to display a valid registration on a snowmobile.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent her time checking anglers and snowmobiles on Lake of the Woods and surrounding areas. One angler decided fishing was too slow, so he would try to increase his odds by using 5 lines. The angler, however, didn’t catch any extra fish and wasn’t happy when he received a citation. The need for a new angling license on March 1st also caused some issues and confusion out on the lake. Enforcement action taken for: angling with extra lines, angling without a license, and no angling license in possession.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports an increase in snowmobile activity with the warmer weather. Time was spent working snowmobile enforcement as well as patrolling Lake of the Woods for ice anglers. CO Prachar attended the annual AIS training for bait harvesters and dealers. Prachar reminded harvesters that it is illegal to take minnows with an artificial light. Enforcement action taken included angling with extra lines, leaving lines unattended through the ice, possession of marijuana, minor consumption, and providing alcohol to minors.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored the dwindling snowmobile trails for activity and patrolled during a local coyote tournament. A TIP complaint of anglers targeting walleyes in the closed season was responded to as well as an injured deer on the road complaint. Follow up was conducted on open investigations.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked predator hunters, snowmobilers and State Park enforcement. Hanson found several people using two state parks without purchasing park passes. Hanson reminds lovers of the remote Minnesota state parks they can put a park at risk during lean budget years as the numbers show erroneous low use when daily passes are not purchased using the honor system. CO Hanson assisted DNR Wildlife with elk issues.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working snowmobile enforcement, conducting commercial inspections and checking anglers on special regulation lakes and Upper Red Lake. Time was spent monitoring shelter removal progress on area lakes as the removal dead line grows near
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending a sports club meeting in Fertile. Time was spent speaking one on one with club members and giving a group presentation. Anglers also were checked on local lakes and rivers. Several snowmobile operators were also checked. Violations included no angling license and several no snowmobile registration violations.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored angling, snowmobiling, shelter removal, ATVs and trapper/predator hunting. He attended a “Snodeo” event, assisted other agencies and completed department training. Multiple people contacted him with concerns about the new wolf and AIS laws. Sightings of a coyote in a small town have pet owners on edge.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers, snowmobilers and monitored fish house removal.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) patrolled local snowmobile trails during the week. Trails were in good condition, but deteriorated quickly with the warm weekend weather. CO Vollbrecht checked fishermen on several different lakes. Time was taken to do a follow up investigation on an individual who failed to present a wolf carcass for inspection. Evidence was sent into the county attorney for a case from the past deer season. A student rode with CO Vollbrecht for a day to see the responsibilities of a CO. A complaint of dogs on a cross country ski trail was taken and skiers were checked for cross country ski passes.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked anglers and snowmobilers during the week. Time was also spent on a case from the 2014 deer season and working in Itasca State Park.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports conducting commercial inspections, patrolling for fish house removal and checking pan fishermen. CO Vinton instructed the officers in training for the CO Prep program. Basic Emergency Vehicle Operation Course was covered and the students had to opportunity to get behind the wheel and drive in rather poor weather. Other things covered in the class were laws, court cases and liabilities for the new officers.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers and worked some snowmobile enforcement. He also met with the county attorney on pending cases and assisted a local PD on a trespass call.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen and monitoring fish house removal. Time was also spent dealing with fish houses left on the accesses and working a booth at the Fargo Sport Show.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked snowmobile activity on area trails and waters. Most snowmobilers checked stated it was the first or second time they had been out due to lack of snow. Angling activity was worked with angler’s picking up panfish here and there. CO Warren followed up on a complaint of possible wanton waste. Ice house removal was monitored and public access checks for icehouses were performed.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and fish house removal in the Clay and Becker county area. There is limited activity in the area now that permanent shelters are removed. Area anglers are reporting a slow but steady panfish bite. Enforcement action was taken for fish houses left on the ice after the deadline.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working with Local Gov’t Units and hydrologists regarding new violations and closing out old case files. Time was also spent at lake service provider training in Brainerd. The Red River Sportsman’s Show was attended and AIS discussed with attendees. A semi driver was contacted after he was seen throwing garbage out of his cab. The driver stated he was cleaning his truck out before returning to his home base in Fargo. Enforcement action was taken and the driver was observed picking up his garbage in the road ditch.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports fish house removal was mostly compliant with only a few violations encountered. Angling pressure increased over the weekend with beautiful weather being the largest contributing factor. Snowmobiles and ATVs were checked on area waterways mostly related to fishing. Richards was impressed that no shelters were left at public access sites. Anglers were reminded to get their 2015 angling license.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored ice shacks for deadline removal issuing citations to those left on the lake. Coyote hunters were checked and a few snowmobilers were observed after the recent snow. Plautz come across what appeared to be a person trapped under a vehicle only to find it was a stuffed pair of jeans and boots.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen and shelters left on the ice after the deadline. Additional time was spent checking a few snowmobilers and predator hunters. Online training was completed as well as checking a minnow retailer.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked ice fishing activity, fish house removal and litter. Three fish houses were left out on area lakes along with litter. Osborne made contact with the owners; issued proper paperwork to the owners. The officer assisted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with a 911 hang up call and trespass on an area lake.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports heavy activity throughout the station this past week, including ice fishing, ice shelter removal and snowmobile activity. Snowmobilers enjoyed decent trails for a day or two before it quickly deteriorated. Several machines were observed having expired registration while others had problems operating safely. Two snowmobiles went through thin ice while another went off the trail, rolling into cattails, sustaining heavy damage. Fortunately, none of the drivers sustained serious injuries. Tragically, an adult died after his ATV fell through thin ice on Lake Andrew. His young grandson (passenger) is still in intensive care in Minneapolis. Fishermen should use caution heading onto ice with all the warm weather we’ve experienced recently. Several fishing violations were encountered as well, from fishing without licenses to overlimits to illegal length fish.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reports working fish house removal and associated litter issues on area waterways. There is still plenty of fishing activity taking place with enforcement action taken for fish overlimits and other cases still under investigation. Snowmobilers were out in force but the snow didn’t last long and is now, all but gone. Unfortunately, several violations were handled, and there were several reports of snowmobiles breaking through the ice and crashing off trail. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported. Additional time was spent following up on commercial investigations and monitoring predator hunting activity.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice anglers, border waters fish house removal compliance and snowmobile activity. Division computer security training was completed as well as issuing minnow transportation permits. Calls were fielded from the public regarding upcoming FAS classes and fish house litter.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, and working on commercial records audits. Baumbarger fielded calls about injured animals and upcoming ATV and FAS safety classes. Additional time was spent checking coyote hunters with loaded guns, shooting from vehicles, and trespass complaints the most common complaints received.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) spent most of the week involved in a jury trial for hunting while intoxicated case from last November. The jury returned a guilty verdict
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked panfish anglers. Most anglers did a good job of removing shacks before the deadlines. Traps and snares were checked with many individuals targeting coyotes. Commercially licensed operations were checked as well.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing and snowmobile activity. Nothing unusual to report.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked angling activity. Commercial minnow inspections and snowmobile enforcement was also worked. CO Mathy shared job duty and other related information with a student during a ride-a-long. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobiling on the roadway, angle without a license, and possess marijuana.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) checked for ice shelters left after the removal deadline. None were located. Lakes north of MN 200 were inventoried for the late deadline. Minnow retailer permit checks were conducted. Snowmobile trails were patrolled and contacts were made with snowmobilers. ATV contacts were made on area lakes. Ice anglers were checked on lakes in and around the station. Enforcement action included: take fish without a license, take over limit of fish, burn prohibited materials, allow illegal operation of ATV by juvenile, juvenile passengers on ATV without helmets, and no minnow retailer permit.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling activity. Angling success was poor in the Longville lakes area. Anglers are reminded to check fish house removal dates. Warmer weather started to deteriorate snow and it appears snowmobile season has come and gone. CO Broughten also assisted local law enforcement with warrant arrest. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, failure to display ATV registration, and fish house left on ice after legal deadline.
CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) completed reports and met with a county attorney. Checked ice fishing activity and snowmobile trails before all the snow melted. Registration and trail stickers were a common issue. Officer Adam attended ATVAM 2015 Vision Conference and found a bunch of dedicated diehard members enthusiastic about the future of ATV recreational use for Minnesota.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports as warmer weather moved into area over weekend so did the snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Emergency Vehicle Operation Training for new CO prep candidates was conducted at Camp Ripley. Meetings, dead owl complaint, deer depredation complaint, and complaint of wolf chasing snowmobiles finished off the week’s activities
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored snowmobile and angling activity throughout the Rainy, Kabetogama, and Namakan Lake areas. Many snowmobilers were observed enjoying the trail systems before the warm weather takes a toll on them. Anglers are having spotty success on surrounding lakes. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring snowmobile activities over the weekend. Angling activities continue to be monitored. A slight increase in snowmobile activity noted due to the nice weather.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports quite a few snowmobilers were in the area over the weekend. The trails deteriorated quickly due to the heavy use and warm temperatures. Very little ice fishing activity was observed.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reported that things have slowed down with the close of the walleye season, and most ice shelters are off the lakes. Just a reminder that in the Tower area, permanent ice shelters need to be removed by March 16. Even with the nicer weather, snowmobiling activity was only moderate. The officer investigated a complaint of ravens being shot illegally. Three incidents involving snowmobiles occurred, one going through the ice, one crashing, and one burning up. With warmer weather on the way, it’s a good reminder to stay on trails, and watch channel areas when on waterways.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and snowmobiling activity, continued working a complaint of theft from a state logging sale, and taught a Firearms Safety Class in Hibbing.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) gave several presentations about furbearers in northeastern Minnesota to third graders in Virginia and also spoke at a firearms safety class in Gilbert. Most people took advantage of the warmer weather to remove their ice shelters from area lakes. Only a few remain. Some people left behind litter and parts of their shelters. It’s a good thing CO Frericks already took GPS readings and photos of the shelters on the lakes. Anglers who leave behind litter can expect to receive a citation for litter. Area snowmobile trails are in good shape but are not expected to be for long with a stretch of warm weather in the forecast.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) spent time checking lakes for fishing activity and also checking fish houses for any future litter issues. He also worked snow mobile trails during the Aurora Vintage sled run and follow up was conducted on a wolf trapping carcass inspection.
Ray – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) assisted area officers with trout angling enforcement inside the BWCAW. Warm weather and decent trail conditions brought snowmobiles out in full force in the Ely area, speed and registration compliance was over all very good. Violations included no shelter tag on ice shelter, excessive speed on a snowmobile, and angle without license in possession.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobilers and trout fishermen throughout the week. Snow travel conditions are still good, but will be changing if the warm weather keeps up. An angler was found to be possessing and using undocumented ciscoes on a remote BWCAW trout lake. There is no way to know if the ciscoes he was using did or did not have the VHS disease since they were never tested as required by law. The angler felt no responsibility for having potentially infected bait and felt that it was just too inconvenient for him to have the required packaging for the bait.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers in and out of the BWCA and worked a busy weekend of snowmobile enforcement. Trails were good until Sunday as the sun started doing its spring damage. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, too far from tip-up, snowmobile speed, expired snowmobile registration, fail to transfer ownership, loud exhaust, burning prohibited materials, and litter. One group encountered in the BWCA had been walking for 18 hours straight to reach their fishing destination.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) patrolled area snowmobile trails and trout lakes. The trails were busy with the warm weather this past weekend. Fish houses were monitored for litter as the removal date is fast approaching. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Snowmobile activity was high and trails were in pretty good shape but were deteriorating fast with the warm temperatures. Anglers are reminded to pick up all debris when removing their ice shelters for the season. Enforcement action was taken for excessive snowmobile speed, failure to stop at road crossings, and licensing violations.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, and conducted checks for commercial licenses.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, ATV and snowmobile activity, assisted with firearms training. Fish houses are being monitored for litter and the approaching deadline. He also answered various enforcement related questions. Violations included various drug and traffic violations.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) attended a career fair at Itasca Community College where students from various local high schools got to see what kinds of career opportunities were available to them. She also checked angling and snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for an ATV violation.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity over the past week with many pan fishermen hitting the lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and having a northern pike in possession during the closed season. CO Sutherland also attended the Itasca Community College Career Day and spoke at a Forest Service training session.