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Boreal Community Media

Weekly Conservation Officer Reports for Northeast Minnesota

Mar 09, 2023 09:42AM ● By Content Editor
Image: Boreal Community Media files

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - March 9, 2023

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports snowmobile activity was very high in the Ely area over the week as trail conditions continue to hold. Angling success for trout was limited with only a few anglers checked having any success. Violations included failure to display current snowmobile registration and angling with no license in possession.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Trails started to deteriorate over the weekend due to the warm weather. Trout fishing was slow overall this week on area lakes.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) attended firearms training at the St. Paul Police Department. He assisted with certifying 41 students at the Cook County School during the snowmobile safety field day. Time was also spent patrolling area lakes and trails by snowmobile.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports trout anglers are having more success as the days continue to grow longer. Snowmobile trails are in as good of condition as one could ask for. Ledeen and U.S. Forest Service Officer Belmore recovered three stolen snowmobiles that were abandoned at the edge of the BWCA. The snowmobiles had been previously reported stolen out of an enclosed trailer off the Arrowhead Trail weeks prior. Other violations encountered were failure to display registration, no snowmobile safety certificate, modified snowmobile exhaust and angling with an invalid license.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a weekend snowmobile and angling detail with CO Lawler stretching from Ely to the Gunflint Trail, with many good contacts made. Time was also spent on ski trail enforcement and working with the Flathorn-Gegoka ski club on an article for their next newsletter. Enforcement action included snowmobile speed, registration, and modified muffler violations, fishing without licenses and trout stamps, and use of live minnows on a designated trout lake. The crappie bite is still slow.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked ice anglers for litter issues and shelter removal deadlines that are fast approaching. A reminder that a new 2023 angling license is now required. Snowmobile trails are holding up well with warmer weather, but road crossings and parking lots are fast becoming muddy. Training was received, and work planning commenced for the open-water season. Enforcement action taken for snowmobile violations.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports this might have been the last good weekend for snowmobiling in the area. Trails are starting to go with bare spots and the snow is starting to get very sugary. Lake trails still should be good. People are reminded again to remove litter and debris from ice shelter sites when removing them from the lake. Enforcement action was taken for several no state trail stickers.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week working area snowmobile trails, lakes and rivers. Time was also spent working Lake of the Woods and up at the Northwest Angle. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, unattended lines and registration violations.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports warmer weather brought anglers and snowmobilers out to enjoy what may be some of the last days for good snowmobiling conditions. Bare spots are showing up and areas where there had been logging activity are sloppy at best. Most shelters have already been removed from area waterways, but owners are still reminded that deadlines are fast approaching for both inland waters and border waters. With no significant snowfall in the forecast, ice conditions can and do change rapidly.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) continued monitoring angling and snowmobile activities. Local trails have deteriorated as temperatures above freezing have arrived. The end of the snowmobile season is around the corner. Field patrols over the week revealed multiple deer killed by wolves. Angling success remains very poor with few fish observed being caught.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobile activity. Angling activity has dropped off significantly after the close of seasons for many primary game species. Larson encounter snowmobile violations in the state park and is working on investigating a theft.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked snowmobile enforcement and angling activity. In addition, time was spent training at Camp Ripley and working the Crane Lake Challenge snowmobile event with other local COs. Anglers still targeting panfish and trout are reminded that 2022 angling licenses are expired. Violations encountered included snowmobile speed, snowmobile registration, no shelter license, and allowing dogs to chase deer.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobile activity. Few anglers were encountered on area lakes. Anglers are reminded ice shelter deadlines are approaching. Anglers should be making arrangements and not waiting until the deadline. Snowmobile activity remained high. Snowmobile speed remains the most common violation, with several stops for more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, including one for 92 mph in a 50 mph zone.

Cook vacant.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew several wolf-survey flights and assisted the Wildlife Section with getting footage of elk herds in northwestern Minnesota.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying aeration/angling recon flights in open stations. Possible abandoned shelters were documented, one unpermitted aeration system was found, anglers were checked from ski plane and a few possible illegal CWD feeding locations were observed.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) did helicopter ground training with a pilot and continued with helicopter maintenance issues. He also taught classes to middle school students about moose, deer, and elk surveys.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) scheduled upcoming training flights with unit pilots. He worked on ground and flight training curriculums for the upcoming spring and summer training programs. He attended aircraft equipment meetings.

Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) completed a training flight this week once the poor weather lifted. Future flights and upcoming training were planned.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) worked on developing training material, recertified her applicators category ?A? license, and continued ground training.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) reviewed ongoing wetland and waters cases with northeast region officers and local government units. Humphrey worked snowmobile trail enforcement and checked area anglers.
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