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Boreal Community Media

Weekly Conservation Officer Reports for Northeast Minnesota

Mar 01, 2023 10:11AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Boreal Community Media files

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - February 28, 2023

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling activity was average for the end of the walleye and northern pike season. Snowmobile traffic was low and trail conditions continue to be good. Violations included angling on a designated trout lake with no trout stamp, failure to display snowmobile registration, and operating a snowmobile on a roadway.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers on area lakes and in the BWCAW, with some nice lake trout seen on the ice. He spent time on snowmobile trails working speed and registration. Enforcement action was taking for snowmobile and angling violations.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) spent the week working fishing and snowmobiling activity. Trail conditions are back in great shape, but fishing remains slow. Enforcement action was taken for failing to stop at a road crossing, failure to display registration, angling without a trout stamp, and driving while impaired. Equipment maintenance was also performed.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports snowmobile trails remain busy and fish bites remain slow. There are still plenty of problems with excessive speed on trails, creating a danger to everyone else traveling on them. Enforcement action for the week included failure to transfer snowmobile ownership, snowmobile registration violations, loud exhaust, excessive speed, and no shelter tag. Media interviews were conducted.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked snowmobile trails and riders as snow continued to pile up. Careless riding, riding too fast for the conditions and skill level, and modified mufflers continue to be issues. State parks were worked, and ice anglers were checked as walleye and northern pike seasons ended. Annual equipment inventory was completed. Enforcement action taken for snowmobile and angling violations.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) spent time monitoring fishing activity at the annual Rainy Lake Sportfishing Club Family Fishing Derby. Small amounts of recent snowfall have helped keep local snowmobile trails in excellent shape. People are reminded that when the time comes for fish shelter removal from area lakes, debris and litter should also be taken.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports patrolling area snowmobile trails and working area lakes and rivers. Simonson would like to remind everyone that fishing licenses expire Feb. 28.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobile riders and anglers filled most of the past week with plenty of activity. Trail conditions continue to be favorable. As the seasons begin to show signs of changing, plans should be made for removal of shelters from waterways ahead of deadlines. Part of that preparation should be recovery and removal of litter from sites. Snowmobile registration and exhaust are still common topics this late in the season.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities. Incidental otter catches continue to be dealt with. Beaver-trapping activity was checked. Area forest roads and timber sales continue to be monitored. Other time was spent completing administrative tasks.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) spent time checking angling and snowmobile activity. Larson worked on local trails checking snowmobile speed and registration. Larson encountered violations such as failure to display registration and ATVs on snowmobile trails. Larson is also working on a case involving abandoned property.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling activity and snowmobile enforcement. In addition, time was spent assisting another agency with an investigation and speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Chisholm. Violations encountered included snowmobile speed, registration issues, and ATV violations.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time attending a snowmobile safety talk. Zavodnik spoke to approximately 15 students regarding the rules and regulations regarding operating snowmobiles. Time was also spent working a detail around the Cook area over the weekend. A few violations observed while on lake included unattended lines, extra lines, and various angling license violations. Multiple excessive-speed citations and registration violations were encountered throughout the day while patrolling area snowmobile trails. A fair number of riders were still observed traveling too fast on the trails, which seems to be the common theme.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobile activity. Fishing activity overall was low. Anglers who were out reported limited success. Recent snowfall helped area snowmobile trails but more snow will be needed to keep riding.

Cook vacant.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) reviewed and updated ongoing and dormant wetland and waters cases. Division training, aquatic plant management and AIS work planning, and summer outreach were scheduled. Online autism training for law enforcement was completed. Humphrey also worked snowmobile trail enforcement where several registration, operation, and safety training violations were encountered.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying wolf pack surveys, inspecting aeration systems and still finding some illegal CWD deer-feeding locations.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) did helicopter training with a pilot and worked on helicopter maintenance and administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) completed a return-to-service flight for an aircraft fresh out of inspection. Maintenance logs were checked and status sheets were updated. Wolf telemetry flights were completed.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) continued ground training, attended several webinars, and performed maintenance tasks.
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