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobile trails and ATVs. He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for unattended line and operating a snowmobile in excess of the posted speed limit. Wichmann also monitored fish houses on area lakes. Reminder, be aware of the fish house removal date, especially with the warmer weather.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) worked ATVers and snowmobilers this past week. CO Velsvaag also checked trout anglers and received calls on mange and litter around fish houses. Snowmobile trail conditions deteriorated quickly over the past weekend.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports enforcement was centered on snowmobilers, as trail conditions improved immensely. Speeding and registration issues were commonly seen. A large local antique snowmobile run was attended with lots of people enjoying seeing the classics from yesteryear again. A presentation was given to a Firearms Safety class, a great horned owl with a medical issue was captured and brought to a rehabber for evaluation and a person who processed a road killed deer without a permit and then dumped the carcass on city property was interviewed and enforcement action taken.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) checked several fishermen on an along the North Shore of Lake Superior. One check resulted in several salmon over the limit. Officer Duncan returned several telephone calls and completed end of the month office work.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling and fish shelter removal on area lakes. CO Humphrey worked OHV and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. Calls on a nuisance bobcat killing chickens and a great horned owl caught in a trap were investigated. CO Humphrey issued a Wetland Restoration Order and completed Division online training. Angling, ATV and snowmobile violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) checked lakes to make sure fish houses were removed by the deadline and also that garbage was picked up on the ice. Compliance was fairly good in the area. Enforcement action was taken for leaving a fish house on a public access. Work was done on some of the station equipment to get ready for the changing season. K9 Schody and one of the other DNR K9’s attended the Safari Club International convention in Bloomington where several questions were answered and information was given on the DNR K9 unit as well as other DNR related issues. Time was also spent completing Division training. One call on an injured owl in the area was referred to a local rehabilitator.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on the last of the ice near Lester River and Brighton Beach. Although people are occasionally falling in at cracks in the ice, the spot continues to be popular with anglers making use of the rare opportunity for salmon and lake trout. Snowmobiles were checked along the trails, with the usual mix of irresponsible operation and attitude, and another crash over the weekend required an injured rider to be transported by helicopter to a hospital. Complaints were received of deer stands left in an Aquatic Management Area, and will be checked once the snow has melted. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) presented the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class, handled fish houses left on the ice after the legal deadline, and checked anglers on area lakes. A couple of anglers checked on an area lake with special regulations must of thought they were good to go after being checked as one of the anglers left with both of their limits of fish and the other stayed to catch more. They found out differently when they were issued appropriate paperwork.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled area lakes for snowmobile and ice angling activity. Numerous snowmobilers were observed before the majority of the snow melted over the weekend. CO McGowan assisted at Camp Ripley with training new recruits on emergency vehicle operations. Enforcement action was taken for fishing for northern pike out of season, snowmobile registration issues, no angling license, leave shelter out past the legal deadline, and sell bait without a retail minnow license.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers who were reporting slow activity for pan fish on area lakes. Officer Lee assisted with Emergency Vehicle Operation Training for CO-Prep Officers at Camp Ripley this past week. Co-Prep Officers were given training in Emergency Vehicle Operations and vehicle pursuit training. This training is required by the MN POST Board, and must be completed before the MN POST Board Exam can be taken officer candidates. Officer Lee completed follow up investigations into Minnow Retailer License checks. Citations were issued to retailers for failing to have a valid minnow retailer’s license. Officer Lee also followed up on garbage complaints left by anglers on area lakes.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this week including checking area lakes for ice shelters left out after the deadline, checking cross country skiers, follow up work with deer hunting and lakeshore alteration cases, and investigation of reported suspicious trapping and fishing behavior. Enforcement contacts were made for leaving fish houses out past the March 2 deadline, ice shelter licensing and identification violations, skiing on GIA ski trails without state ski passes, and persons fishing under recently expired fishing licenses. Anglers are reminded that the game and fish license year ended on Feb. 28. It’s time to buy new fishing licenses.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) fielded questions about staying overnight in fish shelters. Officer Guida issued a car kill deer possession tag and followed up on a fisher that was accidentally trapped in a coyote/fox snare. Numerous all-terrain vehicles were observed out enjoying the warmer weather in substitute of snowmobiles. ATV operators are reminded to consult with trail closures and opening dates.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) checked anglers on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile traffic that had picked up with the last snowfall in the area. The trails were still quite rough and most of the activity was on area lakes. CO Peterson also attended the Central Lakes College for a career day for area high school students. She spoke with several students about a career as a conservation officer.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling enforcement during the week. He also worked on cases from the firearms deer and trapping seasons.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) assisted with snowmobile enforcement in the northern part of the state. He also attended the Mille Lacs input group meeting, worked on equipment electrical problems, monitored ice house removal, and answered questions regarding coyote hunting.