District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) saw far fewer people out with the cold weather. The fishing stayed about the same, which was slow. A few anglers in the right spots had plenty of crappies and bluegills. Snowmobile use was down. The trails are a little rough and could use fresh snow.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) spent time this past week patrolling snowmobile trails and checking angling activity. Several contacts were made for extra lines, snowmobile-registration issues and speed.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office with an alcohol-related snowmobile accident.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) started Phase 2 of field training with a new conservation officer. The officers primarily worked sport fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, no shelter ID/license, no reflective material on a shelter, no license in possession while angling, unattended lines, small amount marijuana and paraphernalia, failure to display registration, expired registration, and failure to stop at a stop sign.

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CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked snowmobiling and ice fishing activity in the area. Snowmobile trails continue to be usable but in need of additional snowfall. Area lakes continue to build ice and anglers have been able to navigate well. Several litter cases continue to be investigated.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working the state recreation area for fishing activity throughout the past week and weekend. With the bitter cold, only a handful of folks were out trying their luck for trout. Snowmobile activity was also monitored throughout the week and weekend with a few people out enjoying the trails. The trails could use some more snow. Patrol was done throughout the SRA for vehicle permits and illegal vehicle activity. Many bikers were out enjoying the nice trails.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked big-game investigations this past week. Guida offered court trial witness testimony in a past snowmobile violation case. A big-game investigation was completed where an individual purchased a big-game license and registered a deer six minutes after the purchase. The license was determined to be invalid and the both individuals involved in the lend/borrow violation were subject to enforcement action, including a $500 penalty for restitution.



District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) observed a significant reduction in the number of anglers over the past weekend due to frigid weather. Richards assisted with a youth snowmobile safety class in Ashby over the weekend. Time was also spent checking shelters for identification, licenses, and litter.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers and fish houses, as well as ATV and snowmobile riders. A snowmobile safety class was attended in Ashby. Osborne presented on laws, ethics and riding. He received calls about injured animals and advised the callers.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to check ice anglers and ATV and snowmobile riders. Lakes continue to be busy with cooperation from fish picking up a bit. Plautz worked with local clubs on upcoming rules and regulations regarding a fishing derby and also took multiple calls about nuisance deer and injured or sick animals. Plautz has been busy working with school community education on upcoming popular snowmobile safety classes and getting youth registered for the events.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this past week on the snowmobile working area lakes for anglers and recreational riders. Frigid weather kept most people off the ice, but a few stuck it out and enjoyed a quieter time on the ice. Several anglers were cited for possessing illegal drugs and paraphernalia. One angler was cited for fishing without a license after using his employer’s ATV to get out to the shack. After Lawler checked it over, the ATV was not licensed, which led to the owner being contacted and cited for that violation.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) focused primarily on ice fishing activity in the area. Time was also spent monitoring recreational vehicles and coyote hunting. Numerous ice shelter violations were addressed, including improper identification and shelter license violations. Enforcement action was also taken for extra lines and angling license violations.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) continued to work fishing, snowmobile, and recreational vehicle activity. He assisted with a youth snowmobile safety class over the weekend. Follow up was completed on open cases/investigations.



District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this past week checking anglers on local lakes. Time was also spent working predator-hunting activity.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile trails. Outdoor activity slowed over the weekend with the colder weather.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking anglers and a few snowmobile riders. Trails are seeing a lot of wear and some of the more open areas are down to very little snow. Fishing has slowed in the area. Vinton was contacted by a local coyote trapper who snared a large fisher. The fisher was collected and sold to a local fur buyer. Very cold weather finally arrived in the area and has slowed outdoor activities.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) returned to work this past week. A snowmobile event was worked, but sub-zero temperatures seemed to have cut down significantly on participants. Anglers were also checked on local lakes, with some success being reported, despite the cold.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week patrolling snowmobile and fishing activity. With the coldest weather of the year, not as many people were seen recreating in the Detroit Lakes area. Several groups of snowmobile riders were checked and for the most part were law-abiding. Enforcement action for the week included loud mufflers on snowmobiles, no registration displayed on a snowmobile, snowmobile speed, and fishing without a license.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ongoing cases, snowmobile enforcement, anglers and miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. One report was received of three different grouse flying into three different windows on the same house only minutes apart. Two of the grouse died as a result.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent giving a law and ethics presentation to a firearms safety class in Wolverton.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity with anglers have fair success. Fish houses were checked for regulation compliance. Snowmobile and ATV activity was worked on area trails and lakes.



