DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) assisted St. Louis County and Morse and Ely ambulance with a snowmobile accident near Burntside Lake. Fishing reports improved over the week as colder weather and more ice made more lakes accessible. Fisher and marten trapping activity stayed strong through the weekend and more than a few successful trappers were contacted.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trappers and anglers this past week. Trapping was slow but some nice fish are being caught. Snowmobiling activity picked up and trail conditions should improve this week with the upcoming snowfall.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked pine marten, fisher and otter sets. Snowmobile trails were also patrolled. Temperature swings and lack of good snowfall continue to cause varied trail conditions.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked trapping and angling enforcement and followed up on a violation from the deer season. A dumping complaint was also followed up on. Enforcement action was taken for a deer-tagging violation, litter, and unmarked fish house.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) answered trapping and angling questions.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports seeing an uptick in trapping activity compared to the first weekend. Trappers utilized snow machines to get to some hard-to-reach areas. Some success was seen. Enforcement action was taken for an illegal body-gripping trap. Cross-country ski activity is ramping up with some recent snowfall and ski pass compliance has been excellent. More work was done on an ongoing trapping case.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping and angling activity this week. Ice conditions improved with the a few days of cold weather freezing areas of overflow. Area snowmobile trails were still ungroomed this week due to lack of snow but snow is in the forecast.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports checking ice anglers and monitoring trapping activity in the area.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports trapping and spearing activity is ongoing in the area, with participant numbers down from the previous week. Lack of snow has left area snowmobile trails in poor condition for snowmobile travel and recreational riders are all but nonexistent. Ice continues to form on area lakes but is inconsistent and caution is always advised. Trespass complaints were heard and addressed. Outdoor users need to keep in mind that disrespect for other people’s property can lead to further restrictions for all outdoor recreational activities.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) continues to monitor ice fishing as ice conditions approve. There’s been little to no snowmobile activity due to lack of snow on area trails. Public access sites were checked, as were area forest roads. Equipment work continues. Assistance was provided to the Forestry Division.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) primarily worked angling and trapping enforcement. Trapping activity was slow with few trappers with sets out. Angling activity has begun to pick up.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports recreational vehicles have been observed on surrounding lakes, and some snowmobile lake trails have also been marked by club members within the past week. Snowmobile trails are still rebounding from the latest spell of warm weather and rain but the upcoming snow forecast looks promising for riders. Time was also spent completing a timber-trespass complaint.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and trapping activity. Few anglers were observed on area lakes this week. Anglers reported ice thickness from four to eight inches. Some deeper lakes in the area just start to ice over. Snowmobilers continue to anxiously wait for snow.