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) conducted angling checks throughout the weeks. With the inconsistent weather, angling success has been low. The Mille Lacs input group meeting was attended. The officer fielded a call of an eagle caught in trap; the eagle was not located. The officer answered question regarding northern pike angling on Mille Lacs Lake. Ice houses that remained on Mille Lacs lake were also monitored; the deadline for removal nears.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen out on smaller lakes and on Mille lacs lake during the week and weekend. A few folks were catching some perch and tullibee, and with the northern pike season extension on Mille Lacs Lake some fishermen were trying for some northern pike. Please remember before venturing out fishing that you purchase a 2015 angling license being 2014 licenses are now expired. The Officer attended the annual Mille Lacs Lake input meeting where lake data and possible regulations were discussed. Area snowmobile trails monitored for snowmobile traffic and lots of fishing, trapping, AIS and snowmobile related law questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. Area lakes were also checked for the March removal date. The Officer also looked for litter left on the lakes.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a TIP complaint of anglers tip up fishing for northern after the close of the season. The anglers were located and enforcement action was taken for attempting to take northern out of season and operating a motor vehicle with a canceled driver’s license. Anglers were reminded of the angling license expiration as well as the upcoming ice shelter deadline. Speldrich attended a bear committee meeting in Grand Rapids.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on multiple equipment issues and coordinated with instructors on plans for an upcoming Firearms Safety Class. Time was also spent marking fish houses with GPS to ensure that litter will not be a problem. CO Starr met with Mille Lacs WMA staff on joint divisional projects, goals, and an illegal fire in the WMA. A reminder that the license expiration date of Feb 28 has arrived; a new fishing licenses was required March 1st.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) attended a meeting with local DNR, volunteer safety instructors. Information and updates were provided on DNR safety training programs. Anglers started removing their ice houses due to the fast approaching removal deadline. Time was also spent tracking down those ice shack owners that left behind garbage and other debris.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers and monitoring ice shelter removal. CO Wynn attended a safety instructor forum in Sandstone, checked ATV and snowmobile complaints, and took care of a dispute where anglers were feuding over fishing too close to each other. CO Wynn also answered questions about shelter removal, shelter licensing, and questions about nuisance and injured animals.
WREO Rob Haberman assisted with minnow dealer training in Brainerd. Over 25 dealers were in attendance. WREO Haberman also went to the Mille Lacs Lake input meeting near Garrison. WREO Haberman also worked on cases in his assigned districts.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports most shelters were off the ice by the deadline. A few anglers tried their luck last week. A game farm inspection was completed. A complaint of dogs chasing deer is under investigation. A variety of questions were answered for the public.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) conducted minnow retailer inspections, taxidermy inspections and a game farm inspection. CO Kuske spoke at the natural resources class at Pierz high school and attended the Morrison County Fire Wardens Banquet. A call of a state snowmobile trail being blocked by snow fence and barbed wire is currently being investigated.
WREO Keith Bertram spent most of the week conducting minnow related investigations. Citations were issued for no minnow dealer license, litter, and no ATV registration. WREO Bertram also answered AIS law questions at a lake service provider training.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) was invited to attend the annual 6th grade ice fishing trip from Pierz Elementary School. Fun was had by both kids and adults, one student was so excited to catch a small northern that he gave it a kiss, finding out what most fishermen already know, pike slim doesn’t taste very good. CO Kuske found ATV enthusiasts out enjoying the nice weather, a reminder that the snowmobile trails are not open for ATV operation. A law presentation was given to a snowmobile safety class and they were able to complete the driving course before the snow melted this weekend.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers all week. CO Mies gave a law talk at the Kimball firearms safety class. CO Mies did commercial checks and aeration checks.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked fish house removal deadline, anglers, and commercial minnow investigations. The fish house removal went well with only one house left past the deadline. A kid’s fishing contest was attended on Kraemer Lake in St. Joseph. The kids had a good time and caught several fish. An incident was handled where a guy hit two deer with his snowmobile. He was thrown from his sled and both deer died. The snowmobile was a total loss.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked fishing enforcement find anglers enjoying the nicer weather. All shelters were removed before deadline requirements. A TIP call was investigated and found anglers keeping a northern and not updating their fishing license.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent the week monitoring area lakes for anglers and ice shelter activity. Most houses were removed by the deadline. A TIP call regarding double tripping was received and investigated. Commercial minnow retailer inspections were also conducted. Enforcement action for the week included overlimit of crappies, wanton waste, and fail to remove house/shelter by deadline.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) seized an incidental mink turned in by a trapper. CO Musatov spoke at the MN Rural Water Association Conference in St. Cloud about legal rodent control for stabilization ponds. CO Musatov handled a complaint of a trapper not checking a trap. CO Musatov assisted in an investigation of private property on State Land.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) spent the early part of the week checking area lakes for left over fish houses. For the most part lakes and accesses were clear. Fishing success was fair. Time was spent at two Instructor Forums one held in Mora and the other in Milaca. Enforcement action was taken on possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big lake) worked fishermen on lakes. He assisted on an injured swan that was caught and sent to the rehabilitation center thanks to a volunteer rescue team. He made a number of phone calls setting up spring Firearms Safety Classes. He answered a number of questions about the upcoming Spring Turkey hunting season.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave presentations to Firearms Safety classes in Buffalo and Hanover. Reller also followed up on several fish houses left out past the deadline. Enforcement action was taken for leaving fish house out past the deadline, litter, angling without a license and underage consumption of alcohol.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) attended the Polar Plunge and an instructor forum. Officer Londgren also checked anglers and snowmobiles, followed up on ice shelters left at public accesses, patrolled state and federal lands, and took complaints of trespassing. A call was received by a woman in the Grandy area who found a dead horse on her property. Any information in regards to this case please contact Officer Londgren.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy weekend on area lakes. Anglers found some panfish in the area. CO Langevin also conducted a taxidermist, fur buyer and game farm inspections. Litter complaints on area lakes were also handled. Violations included no license in possession.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) spent the week checking anglers and following up with complaints. CO Grewe spoke at a boating safety class and helped out with an aggressive turkey complaint. Violations included littering and no fishing license in possession.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent the week doing angling and fish house enforcement. The fish house removal date was quite successful; however, a couple houses were left out past the deadline and were dealt with accordingly. She also assisted a deputy investigate suspicious shooting near a WMA. Extra patrols in the WMA areas will be performed. Enforcement action was taken on littering, possession of marijuana, no fish license in possession, no fishing license, and having a fish house out passed the removal date.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers in the Mound station, cleaned up garbage, and removed a fish house left on Lake Minnetonka. He took calls on animal complaints and answered questions on fishing regulations. He also answered questions to the Hmong community on the small game season and scheduled firearms safety classes.
Bloomington – vacant.
Mound – vacant.
Prior Lake – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time monitoring ice shelter removal and littering issues on area lakes. He continued checking ice anglers, trappers, and patrolling Carlos Avery WMA for off road vehicle activity. He also set up the Wall of Shame display at the Deer Classic in Blaine, responded to an ATV complaint and fielded calls about nuisance animals.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked ice anglers and ice conditions. He patrolled at Afton State Park. CO Johnson received calls on injured deer, and muskrats causing damage. He completed computer training, and scheduled firearms safety classes.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers around the Metro area lakes and rivers. Snowmobiles and ATVs were also checked on area lakes. CO Joe Kulhanek and CO Pril spent some time removing a collapsed abandoned fish shelter on area lake. Officer Pril also spoke at a firearm safety class in Vermillion Township and handled injured animal calls.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent part of the week teaching officer training at Camp Ripley. WREO Block also patrolled for angling activity and shelter removal compliance. A Cease and Desist Order was rescinded in Hennepin County regarding a possible wetland impact.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) had a deer baiting case that started with a TIP call in November. Evidence was found but there wasn’t enough information at that time to figure out a suspect until CO Kruse received another TIP call this past week. After interviewing the suspect, he admitted to hunting deer over bait and not registering a deer. Enforcement action was taken. CO Kruse dealt with fish houses left on area lakes after the removal deadline and finished a trapping case that involved not tending traps and untagged traps. She assisted a neighboring officer with a stolen fish house case, worked on a wolf case, continued working on a deer license case, set up FAS classes and assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers on area lakes. He spoke at a turkey clinic as well as some firearms safety classes and responded to various wildlife calls. Enforcement action for the week included angle without valid license and possession of marijuana.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for ice houses and shelters left out after the removal deadline. Thanks to all who removed their houses on time! CO Salzer also assisted with training at Camp Ripley and set up Firearm Safety classes.
Eagan – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) followed up on WCA violations in Lyon and Kandiyohi Counties. A WREO meeting conference call and a meeting with BWSR was also attended. Compliance was good for removing fish houses off area lakes. Maintenance on equipment was also completed.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working investigations, instructing on the firearms range, and handling injured wildlife calls. Warm temperatures have brought sledding and ice angling to a halt.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked ATV, ice fishing and snowmobile activity during the week. Fish house removal activity was checked with excellent compliance. Anglers are urged to use caution as ice conditions are changing daily with the warm temperatures.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) monitored rough fish netting on area lakes and conducted minnow retail inspections. Warm weather will deteriorate ice on lakes and rivers rapidly. An investigation into ATV operation on a management area near Montevideo is underway.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) Majority of the week was spent working ice fishing, snowmobile, ATV, and predator hunting enforcement. Good compliance was seen with the shelter removal deadline. Ice fishing activity has decreased with the spotty ice conditions. Training items were also worked on.
