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Boreal Community Media

Weekly Conservation Officer Reports for Northeast Minnesota

Feb 22, 2023 10:58AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Boreal Community Media file

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - February 21, 2023

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling activity was high over the week and good success was seen on several designated trout lakes, although the average size still seems smaller than past years. Trail conditions were found to be holding their own. Some trail sections near Ely were found to have dangerous and difficult ice patches. Violations included excessive snowmobile speed, fishing without a license in possession, and failure to display snowmobile registration.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers on area trout lakes. Ice travel remains decent with minimal slush. He attended a local snowmobile event and patrolled snowmobile trails.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports snowmobile trail conditions in the area have taken a hit without any large snowfalls in the past month. Trout anglers are catching some fish, but in general are having a tough go of it. Violations encountered were snowmobile speed, expired registration, failure to display registration and possessing live minnows on a designated trout lake.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy weekend of snowmobile and angling enforcement. Extra care needs to be taken on snowmobile trails as the corners are very icy. Enforcement action was taken for no ski pass, operating an ATV on a state highway, extra lines, loud snowmobile exhaust, snowmobile speed, and registration violations.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked anglers and snowmobiles as more winter arrived to the Northland. More questions came in regarding coyotes near town; as an unprotected species they can be taken any time without a license. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. Some area lakes have been producing some nice panfish. Anglers are reminded to clean up all debris when moving ice shelters to leave a clean area for the next angler.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports monitoring snowmobile activity at the International Voyageurs Snowmobile Annual Charity Radar Run on Rainy Lake. Lots of snowmobilers were out enjoying the holiday weekend, as were ice anglers trying to catch a few fish. Overall compliance was good with only a few ATV-operation violations. Snowmobilers are reminded to slow down and ride to the right.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working snowmobile activity and ice fishing activity this past week. Many people were out enjoying the trails and lakes. Calls and complaints about dogs chasing deer were addressed as well.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reminds people that as we near the time of year when property owners begin work on docks and other shoreline projects, they should make sure required permits are obtained and appropriate forms are submitted ahead of time. This process reduces delays in the project timelines and makes the project proceed more smoothly. If you are unsure if a permit is required, contact the agency responsible for management and ask. Snowmobile activity has increased this past week with several events in the area and the extended weekend. Complaints were again heard for illegal snowmobile exhaust and some individuals were contacted for this violation.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities. He heard numerous comments over the week about high wolf numbers and lack of deer. Otter catches were dealt with as well, as the high otter population has these animals in increasing numbers in all flowages and water courses. Timber sales continue to be checked. Confiscated fur was processed. Angling success remains poor.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) primarily worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. Larson spent time around area trails. Trails remain fairly good considering the warm weather and rain that the area has received in the past weeks.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. Rain and wind during the week kept many people from recreating, but warm weather over the weekend brought them back outdoors. Anglers still report a slow bite and the weather caused parts of many local snowmobile trails to deteriorate. Violations encountered were primarily snowmobile speed and registration issues.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking anglers over the weekend. Snowmobile trails remain in need of fresh snow, as the previous spell of rain greatly deteriorated trail conditions. Nuisance-animal and trespass calls were fielded over the week.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobile activity. Few anglers were encountered on area lakes. Anglers who were contacted reported limited success. Recent warm weather and rain negatively impacted area snowmobile trails, but snowmobile activity remained high through the weekend. Broughten also fielded calls regarding injured animals and lake access.

Cook vacant.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew wolf-telemetry flights and got some simulated IFR practice in at the same time.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying wolf-pack survey flights and flying an enforcement flight to assess CWD feeding ban violations and ice angling pressure on area lakes. Numerous illegal feeding sites within the CWD surveillance area were noted.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended annual aerial applicator refresher training in preparation for the cattail spraying project this summer. He also worked on helicopter-maintenance items.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) worked on multiple training curriculums for upcoming flights this spring and summer. He attended to assigned duties and followed up with vendors.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) performed ground-training tasks, attended a webinar and took care of administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) worked snowmobile trail enforcement, checked anglers, and patrolled local state parks. Humphrey reviewed and updated active waters and wetland case files.
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