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CO Reports: Hot, dry weather slows most fishing

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports: Fishing, Trails, Boating - June 16, 2021

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, Fishing activity in the park was monitored but was slow due to the hot weather.

Fitzgerald also reports checking the state recreation area for illegal vehicle and ATV activity throughout the week and weekend. Lots of kayakers were out enjoying the mine pits and many bikers were out using the trails during the week and weekend. Lots of outdoor law-related questions were fielded. Fitzgerald assisted with Division training at Camp Ripley during the week. Enforcement action for the week included various SRA violations.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent the week focused on recreational boating and fishing. The fish are biting well with the water temperatures warm and levels low.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled station lakes and trails for activity. Numerous boaters were observed utilizing the lakes to cool off from the warm weather. Guida reviewed a large big-game case file from 2019 and testified in court in St. Paul.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked area lakes and ATV trails. Anglers in the area reported that fishing success was slower this week. Recreational boating activity remained high due to the hot weather. Nuisance-bear complaints were also addressed.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked on a garbage complaint at the Father Hennepin State Park. Angling activity on Mille Lacs Lake and Cedar Lake were also monitored. Fishing success seemed to be slow. ATV activity was also monitored through the week and remained high through the weekend. Many riders enjoyed the free registration weekend. Griffith would like to remind riders to use headlights and stay on the designated trail. Enforcement action was taken on multiple angling violations.


CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended firearms training at Camp Ripley. She took calls of PWC violations including operating too close to docks at speeds greater than slow/no-wake. Speldrich responded to a call of a nuisance fox attempting to attack domestic cats. She also received a complaint of someone shooting small game out of season and federally protected birds. It was determined that the sheriff’s office had already responded and handled the call.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, boating, and ATV enforcement this week. Calls were fielded regarding issues at a state park and campfires. Fire danger is high, and burning conditions can quickly change. More information on current burning restrictions and burning permit information can be found on the DNR website. Enforcement action was taken for various boating and ATV safety-related violations. Enforcement action was also taken for anglers fishing without licenses. Short-term angling licenses are available for anglers who do not regularly fish and want to save some money, while still meeting licensing requirements (dependent on the amount of time that is spent fishing).

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) patrolled area lakes for angling and boating activity.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) provided assistance with aerial surveys of area lakes. A nuisance-bear complaint was handled.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) testified in a trial, responded to a possible road-killed wolf, worked state park enforcement and followed up on a complaint of posting public land.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, AIS and ATV enforcement. A leech-trapping complaint was investigated. Miscellaneous wildlife-related calls were received and resolved. Time was also spent speaking with members of the Ida Lake Association.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked area lakes for boating and angling activity. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies with calls for service. Enforcement action was taken for numerous fishing and boating violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked boating safety and sport fishing over the past week. Multiple contacts were made with boaters on the water. Enforcement action was taken on various boating and fishing violations. Kunst also took a call about a nuisance bear and a personal watercraft complaint.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) investigated multiple shoreline, public waters, and AIS violations. She also responded to a call of an injured deer.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time during the week on the water and ATV trails. The lack of rain in the area has caused water levels to drop on area lakes and rivers and is limiting access for certain types of watercraft on some of these waters. Enforcement action for the week consisted of various ATV violations, operation of a mechanical weed removal device without a permit, excavation of lake bottom, PFD and personal watercraft violations. Instruction was provided on OHV laws for other law enforcement.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) attended training at Camp Ripley. He also spoke at a community outreach event and checked local angers and boaters on area lakes.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and boaters. Fishing success was low, possibly due to the continued abnormally high temperatures. Mathy also attended training at Camp Ripley, worked public water-related cases, and checked for AIS-related violations. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports focusing time checking anglers and enforcing watercraft and ATV regulations. He reports conducting a game farm inspection and assisting the public with animal-related calls and concerns.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity, boating safety, AIS, and anglers. Enforcement action taken for operating an ATV without safety training.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with an Honor Guard detail during the week. Assistance was also provided to Todd County and the State Patrol on a crash.

CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports checking anglers and investigating a shoreline violation. Several small fish kills were reported on area lakes. If you notice a large number of fish dead on an area lake, please report it to the Minnesota duty officer. Enforcement action for the week included chasing/harassing wildlife and failure to have life jackets on board a watercraft.


CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and boaters. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, no registration, and insufficient boating safety equipment. Possession permits were issued for a vehicle-killed deer and bear.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers and boaters on area lakes. Injured-animal calls were looked into and handled. Wetland and public water violations were also investigated.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the warm week working boat and water safety and patrolling for anglers. Krauel also spent time patrolling local WMAs and state forests for garbage dumping complaints. Enforcement action was taken for numerous life jacket violations, littering, illegal-length fish, and fishing after revocation.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continued flying survey flights for Fisheries.

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports flying several Lake Vermilion creel surveys and attending a retirement gathering for a fellow natural resources pilot.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of creel flights for the Fisheries Section around lakes in the Duluth area. Jensen found some aquatic plant management violations and sent them to local officers for investigation. Jensen also positioned aircraft for changing missions.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) assisted in the Duluth aerial creel survey flight. Fifty lakes are flown, and fishing and recreational use activities are recorded for the Section of Fisheries. He also completed a helicopter maintenance test flight and administrative tasks. He also attended the award celebration for retiring NR Pilot John Heineman, who has completed 45 years of service.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) worked on wetland photo flights. He attended to scheduling for creel flights. Aircraft were repositioned for upcoming missions and various maintenance items were completed.


Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week assisting and instructing at Camp Ripley for firearms qualifications and handgun transition.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued to work on cases in his assigned area. TEP meetings and site visits were conducted. AIS enforcement was worked, as were TFO duties with the Aviation Unit.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement


I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with numerous job titles since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently as Digital Editor. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work these 30+ years. I was present and worked on the our web page when our original BrainerdDispatch.com website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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