District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and talked to the Oklee snowmobile safety class.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes and patrolled local snowmobile trails. Slushy conditions have slowed angling pressure, but anglers are starting to venture onto the lakes. Ice depths still vary greatly. Vollbrecht worked details on Lake of the Woods, Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Lake. Numerous angling violations were detected and individuals are reminded to check recreational vehicle registration before taking them out. Snowmobile trails were patrolled in the vacant Walker and Lake George stations. Cross-country ski trails were patrolled and cases from the firearms deer season were wrapped up.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) patrolled snowmobile trails and checked area lakes for anglers. Time was also spent on commercial taxidermy inspections.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting with this year’s Academy snowmobile training in International Falls. Vinton focused on the legal and safe use of a radar unit used in snowmobile speed enforcement. Conditions on area lakes improved slightly over the week as temperatures in the mid-20s below zero helped firm up some of the slush. Enforcement action was taken for license and registration issues as well as improper parking at public accesses.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week following up on cases from the deer season. Other time was spent checking anglers and snowmobile riders. Trails continue to be in great condition. Anglers are having mixed results with panfish but most seem to be catching at least a couple fish when they go out. Most success has been during the evening with some anglers having luck overnight.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked on a background investigation, answered calls and followed up on a trapping violation.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time patrolling area lakes and trails for snowmobile activity. Angling activity was worked, with anglers reporting fair-to-poor success. Lakes continue to be challenging due to snow, top water, and varying ice thickness. Questions were answered on angling and snowmobile regulations.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) and the rest of Academy 19 completed snowmobile training in International Falls. Fishing enforcement was worked as some lakes have firmed up with the recent cold weather. However, ice conditions remain inconsistent. Anderson gave the law and ethics presentation at two local youth snowmobile safety classes, and also assisted the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office with a snowmobile crash that resulted in injuries to the operator.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) checked ice anglers out on area lakes. Fishing has been fair with the best bite in the evening on local lakes. Caution is still advised when you travel on the ice. Some anglers are driving cars and trucks on the lakes and the ice is thin and slushy in some spots. He checked snowmobilers on trails and lakes. Complaints of people driving too fast on city streets and down the middle of the road were investigated. Complaints of snowmobiles trespassing on agricultural fields also received attention. He checked on a trapping complaint of trappers not removing their catch and checking their sets as required by law. Complaints of deer-carcass dumping and trespass were investigated.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working angling and snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession. Snowmobile training was attended and completed in International Falls.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports angling activity has started to pick up. Recent cold weather has helped the slush problem a bit and the ice is slowly getting thicker. Perch and walleyes have also started to bite better. Mathy went to a call of a car stuck on a snowmobile trail one mile down the trail from the nearest road crossing. An off-road tow truck had to get the vehicle out and the driver was cited for driving on the trail. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, and snowmobile violations.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) checked anglers and snowmobile riders. She also took a call regarding eagles caught in a trap. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration and trapping violations.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) checked anglers and snowmobilers, and seized fishers caught after the season was closed. Trucks and wheelhouses are venturing out on the ice on the lakes, but caution is advised as several areas of thin ice are still being reported. Enforcement activity included failure to transfer snowmobile ownership, expired registrations, unmarked fish houses and possession of marijuana.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports snowmobile trails in the area continue to see high levels of use. Area lakes have less slush due to recent cold weather and anglers are starting to get around on the lakes. Anglers reported not having too much luck. Trapping activity in the area was also checked and conditions were reported as being tough.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked snowmobile trail enforcement and sport fishing. He checked anglers who forgot angling licenses and who failed to transfer ownership of snowmobiles. A TIP call was received and investigated in which a deer carcass was thrown onto the ice of the Mississippi River.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, trapping and snowmobile activity.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement throughout the past week. Several area lakes still have heavy slush and poor ice conditions. Enforcement action was taken for numerous snowmobile and angling violations.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking for fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout the past week and weekend. Time was spent returning phone calls on various calls and answering many outdoor law-related questions. Patrol was done on area trails and areas of the park were patrolled for park violations. Enforcement action was taken for various park violations.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ice angling, snowmobiling, and trapping enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines, failure to display ATV registration, unlawful-size body gripping trap, and failure to have proper recess from the opening on a body gripping trap.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) answered questions regarding legal traps for bobcats and antique snowmobile registration. She continued work on a background investigation and took enforcement action for expired snowmobile registration.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing, snowmobile, ATV, and trapping activities. Wheelhouses showed up in full force this past weekend, with numerous folks falling prey to the full moon’s magical powers. Party-goers and hardcore anglers seemed to be enjoying some thicker ice conditions. Starr encountered an angler who was tending 10 lines inside a fish house. Oddly enough, the lines were placed in only six open holes.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) attended snowmobile operation training in International Falls this past week. Additionally, she contacted anglers on Mille Lacs Lake. Violations encountered included no fishing license in possession, no shelter license, no shelter identification, failure to display ATV registration, and unattended fishing lines.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with use of force training for DNR Forestry officers. Time was also spent working on an assigned background investigation. A DWI enforcement refresher course was also attended. Questions regarding ice conditions, the fish bite and portable shelters were fielded.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity this past week. He attended training, took calls about nuisance coyotes, and helped the DNR Wildlife Section with another nuisance-animal call. Ice is still questionable, varying from lake to lake and even on the same lake.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) attended three days of snowmobile training in International Falls and attended a DWI refresher course locally. He also assisted the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office with a critical incident in Sauk Centre. Colder weather has reduced the amount of slush on area lakes, but anglers and those recreating should still be cautious.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports ice conditions are improving on area lakes. Wheelhouses and vehicles are being used on some lakes. A deer-hunting investigation yielded unregistered deer and license violations.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and snowmobilers. A small-game case was investigated. Several animal-related complaints were handled.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, snowmobile riders, and trappers. She also spoke at a snowmobile safety class. Calls were fielded regarding injured animals, snowmobile trespassing/damage, and fish shelters. Londgren continues to work on a background investigation.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers on local lakes and following up on TIP calls. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, not having shelters licensed, and various ATV violations. Ice conditions have been improving with the diminishing snow levels on the lakes. An investigation was also completed, which resulted in the loss of the subject’s hunting privileges and fines for hunting deer with the aid of bait.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobiles. Krauel also spent time following up on big-game cases and on equipment maintenance.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew a fish shelter count of Mille Lacs Lake and prepared for upcoming surveys. Geving also attended to administrative and maintenance issues.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew helicopter moose surveys all week in northeast Minnesota. There was a wide range of weather – from 28-below zero and clear to warm weather and freezing mist.
Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports completing a creel flight for Park Rapids fisheries. Holmes also completed a training flight and assisted with the moose survey in northeastern Minnesota.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on the northeast moose survey. Many moose were observed, including some bulls still carrying antlers. So far, 36 of 52 plots have been completed.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week attending meetings and working on open cases. Some anglers were checked. Fishing is good, but travel on lakes is difficult and finding a spot to fish isn’t easy. Flooding and slush continue to be problems. Reports vary regarding ice thickness.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued work on open cases and updating case databases. Snowmobile activity was up on the warmer days with enforcement action taken for failure to stop at road crossings. Cooler weather helped the ice, but slush is still an issue on area lakes.
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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement