District 2 - Bemidji area

CO (Conservation Officer) Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked boat and water shifts on Upper Red Lake. Several boating violations were detected. He worked a busy Independence Day weekend. Vollbrecht observed an individual riding on the bow of a boat and one on the gunwale. After being stopped, the individuals told him they were having difficulty getting the boat on plane and needed more weight in the bow of the boat. While looking for safety equipment in the compartments of the boat, they discovered it was full of water below the floor boards. Vollbrecht provided a 5-gallon bucket to bail water as the bilge pump was not operating.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a busy holiday weekend. Good weather and Independence Day falling on the weekend contributed to lots of activity on the water. Vinton worked the Operation Dry Water weekend with Water Resources Enforcement Officer Joseph Stattelman, Regional Training Officer Greg Oldakowski and Lt. Phil Seefeldt. Several lakes were patrolled and violations detected included no PFDs, failure to display registration, operating PWCs after hours and operating an ATV on a state highway.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent a busy Fourth of July week and weekend patrolling area lakes for boat and water safety as a part of Operation Dry Water. Swedberg patrolled many different lakes with the help of other local COs. Gunwale riding and jet ski violations were the most commonly seen violations across the lakes, but overall most boaters were being safe and having a good time. On one lake, Swedberg observed a group wake surfing at 11 p.m., which was about 90 minutes past sunset and an hour past legal towing hours. The surfer was extremely lucky to not have been struck after falling down. Enforcement action was taken against the surfer and the driver of the boat. Other calls involved assisting with a medical on the Big Detroit Lake sandbar and assisting the Becker County Sheriff’s Office and the Detroit Lakes Police Department with other calls for service on a busy weekend.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers and boaters, assisted local agencies with calls and worked state park enforcement.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week mainly focusing on boat and water safety enforcement on the busy holiday weekend. Hot summer weather brought more activity than usual to area lakes. With the high activity, an increase in the number of complaints of loud music and an increase in the number of watercraft violations were observed. Boaters are encouraged to keep their music at a reasonable level and profanity-free so as to not disturb all the other boaters on the lake. Landmark also spent time evaluating invasive species scenarios at the Academy and attended decibel meter training. Complaints of speeding, camping in a closed area, and ATV operation within Maplewood State park were also investigated. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, extra lines, no trout stamp, and a wide variety of boat and water safety violations.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) primarily worked boating and fishing enforcement during the past week. Numerous boaters were contacted with enforcement action taken for a variety of violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked multiple anglers and boaters. She responded to a call of a juvenile merlin that fell out of a nest. Hughes also assisted with a search for a missing person.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The sunfish, crappies and bass have been the most productive for anglers on area lakes. He also worked on boating enforcement. The Independence Day holiday brought out a large number of boaters. Complaints of PWCs chasing loons and careless operation of wakeboard boats received some enforcement time. He assisted the neighboring CO in Brainerd. They checked boats for safety equipment and navigation light violations. Some other violations observed were no fishing license and expired registration. Complaints of bears damaging bird feeders were fielded.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) worked a very busy Fourth of July holiday weekend. Lakes were full of boaters and many people were on land on their ATVs as well. Some time was spent working an existing deer-hunting case and also a public-water case. Boating and camping complaints were received and investigated. Mathy assisted the Cass County Sheriff’s Office with a moped crash that resulted in injuries. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines, and several boating and ATV violations.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with ATV and watercraft accidents involving driving under the influence. Watercraft, invasive species and ATV activity was worked throughout the week.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled busy Crow Wing County lakes throughout the holiday weekend. McGowan also spent time training new officers, and maintaining station patrol watercraft. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating and fishing violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked a busy Independence Day weekend. Enforcement action was taken for multiple ATV, boating and fishing violations. A few people were towed to shore or out of the mud when stranded. Overall, most were recreating safely and enjoying the hot, sunny weather.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked a busy Fourth of July holiday on the water. A TIP call was received about an individual spearing game fish off a fishing pier. Upon arrival, Guida located the suspect and seized a spear gun and a dip net that were used illegally to harvest numerous largemouth bass and bluegills. The individual was charged and assessed restitution for the fish killed. Guida worked a nationwide effort called Operation Dry Water, during which numerous boating violations were detected and addressed. Due to the very warm weather, numerous boaters expressed appreciation for the safe boating efforts and offered cold water and electrolyte drinks.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent time getting familiar with the new station. It is nice to meet new people in the area. Many people were taking advantage of the warm weather to spend it at a lake. Most boaters were operating safely and having a great time. A small number of boaters needed reminders of the laws on the water. Many anglers were having success catching panfish.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked area lakes during the Fourth of July holiday. There was a large number of recreational boaters due to fantastic weather. Several violations were detected including underage drinking and driving, no life jackets, no navigation lights, illegal PWC operation and no angling license. Other people chose to use area ATV trails during the holiday and the trails were dusty and hot.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity as people tried to stay cool. Several contacts were with PWC operators who claimed ignorance of Minnesota PWC-specific regulations. Lack of boating lights and PFDs were also common. He also assisted with enforcement and traffic flow at state parks.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, delivering equipment, working on office work, following up on calls, and helping with training at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a wolf depredation of two calves. It was determined the calves were not killed by wolves. Speldrich responded to a disturbance where a man was allegedly threatening people with a knife. She assisted the sheriff’s office with the call. Speldrich worked boat and water safety over the very warm Independence Day weekend. Enforcement action was taken for failing to have life-saving devices on a watercraft, failing to have personal flotation devices, expired registration, and not following the sheriff’s office ordinance for slow/no-wake. The ordinance was put in place because lakeshore owners complained of high water but some people seemed to not be concerned with it. Additional enforcement action was taken for angling license violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) focused on boat and water enforcement, with very high usage found. Enforcement action was taken for no registration, lack of PFDs, jet ski violations, live bait on Mille Lacs Lake, northern pike within the protected slot, no fishing license in possession, youth ATV issues, ATV lack of registration, possession of marijuana, lack of navigational lights, and illegal parking at a handicap spot at a public access. Low water levels are noted due to the lack of rain. Bear issues have quieted somewhat.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, ATV/OHM, and boating enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid watercraft registration, failure to renew ATV registration, taking fish without an angling license, no angling license in possession, use of live bait on Mille Lacs Lake, taking walleyes in a closed season, not enough PFDs for each person onboard a watercraft, no fire extinguisher onboard a watercraft, operating a PWC too close to the shoreline, swimmers, and boats, and illegal operation of an ATV/OHM by juveniles. A reminder to anglers: Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake during the month of July is closed. Additionally, no live bait is allowed on Mille Lacs Lake during the month of July. (Some exceptions apply. See Mille Lacs Lake regulations).

