Conservation Officer Report
Compiled By Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR, 800-366-8917, Ext 2511
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Enforcement
15011 Highway 115 (Camp Ripley)
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173
Report Fish & Game Violations
Call T.I.P. at 1-800-652-9093 or Cell #TIP
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CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) investigated multiple fires during the week and prepared for the opening weekend of the angling season. CO Birchem and CO Huener monitored northern pike and suckers in area ditches. Anglers were checked on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods with CO Warren on opening day. Fishing success varied, but most of the fish caught were quality sized walleyes.
CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) worked the fishing opener on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River. Anglers were unable to get out onto the lake out of Warroad because of the ice were able to find a few fish in the Warroad River. Anglers launching out of Wheeler’s Point found open water on the Rainy River and Four Mile Bay. Anglers were having mixed success. Area trails were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. CO Warren received a call of a car hit deer. Enforcement action for the week included no fire extinguisher, no throwable PFD, failure to display registration and illegal length fish.
CO Keith Backer (Blackduck) worked the fishing opener with many lakes just starting to open up from the ice. Fish run activity was worked and complaints investigated of walleyes being speared and left to spoil. Forestry was assisted with several fire complaints. Beaver permits were issued and enforcement action for the week included fire violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) worked the fishing opener monitoring angler activity and angler compliance with closures of the Tamarac River, Shotly Brook and the Blackduck River. Time was spent monitoring the sucker spawning run. An NASBLA Boat Operators course was attended. CO Regas investigated a report of a dead wolf which was found in a ditch south of Kelliher. If you have any information about the death of the wolf please call the TIP Line at 1-800-652-9093.
CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and boating activity throughout the week. Anglers reported good fishing on Upper Red Lake, but difficult boating conditions due to the ice still breaking up. Anglers on Lake of the Woods reported similar fishing success, but reported poor water clarity. While boating on Upper Red Lake on Mother’s Day morning, CO Gorecki and Lt. Znajda observed a snowmobile skipping approximately a quarter mile of open water and turning around on the degraded ice pack. This continued for several minutes before the snowmobiler returned to shore. CO Gorecki later made contact with the snowmobiler and enforcement action was taken. Other enforcement action taken for the week included fishing and boating violations.
Karlstad - vacant.
Warroad #1 - vacant.
Warroad #2 - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a FAS class in Plummer. Time was also spent watching area creeks for early fishing activity. Anglers, watercraft operators, and commercial minnow activities were checked. Calls regarding nuisance beaver were handled. Violations included no angling license and take game fish by archery.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) responded to a theft, leech trap violations, fires, wolf depredation, a dead deer in a yard, and participated in two radio interviews. Alleged cougar tracks appear to be made by a bear. Sucker spearing had more activity and success than angling, but the ice should be off the area lakes by next weekend.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a cold and windy 2013 fishing opener. Most anglers were concentrated in stream and river areas. Spring fish run activity was worked with CO Backer. Closed spawning areas were patrolled in the Bemidji area. CO Vollbrecht investigated a complaint of a dog chasing a deer with a Beltrami County Deputy.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) attended a week long boat operations and training course in Stillwater. Boat handling, navigation, and mission oriented operations were some of the topics covered. High winds, cold temperatures and a good amount of ice on area lakes made it a slow day for most anglers out on the first day of the fishing opener. CO Holt also took calls of nuisance beaver, wanton waste, and illegal garbage depositing.
CO Chris Vinton (Detroit Lakes) reports ice at the beginning of the week appeared to be enough to impact the fishing opener but warmer weather near the weekend helped open some of the smaller to medium sized lakes. Anglers should be aware that some rivers in the area have been posted as spawning areas and are off limits to fishing. CO Vinton attended training later in the week.
CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) reports a tough opener for anglers this past weekend. Strong winds and cold temperatures kept most anglers at home on Saturday. Several anglers took to local rivers and creeks for shore angling opportunities. CO Seefeldt and CO Forsberg attended the Red River Diversion Environmental Impact Scoping meeting in Moorhead. Enforcement action was taken for illegal operation of OHM, expired ATV registration, no angling license, and taking fish in posted spawning area.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports the fishing opener being the quietest of his career. The ice did not go off most lakes until Friday night. High winds kept fishermen away on Saturday. Fishing was spotty with river fishermen doing the best. CO Forsberg followed up on calls of anglers double tripping of fish, illegal traps left out, and deer parts dumped in a ditch. He also did a TV interview about the fishing opener. CO Forsberg also attended the Red River Diversion Scoping meeting.
Perham - vacant.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) found very few anglers on lakes for the opener. Most anglers found success in the river systems where spawning fish are still present. Richards answered questions on nuisance bear, dealt with a beardless turkey being shot, responded to fires, and gave a presentation for the Elizabeth FAS class.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted the safety division with data entry, organized an upcoming ATV safety class, fielded several fishing questions as well as issued nuisance beaver permits. Litter calls have been received regarding deer carcasses from last fall being dumped.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement efforts checking fishermen and boaters. Additional time was spent working AIS enforcement and handling complaint calls regarding nuisance beaver and illegal fishing in the vacant Wheaton station. Nelson also spent time checking minnow trappers and worked a complaint of a minnow dealer trapping in a WMA.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen on the fishing opener. There were several lakes in the area through Sunday that had ice on them restricting access to the lake. Calls were answered about spearing, boating and bow fishing. Reports were received of dead fish left on the banks of local streams after being speared; the investigation is ongoing. Training was attended in St. Paul.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the week at training in both St. Paul and Moorhead. Equipment preparation for the fishing opener was completed as well. The opening fishing weekend was slow due to wind speed and ice coverage on area lakes. Some boats were still out with mixed results. Many fishermen chose to shore fish for panfish out of the wind. Violations detected were fishing without a license and not having a valid fishing license.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) worked a slow fishing opener for both fish and anglers, mainly due to the cold, windy weather on Saturday. Time was spent enforcing fishing, boating, and AIS laws, as well as responding to ATV and fire complaints. Trapping violations are being investigated involving traps left out/forgot from last fall, the turkey hunting is being monitored, and training was attended in St Paul.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused efforts checking fishermen, AIS enforcement, ATV complaints and boating safety enforcement. Ice out in the Morris area only occurred a day to two before the inland fishing opener this weekend. The best fishing was found in local rivers due to warmer water. Anderson assisted by CO Paul Nelson received and investigated several fishing complaints in the vacant Wheaton station this past weekend. A complaint of an individual dumping carcass in a WMA was investigated. Calls were fielded about angling violations, fishing questions and ATV operation.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports the fishing opener was slower than normal with cold conditions and several lakes in the area were still partially covered with ice. Enforcement activity for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, boaters, and monitoring fish run. Time was also spent investigating vehicle trespass on a WMA, and illegal fires. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license in possession, illegal ATV operation, fishing without a license, and various boat and water safety violations.
Wheaton - vacant.
District 4 - Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) reports it was a slow cold walleye opener, with most lakes still ice covered on Saturday. However, lakes in his area shed all or most of their ice by Sunday. Parthun spent most of Saturday working in Park Rapids with the Governor’s Fishing Opener. He addressed a complaint of a nuisance bear and concluded a littering investigation with the issuance of a citation. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no ATV safety certificate, failing to display current ATV registration, passenger under 18 without a helmet, and littering at a public access.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) worked the Governor’s fishing opener which was held in the Park Rapids area. Officer Hunter gave a safety briefing to the support staff prior to the event and assisted in security for the event.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reported primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on sport fishing activity. With the exception of a few small lakes, most lakes in the Walker station were ice covered with very limited angler participation for the opener, most of that occurring from shore. Just when Officer Sommers thought he would make it through the weekend without a rescue call, at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday a report came in regarding a boat trapped and surrounded by ice near Federal Dam on Leech Lake. The Cohasset Fire Department responded with their Ice Angel and rescued the two adults and one child, no one was hurt. The fire department described the ice pack as 24 inches thick.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports ice on almost every waterway in the area greatly reduced fishing activity. Some fished from shorelines and a few boaters were on rivers. A few walleye were seen on the cold opener. CO Mathy also assisted with the Governor’s Fishing Opener in Park Rapids and met with DNR Trails about dangerous dogs on a local trail. Enforcement action was taken for fishing in a closed area.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling, spring fish run, and ATV activity. Many small lakes in the area are starting to open but large lakes are still ice covered. Spring fishing opener brought few anglers to the Longville area, however the anglers that found areas to fish had success. Due to the late spring many sportsmen raised concern of targeting walleyes during the spawn. CO Broughten also assisted Cass County Sheriff’s Office with removal of a disorderly subject from a residence.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) monitored angling and turkey hunting activity in the station. He assisted with the Governor’s Fishing Opener held in the Park Rapids area. Officer Halverson also assisted Officer Oldakowski with a “Hooked on Fishing” safety presentation in Menahga.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Shane Siltala assisted with security at the Governor’s Fishing Opener in Park Rapids over the past weekend. He assisted at a kid’s outdoors day and gave a presentation on aquatic invasive species and how to properly decontaminate a boat. Officer Siltala also investigated a complaint involving the burning of prohibited materials and visited a possible wetland violation site where the landowner filled in part of a wetland.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports fishing opener on Rainy Lake was very slow as the main lake was still locked up with ice and the cold windy weather kept most people at home. Litter issues on ice were handled and possible wetland violation was investigated. Nuisance beaver complaints and other animal issues were handled.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) spent the week working on closed season beaver trapping activities, illegal beaver seized and enforcement action taken. Snow, frozen lakes and high winds resulted in few anglers observed on opening day.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the smaller bays of Lake Vermilion are now free of ice. The main lake is still ice covered. The public accesses do not have the docks in, nor will they until the lake is free of ice. Area rivers were checked for angling activity. The ticks and other biting bugs are plentiful.
CO Dan Starr (Tower) monitored fish run activity which is still ongoing. It goes without saying that folks should not pursue fish when they are attempting to spawn, even though season is open. Numerous complaints were heard along with discussions had, as to why many spawning areas were not closed by area DNR fisheries.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, spearers, boaters, ATVs, the fishing opener, issued nuisance beaver permits, and worked higher than normal fire enforcement calls. A fish house floor was found on the ice with the owner contacted and dealt with. Mostly ice free water was found on fishing opener; however, cold and windy conditions greeted anglers, with most staying home. Few anglers were found and fewer fish were to be had for those that ventured out. Enforcement action was taken for angling without an angling license, no angling license in possession, boat registration, a PFD violation, littering and a number of ATV and fire violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) monitored fish run, ice out and angling activity in the Virginia area. At the last minute, several lakes in the Virginia area opened up to allow anglers access to them, however high winds, cold temps with rain and snow kept almost all anglers off of the lakes. In fact only two boats were seen out on Virginia area lakes the entire opening day. An angler in one of those boats received citations for angling without a license, no PFD and failing to display current registration on a watercraft.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) found very few people out on fishing opener. Ice went off a few lakes the night before opener while others remained iced over. Those few anglers that braved the weather found fishing for the most part to be poor. Time was also spent during the week checking streams for illegal spring beaver trapping.
Ray - vacant.
I. Falls # 2 - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the fishing opener, checked ATVs, and worked the North Shore streams. Very few anglers were out and about trying to find open water. Most lakes are still covered with ice. Fishermen along the shore did quite well with some nice loopers seen in the bag. The Officer responded to an illegal fire that got out of control and spread onto the neighbor’s property. Appropriate paperwork was issued.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports some ice fishing during the opening weekend. A couple of guys estimated about 30 inches of rotten ice where they were fishing. Others found scraps of whatever Mother Nature threw at them when it came to open water. Some skidded canoes and small boats over ice to get to open water. Add on top of that the constant snow squalls and high winds, making some say it’s just not worth it. The CO got a canoe in here and there and checked people who were frozen and fishless. The CO noted that people are really starting to get grumpy from the long winter.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area rivers, state parks, and lakes. Anglers on the shore reported good success; sketchy ice conditions and poor weather kept smart anglers off frozen lakes this opener. CO Manning also assisted CO Wahlstrom with an illegal brush fire that got out of control in the high winds.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked fishing and boating activity in the areas that were ice free. Open water was scarce on most of the inland lakes and boaters had to find shallow lakes in order to find open water. Murray worked ATV activity and responded to a grass fire for investigation. Fire hazards have increased in the area and permits are required for any open burning.
CO Brad Johnson (Silver Bay) reports that he worked the fishing opener. Unfortunately for anglers, most of the lakes in the area are ice covered. To add insult to injury, it snowed during the day. A number of anglers were fishing the North Shore rivers with limited success.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that he attended an interagency boating crewman course on the St. Croix River. Walleye opener was slow with only a few brave anglers on the lakes with the onset of cold weather. Officer Williams would like to remind boaters that although we are well into spring that the water temperatures are still very cold and that wearing your PFD can greatly improve your chances of surviving a cold water emersion.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a cold, snowy, windy, and icy fishing opener, making for tough fishing conditions. CO Bermel worked the spring fish run, sport fishing inland and in the BWCA, commercial minnow trapping, ATVs, and took phone calls throughout the week. One individual was encountered fishing a day early with walleyes in the live well and using three lines. Fish and equipment were seized and citations were issued. A call from a USFS officer resulted in the seizure of ten beavers and enforcement action for trapping in the closed season. Other enforcement action included operation of an unregistered ATV, no throwable device on board watercraft, and driving after revocation. Assistance was provided to local law enforcement agencies on a couple calls.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked spawning creeks and ATV enforcement. Time was spent returning phone calls and doing follow up work on cases. Remember to remove your boat plugs when transporting your boats.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) worked aquatic invasive species enforcement at the Rainy and Mississippi rivers. Compliance was good. Arhart also worked ATVs, anglers, and boaters. Opening weekend was good for some river anglers. Lake angling was more difficult. Spawning fish are still in some streams and stacks of drift ice accumulated on Lake Winnibigoshish during strong winds. Anglers quickly ventured out onto ice –free lakes as soon as the winds allowed it. Arhart also tracked wetland and waters cases and investigated a wild fire. Enforcement action was taken for state park violations.
CO John Velsvaag (Region II ATV officer) checked ATV activity on the General Andrews and Nemadji State Forests this past week. Activity was low.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, littering, unregistered ATV and operating an ATV on a closed forest service road. Enforcement action was also taken when Officer Wichmann was parked at a local gas station and he observed an individual drive up next to him pulling a boat. The subject then got out and decided to use the gas station parking lot as a restroom. Officer Wichmann approached the subject and found he had been driving after his driver’s license was revoked.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs, state parks and campgrounds. He also attended a meeting and worked spring fish run complaints during the week.
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled for ATV activity, worked area fish run, answered miscellaneous wildlife complaints, prepared watercraft, dealt with some fire issues, and checked anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angling in a closed area.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a slow fishing opener with most if not all the lakes in the area with ice still present on them. CO Sutherland took enforcement action for angling without a license and angling with two lines. CO Sutherland also took action for an ATV on a public highway, failing to transfer title and for not having valid registration on an ATV. CO Sutherland also responded to a couple of wild land fires over the weekend. CO Sutherland also took action on a fire where prohibited materials were being burned and no burning permit had been obtained.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked anglers this past weekend that had very little success due to ice conditions and poor weather. Water temperatures up north are still fairly cool. She cited an individual for taking a walleye before the season opener. The angler thought opener was last weekend. The walleye was still alive and able to be released. She responded to a forest wild fire, which is currently under investigation in the Nashwauk area. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, inspected wetland complaints and assisted the area fisheries with the walleye egg stripping on Cutfoot. Angler success was good over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for angle in closed area, possess illegal length walleye and transport water.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked the St. Louis River for angling opener. Equipment and registration issues were main violations observed. Mixed results were seen for angling success but overall a rather slow bite. Illegal fires continue to be reported and investigated. ATV complaint areas were worked.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported that it was a COLD opener, but that didn’t stop diehard anglers from finding ways to participate and even catching a few walleyes around the area. Even with the cold water conditions a few boaters needed reminders that safety needed to come first and life jackets and other safety equipment is required and could possibly save their lives. A few ATV violations were also encountered. Some time was also spent helping a fisheries crew sample walleye populations on the St. Louis River. Two eagles, that were injured while fighting over their territories, were captured and brought to the Rapture Center for recovery.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working steelhead enforcement in the tributaries along Lake Superior. Many nights were also worked with focus on smelting and other spring fish run illegal activities. Opening walleye/northern fishing was very slow this year. The only open water in the Duluth area was the St. Louis River. Some lakes had open bays that allowed people to fish from shore with small boats. Some reports of people ice fishing were taken, but Officer Duncan was not on the ice checking. Many calls were returned and illegal taking of fish continues to be investigated and worked.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked OHV, fishing, boating, and fire enforcement during the week. Roads and trails continued to be posted closed in the Fond Du Lac State Forest. CO Humphrey assisted DNR Forestry staff with enforcement on several wildfires in Carlton County. Burning restrictions are in effect for Carlton County. Fishing opener saw ice on some area lakes paired with inclement weather resulting in few boats on the water. Many anglers that did get out found the fishing to be poor. Some anglers were found fishing without licenses and enforcement action taken. CO Humphrey attended a meeting with the area trails supervisor and NE recreational vehicle officer to discuss OHV activity and trail concerns.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody got recertified at game and fish detection this past week. There was some wild fire activity in the area. Enforcement action was taken for burning in an unauthorized incinerator and burning without a permit. With half the lakes still frozen over, and the rest of the lakes covered with white caps from high winds, this was the slowest fishing opener that this officer has seen in 15 years working this area. Some anglers were toughing out some of the local fishing spots along the St. Louis River but were not having much success. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license. ATV activity is picking up in the area along with some complaints. Enforcement action was taken for passenger under 18 without a helmet and registration violations.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked smelters along Park Point and the Lester River. Smelters had a few select nights during the week when the smelt cooperated. Opener was spent on the St. Louis River. It was the only open water in the Duluth area. The weather was windy, cool, with freezing rain and snow. The walleye bite was slow compared to past openers. The heartiest of anglers endured the weather. North Shore rivers in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas are taking runs of fish. Nuisance wildlife questions and concerns fielded.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior and on the S.t Louis River. Due to inland lakes being frozen, the St. Louis was the only open water in the area. Cold weather still limited angling activity and the fishing was slow. Fish run activity was monitored in Lake Superior tributaries, and invasive species efforts found high compliance rates among boaters. Enforcement action taken for angling, ATV, and invasive species violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent most of the week at training. He also did some work patrolling fish run areas.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Nikki Shoutz (Pine River) saw spotty success for walleyes caught on the Fishing Opener with mostly shore fishermen as many lakes were still ice locked. Crappie anglers in a boat found open water to reach a bay to fish and had trouble getting back after an ice heave floated over to the opening to the bay blocking them in! Some limits of crappies were seen and good compliance for the most part. Many grass fires were responded to as the dry conditions persist before green-up. Enforcement action was taken for burning during burning ban and burning prohibited materials. A complaint was also taken for operating ATVs in closed area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) saw a quiet opening weekend with many anglers deciding to wait for softer water and better weather. Some anglers who braved the weather did get some nice walleyes and crappies. Commercial bait dealers were checked and state forests still under seasonal closures were monitored. Several complaints of illegal sucker spearing at night were taken as the fish are still running in area creeks.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled the area lakes for angling activity. Angling activity was slow for an opener. Officer Guida observed an all-terrain vehicle travelling down a paved county road late Saturday evening at speeds estimated in excess of 60 to 70 miles per hour. Officer Guida caught up to the ATV and enforcement action was taken after Officer Guida recognized it to be the same operator that was warned about the same violation two weeks ago. When asked where the operator was going he indicated that he just wanted to run up and get a pack of smokes.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week who were reporting an actually good bite due to the weather and ice conditions. Officer Lee assisted other Law Enforcement agencies with a structure fire and a welfare check on an individual at a residence. The party was taken into custody and transported to jail. Officer Lee also received complaints of trespassing by shore fishermen. Anglers are reminded to know the road of right of way limitations. Enforcement actions were taken for failing to pull boat plug, Illegal Length walleyes and unattended lines.
CO James Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored angling and ATV activity in and around the SRA. He also responded to a rescue call on the Mississippi River, several injured wildlife calls, a wolf complaint, extinguished two unattended campfires on public land, and patrolled recreation sites in the Cuyuna Country SRA and Pillsbury State Forest.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked turkey hunters and monitored fish run activity during the week. Angling and watercraft enforcement was worked over the weekend. Two canoeists from Indiana were looking forward to the long range forecast as they journeyed down the Mississippi River.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reported activity included responding to several nuisance animal calls including wolves, beaver, skunks, and deer, monitoring fish run, sucker spearing, and investigation of garbage dumping complaints. The 2013 fishing opener was an unusual one with many area lakes still locked up with ice. Despite cold temperatures, sleet, and strong winds, some anglers were found on the rivers and a handful of smaller lakes that were ice free, having little to no success. A call the night before the opener was responded to where two individuals were ramming the ice with their motor boat in an unsafe manner on one ice-locked area lake. When approached and asked what they were doing, they said they were “trying to break up and clear away the ice in a scientific manner” so they’d have a place to fish in the morning. They were encouraged to find something better to do.
McGregor - vacant.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked the fishing opener with most lakes in the Garrison area covered with enough ice to restrict boat access. Those that could get to open water had a tough time finding fish and fighting the wind. Rough fish spearers and bow fishermen where doing better. Verkuilen also monitored the fish run and tribal harvest.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) attended a boat crew member training course over the week. The officer also prepared for fishing opener. On fishing opener, the officer found activity low and assisted Mille Lacs SO with the ice pressing up on the shore line of Mille Lacs Lake. The ice is unstable and unsafe; the public is advised to remain off the ice as it constantly shifting during its thawing process. The officer also addressed illegal operation of ATV’s by juveniles, fielded a trespassing call and addressed burning of yard debris.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports a slow start to the open water fishing season. With ice still on Mille Lacs, a few boaters went out to try their luck but with most of the lake covered in ice and windy conditions not many fish were observed. The officer assisted Aitkin County with a structure fire and a stolen vehicle. Calls of nuisance beaver were fielded with multiple permits issued. While driving the officer avoided a collision with a motorist who did not stop at a stop sign and almost hit the officer’s squad. The vehicle was stopped and citation was issued. A TIP complaint of an angler taking northern pike out of season was investigated. The party was found and after interviewing him, he confessed to taking two northern pike. Patrol was done around Mille Lacs Lake with the bands spearing on the lake. A complaint of a motor vehicle traveling on roads closed in the Solana State Forest was investigated. After talking to the suspect it was found he was trying to find a place to turkey hunt and that he traveled on the roads. A wetland violation was also investigated and paperwork was completed on the case. Lots of law related questions were fielded and a call of a nuisance bear was also taken. Enforcement action for the week included taking northern pike out of season, operating motor vehicle on a closed state forest road and inattentive driving.
CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) checked anglers over the opener. Violations encountered included no angling licenses and unattended lines. Anglers reported a very poor bite. Heaton reminded anglers to drain their live wells and pull their boat plugs. Heaton assisted the sheriff’s department on a structure fire. The call came out of a shed that exploded. When Heaton arrived on scene a live power line was found lying across the road. After interviewing the homeowner, it was discovered that household paper refuse was being burned in a burn barrel and spread to a nearby shed. The shed contained propane tanks. The heat from the shed and its contents burned the power lines above and damaged a small portion of the home. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials. Heaton received nuisance beaver reports, turkey hunting questions and nuisance bear complaints. She also patrolled area State Forests. Heaton would like to remind horse riders to purchase the required horse trail pass to ride in State Forests.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent part of the week investigating wildfires. While many of the fires were found along roadsides, wildfires were also found on private property and were the result of smaller fires getting away from landowners. One of the wildfires found was caused by unsupervised kids with matches. The fishing opener was quiet due to cold temperatures and high winds. Anglers struggled to catch fish with lake water temperatures still in the 40s. Anglers on the St. Croix River had slightly better luck. Boat patrol was also provided on the St. Croix River for 125 kayakers that competed in a triathlon.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls during the week of nuisance beavers and bears. He answered questions regarding burning regulations, state forest closures, and lake ice conditions. He checked anglers and boaters around the Pine City area for opening weekend, spent time on the St. Croix River, and worked around Mille Lacs Lake. Enforcement contacts included no throwable PFD’s and no angling licenses in possession.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) worked the opening of fishing. The remaining ice conditions curtailed a lot of fishermen from being to get out on Mille Lacs. Windy conditions pushed ice into buildings on the south end of the lake. The officer assisted local sheriff’s department with a cold water emersion. The party was found in the lake unresponsive and airlifted to a local hospital. Time was also spent monitoring treaty harvest.
WREO Rob Haberman checked anglers over the fishing opener. Many anglers stuck to the shores and rivers due to ice conditions and high winds on Saturday. WREO Haberman also conducted AIS law compliance checks on several watercraft. WREO Haberman also reminded shore fishermen about taking water from the lakes and rivers and transporting it home. WREO Haberman also attended a TEP meeting in Aitkin County to discuss upcoming projects.
Onamia - vacant.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers. CO Mies testified in court on a deer case. CO Mies gave fur and trapping class at Ney Park. CO Mies worked on a waters case.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) reports a slow opener with ice-out on several lakes just two days before the weekend. Shore fishermen enjoyed good panfish bites at several locations. Complaints of double tripping were investigated. A citation was issued for no angling license to a bow fisherman, along with a warning for trespass. CO Kuske assisted DNR Forestry with the investigation of a number of wildfire arson incidents. CO Kuske attended a board of directors meeting for the Minnesota Conservation Officers Association.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) investigated several complaints of anglers hiding fish, catching over limits, and fish out of season. All reports were unfounded with no violations. The officer attended training in St. Paul.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked the walleye/northern opener in the Albany area. Fishing success was poor, and the weather kept many people off the lakes. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license, and no type 4 PFD. Thesing also worked ATV activity, and turkey hunters.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated a call of a possible poached deer lying in a field. Upon checking it over it was determined to be killed by dogs. A complaint call of a smoldering manure pile was handled and CO Kuske assisted the county with a search for a stolen vehicle. Car kill deer permits and a beaver removal permit were issued and many cold anglers checked on opening fishing.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports a blustery, cold, fishing opener with some ice still on area lakes. Very few anglers were out. Those that were went home cold and empty-handed. Possible wetland violations were investigated. Burning restrictions began uneventfully, so far.
WREO Keith Bertram found the 2013 fishing opener cold, fishless, and having a high violation rate. Citations were issued for no boat registration, no ATV registration, no PFDs, failure to pull drain plugs, and extra lines. CO Bertram also completed an investigation where a trapper forgot to pull a trap from last fall. The trap contained a decomposed otter. A citation was issued and the trap seized. Time was also spent working on wetland complaints and checking minnow trappers.
CO Mike Martin (St Cloud) checked anglers and ATV operators during the past week. Officer Martin spoke on two radio shows, answered TIP calls, and assisted the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office with a missing person.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) participated in boat operation training. CO Silgjord readied station equipment for the annual fishing opener. Area lakes received a little assistance from the wind with clearing off the remaining winter ice. Fishing opener was worked and the bite was found to be slow. Few fishermen braved the wind and cold temperatures on Saturday but nicer whether on Sunday brought out some shore anglers.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and took enforcement action on a number of violations. He answered a number of nuisance animal questions. He followed up on a number of dumping complaints charges pending. He continues to working on a Big Game investigation.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to a couple hundred 5th graders from Wright County attending a Conservation Day at Ney Park. Reller also gave a presentation at a Firearms Safety class in Rockford. Several over limit cases were made with the largest for 70 pan fish over the limit. Other enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines and possession of marijuana.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Pan fish are showing up in buckets and live wells. Fishing opener was slow due to cold and wind. Enforcement action was taken on over-limit of crappie, operating an ATV on a public highway while driver’s license is revoked and operating and unregistered ATV.
CO Travis Muyres (Cambridge) finished training the new DNR mussel detection canine class. All three canines were certified as USPCA wildlife detector canines. CO Muyres worked AIS enforcement and fishing enforcement in the northwest part of the state over the opening weekend.
CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) patrolled local lakes/rivers on fishing opener but received poor fishing reports throughout the area. Officer Londgren also assisted with several fires due to un-attended fires and high winds over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken on: failure to pull plug on watercraft, fail to display ATV registration, no license, failure to obtain burning permit, burning prohibited materials, and expired boat registration.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a cold and windy opening fishing weekend. Few anglers braved the wind on area lakes and saw less fish. The St. Croix River water levels have gone down but fishing is still slow. Violations included bass out of season, illegal length fish, no fishing license, no PFD and expired boat registration.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) checked turkey hunters at the Vermillion Highlands WMA. He patrolled for ATV enforcement in Dakota and Scott counties. CO Neitzke did AIS and boating enforcement at metro lakes and rivers. He also worked the fishing opener.
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) gave a presentation to the Carver County Rotary Club. Turkey hunters were checked having good luck. The fishing opener was worked with CO Vang Lee, finding very few fish caught due to the cold and 30 mph wind.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked boaters and fishermen in the metro area lakes and rivers. He worked the fishing opener at Lake Waconia with CO Walter and responded to couple of TIP complaints. Violation found were fishing without angling licenses, no fishing license in possession, taking bass in closed season, and fishing with extra lines.
CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) patrolled Lake Minnetonka and various Carver County lakes for the fishing opener. She attended an AIS workshop with Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. She participated in a TEP meeting in Stillwater and investigated three separate waters violations in Chanhassen. Numerous civil citations were issued to boaters transporting zebra mussels and failing to remove drain plugs. She also met with sheriff’s deputies to discuss the upcoming boating season and enforcement projects.
CO Adam Block (Metro WREO) spoke to students at the Jordan High School regarding CO duties. The officer provided media outlets with interviews regarding the fishing opener. A shoreline complaint was investigated and time was spent checking angling activity and AIS compliance during the fishing opener.
CO Thor Nelson (Bloomington) received calls including taking walleye and bass during the closed season, crappie over-limits and animal nuisance complaints. He gave two firearms safety training presentations to youth classes and an aquatic invasive species presentation to a civic organization. He spent the rest of the week on fishing, boating and State Park enforcement activities.
Minnetonka - vacant.
Mound - vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports handling several injured/nuisance animal calls throughout her station as well as working the TIP line, fielding several calls related to turkey hunting violations and fishing.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week investigating several TIP complaints, handling nuisance animal calls, and answering trapping questions. CO Arntzen checked anglers and boaters throughout the week. He also gave a presentation to a firearms safety class in East Bethel and attended field sobriety training. CO Arntzen investigated a case involving the illegal sale of game fish that resulted in enforcement action. Violations for the week included littering, unregistered watercraft, illegal sale of game fish, no fishing license, possession of drugs and paraphernalia.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked the fishing opener and checked anglers around the metro lakes and rivers. He checked watercrafts for registration and safety equipment and checked on TIP complaints of fishing violations. CO Pril also answered calls and attended field sobriety test training at the DNR region headquarters in Saint Paul.
CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) patrolled the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers for angling activity. Angling success was much better than a week ago and most anglers were finding a few saugers and walleyes. CO McGowan also checked spring turkey hunters. Enforcement action was taken for no PFD on watercraft, illegal length walleye, keep walleye in a closed area, angle without a license, angle with extra lines, and operate watercraft with expired registration.
Ham Lake - vacant.
Eagan - vacant.
Metro Officer - vacant.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Neil Henriksen (Benson) reports the enforcement focus of the week was directed at fishing, boating and AIS enforcement. The assessment of the fishing opener was that it was poor, low number of anglers, and the lack of fish being caught. Local law enforcement was assisted with an armed barricaded suspect.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked angling and boating activity throughout the week. Big Stone and other local lakes are ice free. This officer attended the 6th Grade Youth Day at Bonanza Education Center, where the Wall-of-Shame trailer was presented to students. Students were educated about poaching activity and the Turn-in-Poachers program.
CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) reports blustery conditions in the area for the fishing opener, however, Sunday brought much better weather. Enforcement for the week included two individuals charged with taking walleye out of season which resulted in ten walleyes being seized. Another individual was cited for fishing without a license.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) advises that Hendricks Lake was frozen two weeks ago and now fish are biting. Crappies and perch are the species of the day, with several limits being taken. An over limit case was handled. The 40 plus mph winds deterred the boaters but shore fishing was pretty good all-around. Boat plugs have been an issue with boaters putting the plug in early and not at the access.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers. The fishing opener was hampered by cool temperatures and high wind. DNR education about Invasive Species laws seems to be working. All anglers encountered spoke knowledge of the Invasive Species laws. Enforcement action was taken for burn prohibited material, unlawful dumping, failure to drain livewell, boat plug, and license/registration violations.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports winds at 25 to 40 mph from Friday night through Saturday made for a difficult start to the walleye opener. The anglers that did venture out in boats struggled to find fish. In all, fishing activity was down from previous walleye openers. AIS and boating laws were the key enforcement focuses. ATV activity continues to pick up with warmer temperatures and planting season.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that fishing opener was off to a slow and windy start. Many anglers took to the Minnesota River to avoid the high winds on Lac qui Parle. Enforcement action was taken for fail to remove drain plug, leaving carp on the shore, registration and no PFD.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) continued K-9 training in Anoka. AIS checks and boat checks were completed over the fishing opener even though the weather hampered fisherman having much success. A public waters violation site was checked in Brown County.
Madison - vacant.
Redwood Falls - vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked the Hutchinson area lakes on the fishing opener. Strong winds slowed some of the activity on the lakes but anglers had some luck catching walleyes. 100% compliance was found on AIS issues. Mueller and a neighboring officer responded to an ATV trespassing complaint in McLeod County. She also spoke Hector HS for a career class.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked a very windy fishing opener. High winds kept down the number of anglers venturing out on area lakes. Despite the wind anglers were able to land a few fish. Oberg and CO Mueller checked several nice crappies on an area lake, and several groups of anglers checked managed at least one walleye. Overall it was the slowest opener Oberg has worked. Oberg also spent time working ATV and trapping violations.
CO Greg Abraham (New Ulm) reports fishing opener was not as busy as usual, probably due to the weather and most of the rural population out in the fields making up for lost time. Most of those that did fish experienced a very good opener, with lots of limits of good sized walleyes checked. Channel cats were also biting well.
CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent time on sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Fishing opener was worked with the first day being windy enough to keep most watercraft on their trailers. Many of the fishermen that were checked were able to find some success with walleyes and northern pike. Beckmann presented to a firearms safety training in St. James and also attended training in St. Paul.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked the Minnesota inland water fishing opener. Gruhlke continued to inspect commercial operations, respond to calls for information and patrol the county. He completed his radio program discussing AIS, fishing opener and area activity. Gruhlke also worked AIS at the Clear Lake Public Access. Enforcement action was taken for failure to pull plug while in transport.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted PSA’s at local radio stations regarding prevention of invasive species. Attendance was made at the Martin County West Elementary School for their annual law enforcement day. Anglers and boaters were checked on area lakes for the 2013 fishing opener. Wind was very high and restricted boating activity. Investigations were conducted regarding complaints of taking game fish prior to the opener. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of boat safety violations.
Willmar #1 - vacant.
Litchfield - vacant.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked angling & turkey hunting activity. The officer also attended NASBLA boat training and responded to TIP calls.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked fishermen, turkey hunters, and ATV operators. Time was also spent assisting with instructing an alcohol training session, and giving a presentation for a FAS class in Janesville.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling and boating activity. Activity was down due to a cool and very windy opener. CO Howe also spoke at a youth Firearms Safety class, presented on water resources at the state Enviro-thon competition, attended a meeting regarding establishment of a regional recreational trail, and presented material on poaching to the Lura Lake Environmental Days event. CO Howe also recorded an interview with KEYC-TV, regarding the fishing opener.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spoke at a youth environmental day along with CO Howe. The officer reported a low number of anglers out on the 2013 opener this past weekend likely due to the cool temperatures and high winds. ATV activity was checked.
CO Luke Belgard (Albert Lea) attended a NASBLA Boat Crewmember’s Course in Stillwater. He worked fishing opener reporting a lot of activity despite cool, windy conditions. Enforcement action was taken on angling violations. TIP calls were also handled during the week.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) attended NASBLA Boat & Water training in Stillwater. The fishing opener was worked with neighboring officers.
WREO Julie Siems (SE) certified her new K9 detector dog Brady. A BUI course was instructed for officers. Brady and Siems worked at the Governor’s Opener as well.
Faribault - vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Phil George (Rochester) spent the week checking anglers and ATV operators. Officer George took TIP call of a waters violation, also calls of injured or dead animals. Enforcement action for no angling license and taking bass in closed season.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing and turkey hunting enforcement this week as well as attending a border waters meeting and some divisional training. A ride along was also provided for an area youth.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success was mixed, but some were doing ok and catching sauger, walleye, and bass. Heyn also checked turkey hunters and went through old cases and completed paperwork.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports attending meetings about border issues with other states. Time was also spent working anglers and turkey hunters. Morel mushroom hunters have been out with poor success. A few burning complaints have been investigated as well.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) attended a meeting with officers from neighboring states along with training. The river continues to be high but people are catching some fish. Turkey hunters are continuing to have good success.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week checking turkey hunting and fishing activity. Time was also spent working on an invasive species complaint and meeting with landowners on trespass issues. The river continues to be high with some species of fish biting quite well.
Rochester #2 - vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Bob Geving flew wetland photo inventory surveys, staffed a TIP trailer event, and worked angling and aquatic invasive activities.
CO Pilot Tom Buker (New Ulm) flew flights for WCA violations, ATV damage in wetlands, fisher telemetry, and the start of the statewide nesting pair waterfowl survey.
NR pilot Luke Ettl flew in support of the moose calf capture project.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) started the statewide goose survey and flew wolf telemetry.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports the week was spent at aviation related training.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO reports are now placed within district reports.
Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions
If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check on-line for Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is also located at www.mndnr.gov.
Please check the DNR WEB SITE www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
Youth ATV Courses (12 to 15 years old) class postings for around the state are posted on the web site at www.mndnr.gov. Students are reminded that they must complete the CD portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR
Reminder---anyone born after December 31st, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!!!
Reminder---Any resident born after December 31st, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile Certificate. Two options are available to complete certification, 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.
Reminder---Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training CD course. Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS
If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.
SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez conducted a FAS Volunteer Instructor Clinic in S St Paul. The RTO had three female instructors and one MN State High School Clay Target League instructor. RTO Gutierrez worked the much anticipated MN Fishing Opener. There were very few anglers out with the high winds and cool weather, with even fewer fish seen.
Northeast RTO Shelly Patten returned e-mails and worked on manual revisions.
Northwest RTO Jon Paurus worked with volunteer instructors regarding upcoming clinics and paperwork associated with them. The fishing opener was worked in the vacant Perham station. Many of the lakes still had ice on them so much of the fishing took place from shore with most anglers having success.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac Saturday he helped facilitate an online student firearm safety field day and provided instructor training at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer.
Southern RTO Dan McBroom held a HEFAS Instructor Training class in Luverne. Had a meeting with HEFAS instructors from the Windom and surrounding area. Most of the meeting was about the On-line HEFAS program. The instructors in attendance decided it would be a good idea to go through the On-line training and start working on setting up a Field Day for On-line students. Time was spent revising the Bow Hunter Education Field Day Manual. Time was spent on the Mississippi with K394 working fishermen and Boat and water Safety. Weather for the fishing opener was less than favorable with high winds, rain, and a little snow mixed in.
Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens worked on setting up additional monitoring by Trail Ambassadors at the Mud Nationals ATV event, scheduled to June 22-24 at Quadna Resort in Hill City.
Northeast Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence conducted a Firearms safety instructor training class at the Carlos Avery Wildlife management area headquarters. RTO Lawrence worked on small projects relating to the bow hunter education instructor manual revisions and background paperwork on new applicants. Also, RTO Lawrence worked with fleet on truck repairs to his work truck. RTO Lawrence checked for angling activity along the St. Croix River in northern Chisago and up into Pine counties. RTO Lawrence met with National Park Service officer to talk on upcoming activities.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens 763-753-1887 firstname.lastname@example.org
NE RTO Shelly Patten 218-244-8051
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549 email@example.com
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-2705 firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-251-0041 email@example.com
NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-360-0167 firstname.lastname@example.org
SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez 651-464-7773 email@example.com
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant
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