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CO Reports: Low water has a benefit

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - June 22, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reported that low water was helpful in locating a boat that had sank over 20 years ago. The owner was contacted and it was requested he remove the boat from the lake.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) spoke to youths at ATV safety training classes in Morrison County.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked ATV and angling enforcement and found a lot of activity in the area. Ladd also handled several shoreline and wetland issues in the county.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spend time this week on issues in the state forest pertaining to fires and off-trail travel. Several campers were reminded of the burning ban and areas of off-trail travel were re-signed for non-motorized use. Best also dealt with an individual using a dispersed camping area as a permanent residing location.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked reports of anglers keeping overlimits of fish. Area lakes continue to see high use from recreational boating activity. Nuisance-bear reports continued in the area.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled area lakes for activity and received calls about car-injured bears and a fawn stuck in the mud.


CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking the state recreation area for illegal vehicle and ATV activity. He also checked fishing activity and found a few anglers having some luck. Time was spent patrolling the park for permit violations and illegal camping in the SRA. Fitzgerald answered many outdoor law-related questions and issued a car-killed deer permit. Enforcement action was taken for various SRA violations.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports receiving pubic water-related complaints this week. AIS enforcement was worked at area public water access sites. Anglers and watercraft operators were checked. Various angling and boating violations were encountered.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) addressed several nuisance-animal complaints, most due to hungry bears.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling and boating activity on area lakes. He worked an AIS detail in the Waskish area and worked boating safety shifts on Upper Red Lake. Area ATV trails were patrolled.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes and public water accesses for boating safety and AIS violations. Vinton participated in Perham’s Turtle Fest parade and answered questions from folks at the Perham Volunteer Fire Department pancake breakfast. Calls regarding where a person’s lake property ends and the lake begins were fielded. Enforcement action was taken for riding a personal watercraft without a life jacket, failure to display proper registration on watercraft and angling without a license in possession.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling area lakes checking anglers and boaters. Swedberg arrested one boater for boating while intoxicated. The boater was operating a boat with too many passengers and passengers riding on the gunwales. Finding a sober ride is not limited to just motor vehicles and it is important to follow all boating safety laws. Swedberg also assisted the county with an ATV crash, a search warrant and several other calls for service.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports walleye activity has increased on multiple lakes in the area. Time was spent working recreational fishing, watercraft safety, and shoreline-type violations.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) focused on angling and boating safety during the previous week. Time was also spent investigating a wildfire and following up on miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Holt worked boating safety and monitored AIS compliance on Upper Red Lake over the weekend. Enforcement action involved AIS, angling licenses and boating safety violations.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent some time on the water this week. Busy lakes resulted in high traffic at boat accesses and launches. Several anglers were cited for no fishing license and another for using too many lines. Several PWCs were stopped for operating too late in the evening, and a few after-dark anglers were reminded to turn on their anchor lights, even though they might attract a few bugs. A report was taken of a lakeshore property owner cutting and clearing out live hard-stem bulrush in front of their shoreline. After investigating, Lawler determined it was a lake service provider that was hired who did the removal, not fully understanding what they’d done. A citation was issued.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports focusing enforcement efforts on angling, watercraft and ATV enforcement. He also reports spending time investigating a wolf-depredation complaint and handling several miscellaneous/nuisance wild animal-related calls from the public.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued checking angling activity. She also followed up on ongoing cases, and responded to a call of an injured fawn.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked area lakes, along with Lake Winnibigoshish and Upper Red Lake. Angling success varied throughout the area. Cross also responded to an injured bear cub, multiple animal-related complaints, and investigated a TIP call received. Enforcement action consisted of angling and boating violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and ATV riders throughout the week. Kunst also handled a complaint related to wetlands. Enforcement action was taken for angling without an angling license and expired ATV registration.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked boaters, ATV activity, and anglers. Mathy looked into a wolf-depredation call, a deceased raptor that was found, nuisance-bear reports, and a camping party blocking a remote access to a lake. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and boating violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled area lakes for angling and boating activity. He also assisted other law enforcement agencies with calls for service. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and boating violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity where summer vacationers and water recreation increased substantially. Complaints of no boat lights and late PWC operation where addressed. ATV traffic was also monitored. Unprotected juvenile passengers where an issue.


CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked angling activity on Mille Lacs Lake. ATV activity was also worked on the Soo Line trial and the Solana Loop/ Red Top. Dust on the ATV trails has remained high due to lack of rain. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling violations. Griffith would like to remind anglers to purchase a license before going out to fish. Anglers also have the option to buy a 24-hour or a 72-hour license.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, no angling license, no angling license in possession, no fire extinguisher in a boat, and no lights while operating an ATV. She also assisted the State Patrol with a crash, presented a regulations and safety talk for a firearms safety class, and followed up on a wolf-depredation call.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled area lakes on kayak. She responded to bear-hunting questions and TIPS of possible illegal bear baiting. Speldrich assisted the sheriff’s office with a driving complaint and patrolled her station for invasive species violations. Speldrich attended the funeral with LEMA for Deerwood Police Department Officer Banks.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took care of two water-access complaints that came in. A bear complaint was also taken, along with lottery application questions. A reminder to ATV riders to clean exhaust areas of debris to avoid setting fires during dry conditions.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Anglers were enjoying the cooler weather and the improved fish bite. Krauel also patrolled for ATV activity and boat and water safety. Enforcement action was taken for illegal walleyes, no navigation lights, insufficient PFDs, and angling with an extra line.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers and enforcing ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for lack of life jackets, minor consumption of alcohol, no boat lights, and possessing walleyes in the closed season on Mille Lacs Lake. Benkofske also arrested an individual for DWI on an ATV near the city of Isanti.

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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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