District 2 - Bemidji area

CO (Conservation Officer) Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers on the season opener.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy opening weekend of fishing opener despite whiteout snow on Saturday and strong winds on Sunday. The panfish bite has slowed significantly as water temperatures have dropped. He attended a meeting at Camp Ripley to plan for boat training at the upcoming CO Academy. Vollbrecht responded to an accident injury and assisted in setting up a landing zone for the helicopter to fly the patient.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) reports working a less busy than normal fishing opener, due to the rain and snow and cold weather. Many people were still eager to get out, but it seems as if most didn’t stay out all day. Mishler and her K9 partner, Storm, also assisted the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office in helping locate evidence for an ongoing investigation.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports the fishing opener brought wind and snow along with cold weather. That didn’t stop many anglers. The conditions did limit the number of fish that Vinton observed. Several anglers were reminded that, though the DMVs are closed, they could still renew their boat’s registration on-line. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing licenses, taking fish out of season, untagged bait trap and failure to display registration on an ATV.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working sport fishing and invasive species enforcement. A good number of anglers got out for fishing opener and quite a few people were able to find some walleyes, but the weather was not the best and a lot of anglers chose to stay home. Hopefully weather will improve throughout the week and more people will be able to get out fishing. Other time was spent following up on minnow- and leech-trapping complaints and answering questions about fishing opener.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and leeching activity. The fishing opener was worked with cold, wind and snow limiting activity. AIS compliance and boating safety equipment checks were performed. Areas were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Warren conducted follow up on open investigations.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) saw a slow fishing opener in the Wadena and Park Rapids stations. Many lakes were checked, but not many boats or anglers were seen. The area received more than 2 inches of snow Saturday morning, with only a few hardy anglers braving the conditions. Groups of bowfishers were talked to due to recent complaints of shooting too close to a residence, excessive noise, and dumping of rough fish along a public road. Enforcement action was taken for failure to transfer watercraft ownership, using a spear outside of legal hours, no angling license in possession, failure to have appropriate lifesaving equipment (PFD, throwable PFD, fire extinguisher) and ATV violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) reports that he worked fishing opener. He checked and watched a few anglers. Despite the cold, snowy weather plenty of anglers were out trying their luck. He saw a few anglers catch fish but generally for most anglers the bite was slow. Turkey hunters report slow turkey activity. The gobblers continue to be difficult to call in. He checked boaters and observed expired registration. He worked on complaints of a wetland violation and ATVs driving carelessly in road ditches near Pillager.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple anglers on opening weekend. Plenty of people were out even through the snow storm that occurred on the lake Saturday. Enforcement action was taken on failure to have a life-saving decide on a watercraft and illegal-length northern pike.

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Turn in Poachers (TIP) in Minnesota - Report a violation in progress:

To report a violation: call 800-652-9093 24 hours a day, or key in #TIP on your cell phone.

To report a violation that isn't time sensitive: Use the form at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/tipreportingform.html

Don't let poachers spoil your future fishing or hunting enjoyment or success.

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CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports many anglers were out walleye fishing on the large lakes in the area despite the cold and, at times, snowy conditions. The walleye bite was relatively slow but most anglers found at least a few fish. Prior to the weekend, a call came in of a kayaker who needed help because they were unable to maneuver in windy weather and large waves on Lake Winnibigoshish. Mathy and CO Fairbanks responded and assisted the kayaker in getting off the lake. The kayaker, who was making their way from the Mississippi Headwaters to Louisiana, had many necessary supplies for their trip but failed to bring a life jacket for the journey. A citation was issued after they were rescued. The outcome would have been much different if the waves would have overtaken the kayak. Mathy also looked into complaints of domestic cattle dumped near an ATV trail, dumped sucker and deer carcasses, a hydro jet excavating the lakeshore, a beaver dam complaint, and a possible fish overlimit complaint. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked multiple anglers throughout the week and opening weekend. She responded to a call of an injured eagle, and an otter caught in a beaver trap. Enforcement action was taken for boating violations.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Tim Collette (Brainerd West) checked anglers over the cold opening weekend. Success was good in some areas in between snow storms. Time was also spent monitoring boat landings, re-educating boaters on AIS issues and monitoring dock and boatlift installers as they work on area lakes.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports a busy week leading up to opener with a number of cases involving ATV violations, angling violations, and illegal burning. The opener was very busy, but she was impressed with how respectful and kind everyone was she contacted. She was thrilled to see so many kids out enjoying the pastime as well. Ladd extends a thank you to those recreating in her area over the opener – those Minnesotans truly made it a joy to do her job.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked area lakes during the fishing opener. Snow was an uninvited guest that did not help with angling success. Most anglers reported catching northern pike and a few anglers also found walleyes. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length northern pike, no angling license and a variety of boating safety violations. Sullivan took a call of bears showing up in residential yards.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, AIS, ATV and turkey hunting activity. A trap-tampering complaint was worked, information was shared on the local radio station and assistance was given to the sheriff’s office.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked fishing this past week with the angling opener. Numerous local anglers reported the fishing being cooler than normal. Some anglers figured out the patterns and had near-limits of walleyes. Other anglers focused on panfish. A car-killed bear was donated to an interested person and accidentally trapped otters were picked up to be donated to the MTA Fur Project. Enforcement this past week included equipment and license violations. Extra-line violations were also addressed.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked a busy fishing opener weekend. Anglers found some limited success in the cold-water conditions. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked a busy fishing opener and week leading up to it. Poor weather cut some trips short, but many people were out recreating. Enforcement action was taken this past week for registration and license issues including no trout stamp and ATV safety issues as well.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked fishing opener activity as it was stifled by the snow and rain. Compliance was generally good except registrations that needed to get stuck on, PFDs that needed to be found, and fire extinguishers that needed to be extracted from mouse nests. Beaver trappers and turkey hunters are still being checked in the area.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, working on office work, and followed up on calls. The calls she followed up on included questions about fishing regulations, a nuisance coyote, nuisance squirrels, fish spearing and netting, an aquatic invasive species violation, and a fishing violation.

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Please contact DNR Ecological and Water Resources if you plan to do work in the water and review the DNR webpage for when permits are required (https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/permits/water/needpermit.html).

Remember, just because your neighbors are doing it - doesn’t mean it’s legal.

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CO Dan Starr (Onamia) patrolled area state parks for illegal drug use and discarding used needles near playgrounds and picnic areas. Fishing opener was the slowest in recent history with blowing snow and cold weather. Turkey hunters continue to have success, despite wind and cold. A public waters violation continues to be investigated, along with a bear issue.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked trapping, ATV/OHM, sport fishing, small-game, watercraft activity, and various investigations this past week. Anglers noticed a decent walleye bite on the north end of Mille Lacs this past weekend, despite some cold weather. Enforcement action was taken for trapping, sport fishing, watercraft, and ATV violations.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity in the station. The busy opener weekend saw many anglers on the lakes. Although the weather was poor, anglers were finding success.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked a complaint of trespass. The fishing opener was busy but very few fish were observed or reported. He also worked on nuisance-animal calls. VanderWeyst also reports it appears that bowfishers in the Richmond area disposed of arrowed carp carcasses in the porta-potty of a local access. Please contact TIP if you have information on this.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports a slower-than-expected fishing opener. He reports seeing decent numbers of fish caught by local anglers. Calls from the public included possible hunter harassment and various wildlife-related calls. Enforcement action for the week consisted of assisting other agencies, taking bass out of season and angling without a license.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a slow opening weekend. Angler numbers and the success rate was low. Calls this past week included bear complaints, wetland violations, a vehicle-killed eagle, and a dog caught in a trap.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) reports a busy opening day of fishing despite the weather conditions. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, bass out of season, illegal-length northern pike, overlimit of crappies, watercraft-registration violations, extra lines, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Londgren also investigated wetland/public water violations, a turkey hunting case, and took calls on baby animals.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers on local lakes and rivers. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without licenses, keeping bass in the catch-and-release season, and not having life jackets while on the boat. AIS laws were enforced with drain plugs in boats while going to and from lakes. Benkofske also responded to an ATV crash where the injured person was air-lifted to a trauma center.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) received several angling complaints. Animal-related calls were handled and follow up was done on a litter investigation.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers. Several anglers were out braving the snowy opener, but were only finding moderate success on gamefish. Violations for the week included no life preserver, no angling license, targeting fish out of season, and several boat-registration violations.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continued flight training with landings, commercial maneuvers and flying recon over the BWCA for several officers looking for campers and anglers.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a wolf telemetry flight, worked on training and attended to administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying fire detection routes. Jensen also flew an angling recon flight over Mille Lacs Lake and spent time patrolling the Cuyuna recreational area.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued tracking helicopter maintenance and took part in aviation webinars and training. A helicopter maintenance flight was also completed.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on open cases, fishing activity and AIS law compliance with boats, lake service providers and anglers. Fishing opener was busy. Assistance was given to local law enforcement with accidents and domestics. Wildlife-related complaints and questions continue to come in.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked the snowy fishing opener on Leech Lake. AIS enforcement was conducted around the Cross Lake area. Haberman also spent time working on cases in his assigned area. Guidance was given to station officers on Wetland Conservation Act and public waters issues.

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Prepared by Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement