DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports a good amount of snow fell over the week, followed by extreme cold over the weekend. Some snowmobile activity was seen before the weekend, but it tapered off with the cold. Violations included angling without a license in possession, failure to display snowmobile registration, and failure to transfer registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Trail conditions have improved but fishing has been slow. Velsvaag received several calls about trout openers.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked the BWCAW trout opener with several officers. Few people ventured into the wilderness with the cold weather. The ones who did landed some nice fish on the ice. Wahlstrom responded to a medical call on the cross-country ski trail and also to a call for a lost couple who were extremely cold and didn’t have any survival gear. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked trap sets and assisted DNR Wildlife with fur registration in Grand Marais. She patrolled area grant-in-aid trails and smaller lakes, worked a chilly Boundary Waters trout fishing opener, and attended the funeral for Itasca Sheriff’s Deputy Jayme Williams as part of the DNR Honor Guard.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the frigid New Year’s weekend. In spite of the cold, ski trails still saw significant activity and some area snowmobile trails have received their first grooming of the season. Quite a few people contacted didn’t have the required ski passes. Snowmobile-registration and -transfer violations were encountered, and unattended lines were found. Appropriate enforcement action was taken. Fur-related items were taken care of as well.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and snowmobiling activity this week. Time was spent working the BWCAW trout opener, and assisting Cook County with lost hikers.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports seeing a heavy amount of snowmobile activity throughout the week in Cook County. The secret appears to be out that the area has seen quite a bit of snowfall as of late with riders from all over Minnesota being contacted. One citation was issued for failure to transfer a snowmobile title. Hill also worked a detail in the BWCA during the trout opener that took place on New Year’s Day. Activity was way down compared to other years, but with temperatures well below zero with a deadly wind chill, that was to be expected. Those who braved the cold and started fishing early in the day were rewarded with limits of lake trout. One angler was found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week. Area trails have now had the first grooming of the season and are getting high use. Murray assisted with a fur registration station for marten, fisher, otter, and bobcat. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration violations and trespass.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports fur registration was attended at the International Falls Area DNR office. Overall trapper numbers were down in the area, but just about everybody had their furs. A report of a vehicle going through the ice on Rainy Lake was taken. Luckily, the individual was able to get out safely. People are reminded that there is no such thing as safe ice, use caution, and be prepared for the worst.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week monitoring trapping activity and checking anglers on Rainy Lake and Rainy River. Time was also spent this past weekend patrolling area snowmobile trails. Trail conditions are looking good on area trails.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports angling and spearfishing activity brought people to area lakes, even with less-than-stellar traveling conditions.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports weekend temps at -30F resulted in few outdoor activities taking place. Angling activities were checked with anglers having limited success. Little snowmobile traffic was noted. Area forest roads were checked; most are not plowed. Public access sites were monitored and equipment work was completed.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling, snowmobile, and trapping enforcement. Larson assisted at the fur registration in Tower, meeting with several local trappers who had success this past fall and early winter. He also patrolled local snowmobile trails, which have improved significantly with the recent snow event.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked snowmobile enforcement and angling activity. Time was also spent assisting at furbearer registration in Hibbing. Trappers reported success during the fisher/pine marten season. A cold snap over the weekend brought a limited number of snowmobilers out onto local trails.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time assisting the DNR Wildlife Section with fur registration earlier in the week. He also attended a funeral as an Honor Guard member to pay tribute to Itasca County Deputy Jayme Williams. Zavodnik continues to patrol area snowmobile trails and work on equipment maintenance.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobile activity. Anglers reported little success this week. Ice conditions continue to improve but ice thickness varies considerably from lake to lake. Few snowmobilers were encountered this week. Trails on land are just starting to become passable. Broughten received one report of a snowmobile that went through the ice.