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) started the week with district equipment maintenance in Pierz. Upon returning to the station, a traffic stop was conducted after a vehicle passed Silgjord at a high rate of speed in a no passing zone. The stop resulted in an arrest for a felony controlled substance violation. Assistance was provided at the CO Academy with use of force scenarios and officer water survival training. The busy Fourth of July weekend was worked on the water and violations included PFD issues, no navigation lights, and a PWC violation. Silgjord also responded to a late-night boating crash on Big Birch Lake that resulted in multiple injuries. Silgjord provided assistance to the Todd County Sheriff’s Office with the crash investigation.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked the area with focus on safe boating. He assisted the county with a call in Avon. Vehicle maintenance was completed and weed roller and aqua jet issue were investigated.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports a busy week with warm weather and Fourth of July celebrations. Enforcement action was primarily focused on fishing, boating, and non-motorized water recreation. Seifermann reports assisting CO Benkofske with a boating while intoxicated arrest and also assisted CO Silgjord with a controlled substance arrest. Additional enforcement action consisted of a mixed bag of registration violations, insufficient PFDs, no fire extinguisher, angling without a license, no navigation lights after sunset, and operating a PWC after one hour prior to sunset. Seifermann also conducted a site visit for a possible wetland violation and investigated a public waters violation where a homeowner constructed a permanent bridge over a river without a permit.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports an extremely busy holiday weekend. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, no ATV registration, no boat registration, and boating safety violations. Bertram assisted CO Silgjord with fireworks security on Big Birch Lake.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent a busy Independence Day weekend patrolling for boating and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for several boating safety and ATV safety violations. Krauel also made arrests for boating under the influence and possession of methamphetamine. CO Krauel also spent time assisting at the Conservation Officer Academy.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports a busy weekend enforcing recreational vehicle safety laws. Enforcement action was taken for no life jackets or lights on boats, juveniles on ATVs without helmets, and alcohol-related incidents. Benkofske and CO Seifermann arrested a person on Blue Lake for boating while intoxicated. Another DWI arrest was made in Bock for operating an ATV under the influence.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) patrolled local lakes and rivers over the busy holiday weekend. Enforcement action was taken for watercraft registration violations, children without life jackets, possession of drugs and fishing license violations. Site inspections were also conducted on public water and wetland violations.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and boaters. Violations were found for no PFDs, no registration, extra lines, and illegally transporting aquatic macrophytes. Several animal-related complaints were handled.

Aviation Section

CO Standby Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continues training flights, soft fields and instrument practice.

NR (Natrual Resources) Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry and attended to administrative tasks.

NR Standby Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) assisted in relocating reassigned squads to the CO Academy at Camp Ripley.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying law enforcement support flights for boat and water safety efforts over the holiday weekend. Jensen also responded to a missing/downed aircraft and worked a boat and water shift on Brainerd lakes. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no PFD, extra lines, operating a PWC too close to shore and no watercraft registration.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on moving spray equipment and preparing for the spraying of hybrid cattail on state wildlife management areas. Hybrid cattail is an invasive, and has filled and taken over a great deal of the open water areas in our wetlands. He also had a radio reprogrammed that was not working and completed administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working AIS law compliance, Operation Dry Water and boating enforcement over the holiday weekend, conducting site visits for public water and APM violations, assisting other agencies with several minor calls and infractions, checking ATV activity, and checking anglers. Time was spent at the Academy for instruction on AIS and enforcement of AIS laws and rules. Several WCA and PW cases were closed out and a deed restriction was lifted on an old case with compliance with a restoration order reached.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spent time at the Academy instructing water resource laws to recruits. Time was spent working AIS enforcement at area lakes. Three ATV riders were found riding their ATVs in Mille Lacs Lake while Haberman was on patrol near Highway 18. Enforcement action was taken.

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Prepared by Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement