Conservation Officer’s report

Conservation Officer John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers on area lakes this past week. Some trout and a few walleyes were seen, but tough fishing for the most part. CO Velsvaag also worked with CO Mike Lekatz checking snowmobilers and anglers on Shagawa and Little Long lakes on the weekend. Anglers are reminded to display their full name and address or driver's license number or DNR number on their shelters. Trail conditions deteriorated considerably from the previous several weeks for snowmobilers and lake conditions are okay. Violations included speeding and failing to display snowmobile registration.<BR><BR>CO Mike Lekatz (Ely) worked checks on fishing activity on area lakes throughout the week. Slush conditions have settled down on most area lakes due to the colder temperatures earlier in the week. Fishing success has been very slow on most trout lakes with anglers checked reporting many hours spent on the ice with very few trout being caught. He worked checks on snowmobile activity on area lakes and trails throughout the week as well. The past weekend was about the busiest of the season so far. High number of sleds in the area on Saturday. Speed checks were worked on area lakes. Numerous excessive speed violations were handled along with some registration violations. Cross country ski trail passes were also checked.<BR><BR>CO Marty Stage (Babbitt) spent the past week working snowmobile enforcement. Stage assisted deputies and Finland Rescue with a snowmobile accident victim search and recovery. The person was forced off the trail by a trail speeder. The guy who caused the accident reportedly turned around and saw the victim go off the trail into the trees. He then sped off without assisting. The victim laid in the snow for almost three hours before the rescuers could find the him - even with the assistance of a helicopter. If anyone knows who caused the accident, please call the TIP line. While working the trails, officers continually encounter near collisions with people coming around corners too fast and out of control. The people who consistently do this are a menace to everyone else on the trail. Here's a handy little self test to know if you’re traveling too fast on the trails. If you can't keep your machine on your own side of the trail, while traveling around every curve you’re out of control and you’re going too fast! <BR><BR>CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked mostly snowmobilers. Trail conditions were rough which helped keep the speeds down. Trout anglers were checked on designated lakes. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobilers failing to stop at roadways, failing to transfer snowmobile registration, failing to register snowmobiles, speed, no snowmobile safety certificates. If you were born after December 31, 1976 you must have one. Go to the DNR website or call the Snowmobile Safety Training Headquarters at 1-800-366-8917 to get your Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CD. <BR><BR>CO Kipp Duncan (Two Harbors) met with Special Agents from the Fish and Wildlife Service and discussed some cases. He worked snowmobile enforcement a big part of last week. This past weekend brought thousands of snowmobiles up to the North Shore. The weather was beautiful and compliance with laws was very good. Officer Duncan worked with neighboring officers patrolling different areas along the North Shore and also had an intern student from University Minnesota-Duluth ride along. Other activities include equipment maintenance for snowmobiles and patrol truck, picking up an owl, and office computer work. <BR><BR>CO Brad Johnson (Silver Bay) reports many snowmobilers out enjoying the trails. He assisted some owners of collector snowmobiles in getting them registered as such. People are reminded the youth snowmobile class will be taking place in Finland the week of February 21. With the slush on area lakes, many people are pulling their fish houses from the local lakes now.