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CO Reports: Rough fish dumping is illegal

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - May 10, 2022

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District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, ATV/OHM, trapping, fire, and turkey hunting activity this past week. People harvesting rough fish are advised to review the fishing regulations handbook for current regulations and open hours. Additionally, rough fish are NOT to be disposed of on the shoreline or littered elsewhere.

Enforcement action was taken for various sport fishing, ATV/OHM, and fire-related violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) finished a dog-chasing-deer case in which the dog owner was cited. He also monitored the fish run, turkey season, and ATV traffic. There appears to be some confusion about sucker spearing, as numerous individuals were spearing at night. Violations for night spearing and no licenses were found.


CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked angling, trapping and ATV activity in the Isle area. A wolf complaint was followed up on. Time was spent this week visiting with shore owners on Mille Lacs Lake addressing the issue of litter washing up on shore from the ice season. Wetland violations were also followed up on. Enforcement action included open burning of prohibited materials, unregistered off-highway motorcycle, failure to transfer ownership of an off-highway motorcycle, no angling license in possession, and possession of a spear when prohibited.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for angling and prohibited-burning activity. The dry forest conditions earlier in the week were monitored. An unpermitted burn was located and a male was attempting to put it out with a low-volume garden hose. Fire units were called out and the fire was eventually extinguished. Enforcement action was taken for no burning permit and the responsible party will be subjected to fees and restitution of the responding wildland fire crew. Guida also assisted the Parks and Trails Division with the removal of a dead deer from the Paul Bunyan Trail.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked anglers enjoying open-water fishing for the first time this year. He dealt with an otter taken incidentally while beaver trapping and attended a meeting for the Honor Guard. He took several calls about beavers causing problems.


CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and ATV riders in the area. Injured-animal calls were handled. Law and safety talks were given at several youth ATV safety classes. Benkofske also helped monitor sturgeon anglers on the Rainy River during the busy season.

CO Calie Kunst (Crosslake) spent time throughout the week patrolling ATV activity, preparing for fishing opener and following up on a case involving taking a deer out of season. Kunst also received various phone calls in regards to injured animals and nuisance beavers.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored spring fish run activity. He worked a detail on the Rainy River over the weekend and patrolled area trails for ATV activity. He assisted the county with a personal accident injury where the vehicle rolled.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week at training, completing the NASBLA Officer Water Survival Course and the “train the trainer” portion of the course. Swedberg will now be able to instruct future DNR academies in water survival tactics. Other time was spent following up on TIP complaints of illegal minnow traps and answering miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) handled littering and nuisance-beaver calls, monitored the spring fish run and worked ongoing cases.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and fish run activity. She patrolled wildlife management and waterfowl production areas for activity. Calls of nuisance-bear activity were worked on with Wildlife and information was provided. An open trespass case was worked. Warren assisted Becker County and White Earth Police with an ATV crash.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling and ATV activity. He found many anglers having varied success around the area. Baum found multiple ATV riders taking advantage of the nice weather. He reminds ATV riders to ensure the trails are open by visiting the DNR website and keeping an eye out for the closed road postings. Baum took enforcement action for various angling, boat safety, and ATV violations.


CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) conducted equipment maintenance, patrolled area lakes for boating and angling activity, checked turkey hunters and patrolled for ATV activity. Enforcement action consisted of numerous ATV-related violations. Calls from the public included numerous miscellaneous wildlife-related calls and several calls/concerns related to HPAI-bird flu. He recommends all concerned parties contact non-game specialists unless it’s an emergency.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) reports most lakes are now open in the area. She responded to multiple incidentally taken otters and received multiple calls from people with questions related to wild animals.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes for angling enforcement. He also spent time working the Rainy River and attending Division trainings. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked angling and recreational vehicle enforcement. The ice went off many area lakes this past weekend. There are a few patches left on large lakes that will likely be gone by fishing opener. Mathy worked a fishing TIP call, issued a nuisance-beaver permit, and looked into a wetland-filling complaint. Some time was spent working a deer season-related case and readying patrol boats for the season. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations and operating a motor vehicle on closed state forest roads.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) spent the week busy with pre-fishing opener boat maintenance. Ice-out on area lakes came fast with warm weather and some wind. Enforcement action was taken this week for having a minor on an ATV without a helmet, failing to transfer an ATV title and operating an ATV on the shoulder of a U.S. highway. Sutherland also gave a law talk to a youth ATV class.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) investigated several wildfires during the previous week. Time was also spent on animal complaints and checking trappers. Holt monitored ATV activity and continued working on open cases.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on angling, ATV, AIS, and boating activities. Most of the lakes in the area are completely open now. Enforcement action was taken for several angling and ATV violations.


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports most of the area lakes are now ice-free. Several people were out on the lakes testing their boats and making sure they will be ready for opener. Time was spent at training where officer water survival techniques were learned and practiced.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked shore anglers. With most of the ice off area lakes, water levels are high but angling activity is slow. Westby spent time on the Rainy River with local partners working sturgeon anglers. With warmer weather but very high water levels there were many sturgeon caught. Officers located several people without enough life jackets aboard their boats.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) took calls concerning rough fish being dumped. He worked angling activity in the area as well as bowfishing activity in the area. Shore-fishing activity has picked up, with some limits being seen.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled area lakes for people out testing their boats. Some minor equipment violations were detected, along with some major violations. Remember to check your boat for all required items prior to hitting the water.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week working a busy crappie bite. Anglers were finding a good bite on area lakes and numerous complaints of taking overlimits were investigated. Krauel also patrolled for ATV activity as numerous ATV riders were out enjoying the start of the warm weather. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of crappies, angling without a license, transporting water from a lake, illegal operation of an ATV, unregistered ATV, and speeding over 100 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone.

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Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continued with radio collar telemetry training and assisted the Division Officer Water Survival class as a safety diver.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying fire detection and an ATV enforcement flight this week. Various potential wetland violations were documented and some vehicles driving on closed state forest roads were spotted. Officers were guided into the area.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a night flight, and a day training flight with a pilot. He also completed a training flight in an airplane, attended an aviation webinar, and worked on administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) worked on central Minnesota wetland photos. He flew Sandstone area fire detection. He also scheduled upcoming aircraft maintenance.

Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) attended a career fair aviation day at the Hibbing Airport where he talked to students about the job of a CO pilot. A flight was conducted of some District 5 lakes. Many were still ice-covered.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) finished flight training in one aircraft and attended to administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week checking the fish run and anglers, monitoring lake service provider activity, and following up on old cases and permit compliance. Several wildlife-related calls were fielded and equipment was prepared for the upcoming fishing opener.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued working on case updates and several cases in Isanti County. AIS work and lake service provider activity is ramping up with the lakes becoming free from ice. TFO flights were conducted with the Aviation Unit for a wetland flight for Isanti and Pine counties. He also participated in an OHV detail in the Foothills State Forest, assisting CO Best.

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