DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports the brief warmer weather brought out a good deal of snowmobile and angling activity. Fishing reports from the BWCAW were fair to good, although travel was difficult due to flowing water. Violations included failure to display snowmobile registration and operating an unregistered snowmobile.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) reports snowmobile trail conditions improved but on the lake it’s a little bumpy. Fishing was slow this past week and a little slush showed up after the snow. Velsvaag took several calls on trapping and northern pike regulations.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers on remote lakes in the BWCAW and patrolled snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area lakes and grant-in-aid snowmobile trails. Recent snowfall has improved trail conditions and groomers are playing catch-up. Snowfall has led to slush on many of the lakes and anglers and riders should be on the watch. Manning also handled calls on angling and a wolf in a coyote trap.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy week of winter activity. Plenty of enforcement action to report, including shelter ID and tag violations, fishing without a license, fishing with an extra line, illegal-length northern pike, expired snowmobile registration, no non-resident trail pass, loud/altered snowmobile exhaust, and marijuana/drug paraphernalia.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity during the week. He assisted volunteer instructors with a snowmobile safety class in Finland, as well as enforcing those laws in the area after the class.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports beginning a background investigation this week.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity this week. Area trails are freshly groomed and in good shape, bringing many riders to the area. Fishing was slow with the recent sub-zero temperatures and not many anglers were encountered. Murray also assisted volunteer instructors with a youth snowmobile safety class in the Duluth station.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports ice fishing and spearing activity on Rainy Lake and Lake Kabetogama have been slow because of the frigid temperatures. Snowmobile activity has also been minimal with Saturday being the busiest day. After then it was relatively quiet. Enforcement action for the week involved illegal ATV operations.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobiles began to trickle into the area over the weekend, along with snowmobile complaints. Time was spent following up on trespass complaints. The best place to operate snowmobiles is on established trails. When operating off marked trails, remember to respect neighboring landowners and stay off their land if you don’t have permission. Angling and spearing activity continues to bring people onto area lakes. They’re having inconsistent success. Slush has formed on lake surfaces.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports a week of frigid temperatures saw little outdoor activity. Snowmobile activity was monitored. Area lakes were checked and anglers report slow fishing with few fish caught. Area forest roads were checked and public access sites were monitored.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily snowmobile and angling enforcement. Larson came across violations relating to ATV/snowmobile registration and shelter licenses.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobile activity. In addition, time was spent presenting at a snowmobile safety class in Chisholm. Violations encountered included taking fish without an angling license, operating a motor vehicle on a snowmobile trail, expired ATV and snowmobile registration, and no angling license in possession.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time following up on several big-game violations and patrolling on snowmobile. Zavodnik found that a person had shot a deer without a license and then transported it illegally. Several other violations were also discovered during the investigation. As the busy snowmobile season is approaching, he wants to remind riders to be mindful of their speed on the trails.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, trapping, and snowmobile activity. Cold weather appeared to limit recreational activity. Anglers reported limited success. Even with recent snowfall, snowmobile trails are still in poor condition.