Conservation Officer Weekly Report for Feb. 11

District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) spent time working snowmobile and angling enforcement with CO Slatinski and Park Ranger Gelo. Although snowmobile activity was slow during the evening hours, fishing activity was moderate. A couple violations encountered while working Voyageurs National Park included angling with extra lines, no license in possession, as well as fishing without a license. The individual angling without a license stated that he had won a free overnight fishing trip on the lake. He was found to be using two extra lines, as well. So, it didn?t turn out to be such a cheap trip after all. Zavodnik also worked Lake of the Woods with CO Mishler over the weekend. Anglers seemed to be catching a fair amount of small sauger mixed in with walleyes, but quality was hard to come by. Other anglers checked further out seemed to be having better success, catching some bigger saugers and walleyes. Instances such as dressed and unmeasurable fish on a special regulation lake, overlimit of fish, extra lines, and no license in possession were a few violations encountered during the day.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) Time was spent monitoring angling activity, snowmobile and trail use, trapping activity, and taking care of equipment maintenance. The fresh snow had left the area with some of the best snowmobiling conditions seen in a long time for the area. As is typical with a good snowfall, pockets of slush are showing up once again. Angling activity has been hit and miss with violations of no angling license, using extra lines, and shelter license violations observed. Complaints of snowmobilers cutting corners on the trails have been heard recently. Remember most trails have two-way traffic. Safety and etiquette dictate the need to stay on your own side of the trail to avoid collisions and allow others to enjoy their ride.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area snowmobile trails, checking local lakes and monitoring public access sites. Fishing remains poor. Approximately a foot of new snow fell over the week. Those in the backcountry should travel prepared.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring snowmobile and angling activity. Angling success was limited this week. Snowmobile trails are in good condition and are seeing a lot of traffic.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week checking anglers and working snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent finishing up big-game cases.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked anglers, snowmobiles and ATV riders. A fishing tournament and a vintage snowmobile ride were worked in the station with CO Frericks. An illegal-length northern pike was weighed in and kept in possession in the fishing tournament and was dealt with. As is typical with a vintage snowmobile ride, a number of speed and registration violations were addressed, but on the newer sleds. Bozovsky has dealt with many snowmobiles blowing through stop signs over the years, even when he?s nearby. One was encountered doing this very thing at an unacceptable speed and within 10 feet of parked sleds, the officer?s squad, people standing nearby and the officer standing in uniform 10 feet away. The unhappy driver was cited. Enforcement action was taken on illegal-length fish, no fishing license in possession, snowmobile registration and speed, failing to stop at a stop sign, and ATV violations of driving after revocation and the wrong way on a road.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) worked with CO Bozovsky on an antique sled run from Kinney to Chisholm. With comfortable weather, there was a large turnout and many antique sleds were seen. Of the riders who participated in the run riding more modern sleds, enforcement action was taken for operating unregistered snowmobiles and speed. After recent snowfall in the Virginia area, Frericks was patrolling areas in the Virginia station with snow-covered fields and ag land. In one location, Frericks knew the owner of the fields and found someone on a snowmobile had trespassed on the fields. To some, this can seem harmless and fun. To the more informed, this kind of activity will cause serious damage to the crop beneath the snow. Frericks encourages anyone who observes ag land trespass to contact their local CO and report the violation.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received multiple calls of a vehicle stuck and abandoned on a state snowmobile trail. The responsible parties were located and charged for the offense. With all the recent snow, trails are in excellent condition.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week and attended training at Camp Ripley. He also worked at a work detail up the Gunflint Trail. Snowmobile trail conditions are great but few people were out with the cold weather.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked anglers and snowmobilers during the week. Activity increased along with the temperatures.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended a meeting of DNR Honor Guard members at Camp Ripley. Manning checked snowmobile operators and sleds on grant-in-aid trails and forest roads; compliance was good and warmer weather and good trail conditions were appreciated by sled operators. She also took care of maintenance issues and checked cross-country ski passes and anglers.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked with the county attorney on cases coming up for trial. Time was spent working the busy snowmobile trails and lakes for angling activity. Trail and snow conditions are excellent. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed and registration violations.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and snowmobiling activity this past week. He also attended training at Camp Ripley.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers on area lakes in Cook and Lake counties. Snowmobile trails were worked and a lot of people are enjoying the deep snow. Compliance with snowmobile registration has been exceptional this year.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week. Area trails are in great shape with recent snowfalls and many riders were encountered out enjoying the North Shore. Ice anglers have taken to recently formed ice on Lake Superior hoping to hook a salmon or lake trout. Anglers must use caution and pay attention to changing ice conditions while venturing out.