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Boreal Community Media

Weekly Conservation Officer Reports for Northeast Minnesota

Jul 12, 2023 10:22AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Boreal Community Media files

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - July 12, 2023


Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports that ATV and fishing activity was at a low after the long Independence Day weekend. Mild weather was enjoyed along with lower numbers of biting insects. A focus was put on commercial inspections over the week and compliance was found to be very high.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais #1) spent the week checking anglers and watercraft. The walleye bite remains steady for most anglers on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling, navigational nights and BWCAW violations.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports that fishing in the area remains consistent, with many of the visiting anglers observed going home with limits of smallmouth bass. Nuisance bears continue to be a problem and folks are reminded to keep their camps, cabins, and homes clean of items that will attract bears. One report came in of a bear cub that made its way into someone?s cabin. The animal helped itself to some chocolate.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and boating enforcement throughout the week. He also assisted Bear Head State Park staff with a camping complaint. Enforcement action was plentiful, including underage consumption of alcohol, fishing without a license, fishing with extra lines, no PFDs on watercrafts, watercraft registration, and state park violations. Bermel also spoke to a firearms safety class about laws and ethics.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) followed up on enforcement items regarding commercial activities. ATV use was checked and forest roads were monitored for repairs following flooding from 2022. Equipment maintenance was handled, and watercraft instruction items were prepped for the CO Academy. Enforcement action was taken for commercial and ATV operation.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports hitting Lake Superior throughout the week. The majority of anglers fishing in about 150 feet of water reported success with lake trout, with most of the fish weighing in at a few pounds. Some anglers ventured deep in search of larger fish but came up empty. Reports of some early coho salmon were received around Grand Marais. Hill attended a Cook County AIS meeting and took a report of a nuisance bear.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and watercraft enforcement activity during the week. Fishing activity improved this week with some nice fish being caught. Murray also assisted with water survival classes at the DNR Academy.

Ely #2 vacant.

Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports time was spent on Rainy Lake monitoring fishing and boating activity. He also responded to a complaint of some waterfowl being killed, which still under investigation. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and illegal-length walleyes.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week checking sturgeon anglers on the Rainy River. Anglers reported limited success. Nuisance/injured-animal calls were handled throughout the week. He also patrolled area forest roads and trails for ATV activity.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports a noticeable increase in activity around area lakes and rivers as the Fourth of July holiday approached. The warm weather had more people boating than angling, although angler reports were still positive. Later in the week it seems that fishing had slowed considerably with unsteady weather patterns coming through the area. Berries appear to be in sufficient supply to get interested parties out for the harvest.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities. Area forest roads and ATV activities were checked. Public water access sites were visited. Other time was spent on administrative tasks and working on equipment.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily ATV and angling activity. Larson spent time assisting the local police department and responding to wildlife-related calls. He also found violations related to youthful ATV operation.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATV and boating enforcement. In addition, time was spent on a water-emergency call in Itasca County and patrolling several community events celebrating the holiday. Violations encountered included operating an off-highway motorcycle on a public roadway, youth without ATV helmets, children without life jackets on, and license/registration issues.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time preparing for the next two weeks of CO Academy watercraft training at Camp Ripley. He also spent time patrolling surrounding lakes and ATV trails.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Few anglers were encountered during the week. Anglers reported limited success. Boating and ATV activity slowed after the Fourth of July. Broughten also fielded calls regarding injured animals and dogs chasing deer.

Cook vacant.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) reviewed multiple ongoing wetland and waters cases that included two new restoration orders. Humphrey assisted with training officer candidates at the Academy held at Camp Ripley.