Benson – vacant.
Madison – vacant.
Redwood Falls – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) educated ice anglers about needing a new angling license as of March 1st. He checked the area lakes and addressed fish house removal issues. Denz also followed up on commercial license inspections.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked aeration systems in the area and is checking all the lakes for litter left behind after the fish houses were removed. Some time was spent on the snowmobile before all the snow disappeared. Time was also spent checking anglers out enjoying the nice weather and answering questions that the public had.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked area lakes and the neighboring vacant station for ice shelters removed by the deadline. All houses were removed in time. She conducted an aeration inspection. ATV and snowmobilers were also checked during the week with the last snowfall.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding injured wildlife and coyote hunting regulations. He spent time following up on deer cases from last season. Nelson also worked angling, snowmobile and ATV enforcement.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers and snowmobile and ATV traffic. He attended training and conducted a commercial inspection.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked area lakes for shelter removal. All were removed but a few felt that it was ok to leave them on public accesses for convenience. Shoreland violations were investigated. Commercial activity and facilities were inspected. Aeration systems were also inspected.
Willmar #1 – vacant.
Windom – vacant.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) monitored lakes and accesses this past week for shelter violations. ATV activity was worked. An equipment training session was also attended.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes & rivers. The officer patrolled for ATV and snowmobile activity. A volunteer safety instructor forum was attended. Small game hunting & trapping were monitored. Multiple violations were encountered during the week.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) conducted aeration inspections. Warm weather and high winds are rapidly deteriorating ice conditions. CO Howe spoke on laws and ethics at a Firearms Safety All Day Field & Range Day, as well as at a Turkey Clinic.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the majority of the week checking anglers and ATV operators. Officer Ihnen also spent time investigating incidents of fish shelters left on area lakes and public water accesses after the removal deadline. A public waters complaint was also investigated.
WREO Julie Siems followed up on Wetland Conservation Act and Public Waters violations. A citation was issued for failing to comply with a restoration order. Lakes and anglers were checked during fish house removals.
Albert Lea – vacant.
Mankato #1 – vacant.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week and weekend checking angling activity. Open water fishing is in full swing with the first open water tournament of the year being held in the area. Both ice anglers and open water anglers were catching fish with hundreds of people out fishing by both methods. Time was also spent inspecting area minnow retailers and checking ATV activity. Numerous angling violations were detected.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the river is opening up. He used an airboat to rescue two dogs that ventured out on ice into open water on the river a couple hundred yards from the bank. Hemker investigated two wetland violations and several deer hunting issues including a Wisconsin residency violation where the WI Warden will do follow up. He found the responsible party where trash, including a license plate, was dumped into a trout stream. Hemker also attended a DNR listening session and spoke at a Natural Resource high school class.
CO Phil George (Rochester) spent the week checking anglers and following up on a wetlands complaint. Inspections on minnow retailers were completed. Took another tip call and made a double trip over bag,
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers during the week. Lots of people were out with the warmer weather and some did well on panfish. Heyn also spoke to a high school class and worked on equipment issues.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy week and weekend on and around the big river. Panfish action was found to be a little slow in the backwaters but it did not deter the large number of fishermen who were out enjoying the very warm weekend. A boating and fishing detail was worked below the Red Wing dam during one of the first open water tournaments of the year. Commercial inspections, ATV checks, and assistance provided to a few different county attorneys offices rounded out the weeks activity.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking numerous trout anglers out in the warm weather. Success was fair. Violations encountered were no trout stamp, no license in possession and angling without a license. CO Boyum worked a snaring case where a subject failed to check his snares daily. Enforcement action was taken. A few snowmobiles were out for the last hurrah. Compliance was high.
CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) spoke to a firearms safety class held in La Crescent. He attended the annual Houston Chapter of the NWTF banquet. He attended meeting with Commissioner and other DNR staff. He investigated calls involving shooting from a motor vehicle and unattended traps. The warm weather over the weekend brought out hundreds of fishermen.