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CO Reports: Snowmobilers - Check your registration decal - it may have run out

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Dec. 29, 2020

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District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this past week checking anglers. Time was also spent contacting ATV operators and checking archery deer hunters.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and trappers. He also registered some fur.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked angling activity on area lakes. Ice angling activity continues to increase as ice conditions improve. He spent time working on Upper Red Lake, which has been very busy. Angler success was mixed.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking several calls about suspicious activity in fish houses on area lakes. Ice conditions remain variable across the station, with typical thicknesses ranging from 6 to 10 inches. A report of a shelter through the ice on Otter Tail Lake was taken, but it was stated the house was removed and people attempted to mark the hole with branches. Some light snow in the area brought out snowmobilers but trail conditions were poor. Snowmobilers are reminded their registrations may have expired in June and they should check them prior to riding.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders, and following up on cases from the deer season. Some anglers are having success chasing walleyes and panfish in the area. Most lakes in the area have 10 inches of ice, but some have as much as 14. With the recent snowfall there is enough snow for snowmobilers to get out and enjoy most areas.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working small-game and sport fishing enforcement. Time was also spent registering fur and issuing deer-possession permits.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity. Snowmobile and ATV activity was worked on area lakes. She monitored wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas for activity. Questions were answered about fish house regulations.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week checking angling activity. Ice conditions are improving, but most lakes aren’t quite ready for vehicle traffic yet. Take this time to register your snowmobiles and make sure your permanent ice house has a current shelter license before winter activities pick up.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers on multiple lakes in the area. Kunst has also noticed some snowmobile activity on trails and lakes in the area. There is still not enough snow in the area for great trail conditions. Kunst wants to remind ice anglers to clean up their garbage from the ice prior to leaving to keep the outdoors clean and beautiful.

CO Mike Cross (Lake George) worked primarily ice fishing and trapping activity throughout the past week. Ice conditions still vary greatly, with anywhere from 4 to 13 inches on lakes in the area. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, fishing without a license, and expired ATV registration. Remember all Minnesota regulations books can be downloaded as a PDF to your smartphone for quick reference in case you do not have the book.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked fishing and trapping activity. Some snowmobiles were seen out after a few inches of snow in the area, and with more snow forecasted it is likely more will be out. Groomers haven’t been out yet, but other motor vehicles should stay off designated snowmobile trails. Enforcement action taken during the week included for an untagged big-game animal, untagged trap, expired ATV and snowmobile registrations, angling with extra lines and no angling license in personal possession.


CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked ice anglers. Walleye and perch anglers were moderately successful. Some time was spent working deer-season cases and checking traps. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, snowmobile, and marijuana violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked anglers throughout the past week. She reminds people to check the ice as they are going out on the lakes, as ice thickness varies.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. Ice anglers were out in large numbers over the holiday weekend. The ice conditions continue to improve, and ATVs and snowmobiles are being seen out on area lakes. Success is mixed and the best bite continues to be in the evening. He checked snowmobilers out in the ditches and on the lakes. Violations for expired registration and no youth safety certificate were found. ATVs operating in the closed Pillsbury State Forest were reported. Small-game hunters were also out.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued to train a conservation officer candidate. He patrolled Upper Red Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, the Whitefish Chain and local lakes. McGowan investigated a big-game violation and a complaint of an angler on a designated trout lake. Enforcement action was taken for a felony arrest warrant, traffic, fishing, ATV and snowmobile violations.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) spent time this past week checking anglers on area lakes as well as early season snowmobile activity. Ladd continued deer-hunting investigations and worked trapping activity.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) checked area ice anglers and worked snowmobile activity in the area. Snow cover in the area is still very light. Sullivan also conducted snowmobile safety training.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked spearing, angling and trapping activity. ATVs and snowmobiles were also popular means for getting to fishing spots.


CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked fishing, trapping and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Lots of people were out for a relatively slow bite. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and unattended lines. Investigations were started for deer-hunting and trapping violations.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking anglers during the week. A few were having some luck. A few sleds were seen out with the recent snow. Please remember to check your registration before venturing out. The state recreation area was checked for state park permits and illegal vehicle activity. Various law-related questions were answered and a call on a hunting related issue was fielded. Enforcement action for the past week included fishing violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity as more hard-sided fish houses are being left out overnight. Trappers were monitored as they attempted to catch fishers this past week. Verkuilen also recovered a stolen car and checked the first snowmobile trail traffic of the season.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored ATV and snowmobile activity in the Isle area. Ice anglers were checked on Mille Lacs Lake. Several anglers on the south side of the lake commented on how the fishing has been slow. Assistance was also given on a lost-hunter call. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drug paraphernalia, liquor possession by a person under 21, no fishing license in possession, failure to display a license tag on an ice shelter, and failure to display a snowmobile decal.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled area lakes checking ice anglers. Snowmobile riders are beginning to venture out even though some grant-in-aid trails remain closed. Speldrich checked traps and registered otters and bobcats.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked trapping, ice fishing, ATV, and snowmobile activities. Some walleyes are being caught, with an overlimit found. Panfish are providing some action for youth, with one family enjoying time together with a 3-month-old newborn in the fish house. ATV-registration violations for lack of registration were also found.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Ice conditions have been improving on Mille Lacs Lake. Caution should still be used while venturing on the ice. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angling without a license, no ice shelter license, no ice shelter identification, and failure to display current snowmobile registration.


District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with a big-game investigation. Assistance was also provided to CO Thesing with two large bucks whose antlers had become entangled. They freed one of the deer by cutting an antler.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports seeing an increase in angling and spearing activity on local lakes. Many area lakes have had open areas due to geese and swans, which has resulted in recreational vehicles going through the ice. Only fish and recreate in areas that you know are safe and always let someone know where you will be. Enforcement action consisted of several snowmobile and ATV violations and no angling licenses in possession. Seifermann also responded to injured-animal complaints, issued deer-possession permits and continued to work on big-game cases.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked ice fishing activity this past week. Snow has given some people a false sense of security with the ice conditions. He took a report of a snowmobile going through on Lake Koronis. He also assisted neighboring officers with a trapping case.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers on area lakes. There are still areas of thin ice, as there was a snowmobile that went through the ice on Platte Lake. Enforcement action was taken for not having an angling license in personal possession.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports ice conditions are improving, with 10 inches on most lakes. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, extra lines, and failing to register deer.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused patrol efforts on ice anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent following up on cases from the firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer with an invalid license, possessing an overlimit of crappies, and operating a motor vehicle off-road in the Sand Dunes State Forest. While patrolling a local lake, Seamans observed an individual operate an ATV from a fish house to a vehicle parked at the access. The individual had a bucket in his lap and nothing else. When contacted at the vehicle, the individual admitted that he was trying to hide what he thought were illegal northern pike. Turns out, all three pike were of legal size. However, the individual was operating an ATV with expired registration and was cited for the violation.


CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking ice anglers and following up on deer-hunting cases. Anglers were finding moderate success with the cold weather. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of deer, possession of marijuana, possession of an illegal-length northern pike, and several fishing license violations.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders in the area. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without licenses and expired snowmobile registrations. Benkofske assisted Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties extracting a hunting party from the Mille Lacs WMA after one member of the group got injured and became hypothermic.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and hunters. Musatov investigated a litter complaint. Several animal-related calls were handled.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and hunters, and took complaints of trespass/hunter harassment. Deer-hunting cases continue to be investigated.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) reports flying creel survey flights as well as wolf telemetry. Various maintenance issued were addressed as well.

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports attending a quarterly pilot meeting. She also attended to maintenance issues. Two flights were cancelled due to weather.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports continued training of pilots, attending a pilot meeting and flying a fisheries creel survey flight.


NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended the virtual quarterly pilot meeting and an additional pilot webinar. He also trained another helicopter pilot in tasks in preparation for the upcoming moose survey.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) continued to work toward the completion of his training tasks. He completed a Duluth creel survey flight and gathered information for station officers for possible enforcement action. Ice anglers were checked on local lakes.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on a new draft for an operational order. Time was spent reviewing cases. Anglers were checked and the Detroit Lakes area was patrolled for activity. An equipment inspection was completed.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Cooler weather resulted in an increase in ice fishing activity, which he monitored. Haberman also checked snowmobile riders who were out with the recent snowfalls.

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