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CO Reports: Snowmobile trails in mostly good condition

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - January 19, 2021

conservation officer weekly report snowmobile trail.jpg
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District 4 - Walker area

CO (Conservation Officer) Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports local snowmobile clubs continue to do an excellent job grooming local trails. The best trails based off snowfall amounts seem to be found north of Highway 210. He reports focusing on snowmobile and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for several snowmobile-related offenses. A possession permit was issued, and Seifermann assisted with a snowmobile safety class.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) checked anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week. Multiple snowmobile riders were out over the weekend enjoying the trails. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, taking illegal-length northern pike and speeding on a snowmobile.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and snowmobile activity. Mathy continued to work on the background investigation of a CO applicant. A Bear Committee meeting was attended as well. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of fishing and snowmobile violations.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time following up on TIPs related to fishing and deer hunting. He gave a law and ethics talk at a local snowmobile safety class. Local trails saw a fair amount of activity over the weekend.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked ice fishing, snowmobile activity and trapping enforcement this week. A commercial bait harvest case remains under investigation. Enforcement action was taken this week for fishing and snowmobile violations.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked area snowmobile and ice angling activity. Ice conditions in the area continue to be difficult due to large amounts of snow and flooding. Sullivan also spent time on a background investigation.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled lakes and snowmobile trails this week. Numerous contacts were made with snowmobile riders enjoying the trails. Most had made sure they were displaying proper and current registration. Complaints of snowmobilers trespassing were received, threatening future trail easements. If you are snowmobiling, please stay on the designated trail and follow the signage. Anglers and shelter licenses were confirmed on area lakes.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent the week checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. The trout opener had many anglers out trying their luck, with several limits observed. Ice conditions vary on the mine pit lakes and anglers should remember to check the ice often. Ice on the pits is significantly thinner than on many of the area lakes getting hit hard by anglers. Enforcement action for the week included license violations.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) worked a busy trout opener. There was a wide range of success around the trout lakes. Many snowmobilers were seen out on the trails.


CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking snowmobilers and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, extra lines, expired registration, no shelter license, and controlled substances. Benkofske also assisted other agencies with an unfortunate fatal snowmobile crash in Savanna Portage State Park.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and spent time patrolling snowmobile trails and lakes in vacant stations. Cross-country ski passes were checked on grant-in-aid trails.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued working on background investigations.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. He also spoke with a local high school class about what it is like to be a conservation officer. Enforcement action for the week included operating a snowmobile without registration, no fishing license, and no fishing license in possession.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training and handled calls about trapping, angling and an injured deer.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) monitored snowmobile activity, checked anglers and worked the trout opener. Angler success was hit and miss with the cold weather. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, use of a motor in a non-motorized area, and registration issues.


CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) focused primarily on recreational vehicles and angling activity during the previous week. Time was also spent working trout anglers and designated trout lakes on the busy opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for angling license violations, no trout stamps, angling with unattended and extra lines, and ATV safety violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the trout fishing opener over the past week with many people on area designated trout lakes. Enforcement action was taken for not possessing an angling license and a trout stamp. Action was also taken for unregistered snowmobiles. A snowmobile safety class was also attended and numerous area youth received their snowmobile safety certificates.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, dark house spearing, trapping, and snowmobile enforcement activities throughout the area. A high number of snowmobilers and anglers were contacted over the weekend. Assistance was also given to neighboring law enforcement agencies with various calls for service. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines, taking fish with unattended lines, no trout stamp, no shelter license, and an unregistered ATV.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent the week focusing on patrolling area snowmobile trails. The trails were in the best condition of the season and there were lots of folks out taking advantage of it. Fishing activity was also high. The walleye bite has seemed to taper off while the panfish bite is still good overall.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity. Slush conditions are still causing problems for fish houses. Snowmobile conditions are holding up but proper registration continues to be an issue. Verkuilen also attended training and addressed injured-wildlife calls.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked Mille Lacs Lake. Anglers reported success for walleyes. A decent number of slot fish were measured throughout the week. Griffith would like to remind anglers to keep fish measurable while out on the ice. Time was also spent out on the snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling violations and registration issues.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Trails were in pretty decent shape and produced a high amount of snowmobile activity. Anglers were checked throughout the week, with various violations addressed. Anglers are reminded to reel up their lines when they are not within sight of them.


District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity on area lakes and patrolling snowmobile trails in the station. Assistance was also provided to CO Woinarowicz with follow up on a deer-hunting investigation. Warm weekend weather brought out quite a few anglers on area lakes and some modest success was seen from many. Ice conditions continue to be very sporadic with lots of water and slush on most of the lakes patrolled. Anglers should continue to use caution when venturing out. Violations for the week included shelter license and ID violations, illegal-length pike, angling with extra lines, failure to renew ATV registration, failure to display snowmobile registration, failure to obey snowmobile trail signs, and no license in possession.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity this week. Snowmobile at ATV riders were also monitored, with violations including failing to transfer titles and registration issues. Mufflers modified on sleds were dealt with as well.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week working snowmobile enforcement. Several snowmobile-trespass complaints were worked. Enforcement action was taken for no registration, no safety training, illegal muffler, and trespass.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, expired snowmobile registration, and no shelter license.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) checked anglers on Elk Lake. There was a thick layer of slush on top of the ice, which made ATV-driving conditions difficult. Hanna addressed an illegal-sized northern pike and an individual with no license in possession.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers


WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and following up on calls regarding potential violations. Time was spent on equipment maintenance. Anglers and snowmobile activity were worked. A background investigation was worked on.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued work on a background investigation for the next CO Academy. Deed restrictions were worked on for properties in Pine County. Snowmobile activity was worked.

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