District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. The lakes were not as busy as prior weeks, likely due to the extreme cold. The bite was slow as well. Some snowmobile riders were seen, but the trails have seen better days. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued patrolling on her snowmobile and checked multiple riders and anglers. Kunst checked an angler who was angling under a suspended license. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) continued to work snowmobiling and ice angling. Cross reports area snowmobile trails are in pretty rough shape with the lack of recent snow. Enforcement activity for the week included spearing without a license, illegal-length northern pike, unregistered ATV, failure to transfer ownership of an ATV, extra fishing lines, and illegally placed traps.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. She also responded to a call of an injured wolf.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked the lakes and trails during the past week. Fishing has slowed a bit with the cold weather and the trails are in poor condition due to lack of snow. Time was spent on area WMAs, with timber trespass and abandoned property issues being discovered. Anderson attended a local Minnesota Dark House and Angling association meeting to discuss issues seen on the lakes and answer general hunting and fishing questions. He also instructed at a snowmobile safety class.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. Ice angler numbers have increased and the ice conditions have improved. Success is mixed and the best bite has been in the evening. He checked snowmobilers out in the ditches and on the area lakes. Expired-registration violations were found. He checked some trappers and traps in road ditches.



District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored angling activity on Mille Lacs Lake. Snowmobile and ATV activity in the Isle area was also monitored. As the temperature dropped towards the end of the week, so did the fishing success. Anglers reported the bite was tough throughout the weekend. Violations encountered included angling without a license, angling with extra lines, possession of drug paraphernalia, shelter tag violations, and leaving lines unattended.

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity, including a lot of nonresident anglers. Ice thickness is finally more consistent and some hard-sided houses have found their way to their usual locations just as some owners are pulling them in for the winter.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling Mille Lacs Lake and other area lakes for fishing activity. She also spent time patrolling snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for an ice shelter on the ice without a license, unattended lines, illegal-length walleye, unmeasurable fish/carcasses, no fishing license in possession, unmarked ice shelter, failure to display ice shelter tag and litter.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled area trails on snowmobile. Enforcement action was taken for improperly displaying registration. Local fish houses were checked and those without proper identification and/or shelter tags were documented. The Willow River Dam project is nearing completion and soon the reservoir will begin to fill. This will be very exciting for area residents. Speldrich also attended a Law Enforcement Memorial Association meeting in the metro.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing, snowmobile, and trapping activities. Frigid weather prevented outdoor activities and became dangerous in high-wind areas. A deer-poaching incident was investigated, and assistance given with a missing person search.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for various violations including angling without a license, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, possession of walleye fillets on Mille Lacs Lake, no shelter license, no shelter identification, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana.



District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking anglers. A sporadic bite was seen throughout the station. Silgjord addressed violations for extra lines, shelter violations, and license violations.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on follow up with fall cases and county attorneys this week. He also worked on fishing activity. With little snow, the only snowmobile activity is on area lakes.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers on area lakes, patrolled snowmobile trails, responded to a nuisance-bobcat complaint, and assisted the Little Falls Police Department searching for a missing person.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports seeing an increase in angling and spearing activity on local lakes. He also reports anglers having some luck catching northern pike and panfish in the St. Cloud area. Enforcement action consisted of angling and recreational vehicle violations. He also continues to assist with an ongoing small-game investigation as well.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) continues to focus on fishing enforcement. Violations this past week included no license, extra lines, and possession of marijuana.



District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week patrolling for snowmobile activity and checking anglers. Several anglers were found braving the extreme cold. Krauel also assisted local officers with a search for a missing snowmobiler and a fatal traffic accident.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking few snowmobilers but plenty of anglers during the cold weekend weather. The fishing bite seemed consistently slow across area lakes. A youth snowmobile safety class was also attended in Foley put on by volunteer instructors from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. Eager boys and girls left the class with a knowledge of laws as well as riding proficiency.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) worked on equipment maintenance, checked anglers and snowmobilers, and followed up on complaints. A reminder to please stay on the trails when riding snowmobile. Several complaints from landowners have been called into local law enforcement agencies.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) worked anglers and snowmobilers. Two litter cases were investigated and follow up was done on a game case. Several animal-related calls were handled.



Aviation Section

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) trained with aviation webinars and attended to maintenance of the airplane. Flights were canceled this past week due to low ceilings, fog and low visibility due to blowing snow.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying fish shelter creel flights and completing required law enforcement training.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended aviation webinars and worked on administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) continued toward completion of his training. Duluth creel survey flights and aircraft checkouts were completed.



Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on open cases and working with local conservation officers to progress case status. Time was spent patrolling for anglers and snowmobile activity. State lands were patrolled for activity. Wildlife-related calls and questions were fielded.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement