District 2 - Bemidji area
CO (Conservation Officer) Tim Gray (Bagley) checked snowmobile riders and anglers. In addition, he started marking fish houses before removal date.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Travel conditions were good for the last week of the walleye season. Snowmobile trails were busy but deteriorated some over the weekend with the warm weather. Cross-country skiers were checked for ski passes on area grant-in-aid trails.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) spent the past week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile trails. Training was also done with her K9 partner Storm.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports very warm weather did a number on parts of the area snowmobile trails. Fish houses were marked and monitored for litter and the quickly approaching shelter removal date. The panfish bite has picked up on some lakes and anglers took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to close out the fishing season. A young snowmobiler, who got stuck in deep ditch snow, was towed out.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and patrolling area snowmobile trails. With warm weather over the weekend, Swedberg talked with many snowmobile riders and ice anglers. Trails are a little rough, but that did not deter anyone and most anglers were having moderate success.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training and worked snowmobile and angling enforcement, including a work detail on Lake of the Woods.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked the Frozen Block Party in Walker, snowmobile enforcement on trails in Remer and Outing, and angling enforcement in her station. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of crappies, angling without an angling license, unattended lines and extra lines.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) continued to check snowmobile riders and anglers. She patrolled the Frozen Block Party and also investigated multiple areas where corn was being placed on the roads for deer.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) noticed an increase in shelters on the ice with recent weather making lakes more accessible. Anderson also worked with other area officers on Leech Lake for the Frozen Block Party, focusing on snowmobile and fishing activity.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and snowmobiles. Angling activity has continued to increase with the improving lake conditions. Perch fishing started to turn on with the warmer weather. A call was taken about a sick deer. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile, angling, and ATV violations.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked sport fishing and snowmobile activity this past week. The fishing appeared to be slow for most anglers. Snowmobile trails continued to be in good condition and trail use was high. Sullivan contacted one angler who was very excited about the fact that they had caught a nice northern pike but later realized they had not purchased an angling license.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for angling and snowmobile activity throughout the past week. Snowmobilers are enjoying excellent trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked snowmobile and ice fishing activity during the week. Issues of trail trespass were dealt with and enforcement action may be taken. Stay off private property or we will lose our trails. Best took enforcement action this past week for expired snowmobile registrations and no helmets on kids under 18.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working the snowmobile trails throughout the week and weekend. Many riders were out enjoying the great trails and nice weather. Fitzgerald patrolled area lakes for fishing activity and fielded many outdoor law-related questions. Time was spent patrolling the state recreation area for vehicle permits and for illegal vehicle activity. Enforcement action for the week included various parks-, ATV-, fishing- and snowmobile-related violations.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked snowmobile and angling activity on area lakes and trails. She contacted some riders who decided to “open up” their machines going across the lake. She ran into a group of happy anglers on Lake Minnewawa who might not have been catching much but sure were enjoying the day.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) spent time marking and monitoring fish house removals for littering issues, worked the Frozen Fore event on Gull Lake, and checked anglers and snowmobilers. Enforcement activity included snowmobile speeding, expired registrations, angling with extra lines, unattended lines and tip-ups, angling without a license, illegal-length fish, and no shelter license on fish houses.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity. A car-killed eagle was handled and questions were answered on KKIN Radio. Assistance was given at a fifth-grade fishing event.
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COMING UP: Ice fishing shelters must be removed from inland waters in the southern two-thirds of the state by midnight on March 2, and from inland waters in the northern one-third by midnight on March 16.
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District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activities as the melt has begun and the season is winding down. Speed and registration were checked on the snowmobile trails, where conditions are also deteriorating and showing some bare spots. Verkuilen also attended the Mille Lacs Lake input meeting and checked some late-season rabbit hunters.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ice angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for storing property at a Mille Lacs Lake public access, unattended lines, failure to have an ice shelter license, litter, failure to display an ice shelter license, failure to properly display ice shelter identification, failure to have a fishing license in possession, failure to display snowmobile registration, and operating a snowmobile without a muffler. She spent time teaching kids how to fish for northern pike with tip-ups at a kids’ fishing event in Aitkin. She also spent time assisting the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office on a domestic abuse call.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked anglers on area lakes. She also spent time patrolling snowmobile trails. As we approach shelter removal deadlines, please clean up any litter on the ice. If it looks as though a shelter owner may leave litter on the ice, document the location and if possible the information on the shelter and report this to your local conservation officer.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked a busy last weekend of the walleye season and found warmer weather brought out some party-goers. Violations for fish house licenses, drug items, and snowmobile registration were handled. Upcoming safety class plans were made and a large bonfire from partying on a Pierz-station lake was investigated.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) monitored lakes around the station for angling activity. Anglers were finding some action with the panfish bite and a few walleyes were seen on the closing weekend as well. ATV violations were addressed while on patrol, as were littering complaints. Silgjord also attended a Sauk Centre Conservation Club meeting and addressed current DNR-related issues.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked a big-game case with a neighboring officer. Fishing shelters on area lakes were documented in advance of the upcoming deadline for removal. He attended meetings this past week as well.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports ice angling activity picked up with the nice weather as the walleye and pike season ended. A TIP report was received in regards to an illegally speared and possessed muskellunge. Enforcement action was taken after the completion of the investigation. Calls from the public included a report of an injured eagle and reports of shooting after dark. Additional enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no angling license in possession, registration violations and operating a Class II ATV without the required headlights on. He would also like to remind anglers to remove all trash/litter from area lakes and that shelters need to be removed no later than midnight on March 2.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a busy end to the game fish season. One angler thought it was OK to leave his tip-ups out while he ran home 5 miles for a break. Another angler said he forgot his license at home and bought it 15 minutes after Bertram checked him. Unfortunately for him, all licenses are date- and time-stamped when purchased.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) conducted commercial inspections, checked anglers, and assisted with a Becoming an Outdoors Woman event. As trail conditions have deteriorated with the warmer weather, snowmobiles are reminded to stay on the trails and off private property.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) responded to a TIP call in Wright County regarding a pair of men from out of state keeping too many fish. Once the initial investigation was completed, Benkofske charged the men with a gross overlimit. Large crowds of recreationalists and anglers were checked on lakes with warm weather bringing many people outside. Benkofske stopped an ATV on Julia Lake resulting in a DWI arrest after the impaired driver tested over twice the legal limit for alcohol consumption and driving.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. A burning-prohibited-materials complaint was investigated. Follow up was done on a big-game case.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week patrolling for snowmobile and angling activity. Even though numerous anglers were out with the warm weather, anglers found the fish were not biting as well with the big temperature swing. Krauel would like to remind anglers that the shelter removal deadline is fast approaching. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana/drug paraphernalia, angling without a license, angling with extra lines, illegal-length walleyes, and expired ATV registration. Krauel also assisted State Patrol on a DUI arrest.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a wolf telemetry count and attended to maintenance on the airplane.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a rotary training flight and checking area ice anglers, who were out with the warm weather that arrived this past week.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance scheduling and administrative tasks for upcoming spring projects.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working snowmobile, fishing and forestry activity. Time was spent patrolling lakes for litter and shelters that may get left past the deadline. Open cases and AIS discussions regarding 2020 check stations and locations are taking place.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued work on Wetland Conservation Act cases in his assigned work area and helped with cases in Region 3. Ice fishing and snowmobile activity were monitored around area lakes and trails.