DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports
District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports warmer weather and very little additional snow made for trail conditions that continued to deteriorate through the past week. In spite of those worsening conditions, trails were still passible but some spots have already worn down to bare ground. Violations included fishing without a license and snowmobile speed.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout anglers this past week. Snowmobile riders were out with good trail conditions, which did not last with the warm weather. Velsvaag also took phone calls about fish house removal and litter.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked a snowmobile detail with several officers in Cook County. The trails are starting to deteriorate quickly with the lack of snow and warm weather. Time was also spent armoring handguns at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile, ATV and fishing violations.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling enforcement during the past week. Trails have deteriorated a great deal. Enforcement action was taken for loud exhaust, failure to display snowmobile registration, and shelter tag violations.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and snowmobile activity this past week. Several juvenile operators and their parents were contacted for illegal activity. Trails have suffered greatly with warm, sunny days and heavy traffic.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports excellent weather conditions brought heavy snowmobile and fishing traffic into the area. Hill took part in snowmobile speed enforcement with a few partners. A few notable stops for speed included 81 mph, 80 mph, 75 mph, 71 mph, and 63 mph. It has been proven time and time again that speed kills, and it has been a contributing factor in multiple snowmobile fatalities over the years. Please stay under the 50 mph speed limit. Hill contacted a few anglers in violation after they left lines unattended to go find a new fishing spot. Another party was found to be illegally possessing a 36-inch pike in the Northeast Pike Zone. Hill and another officer contacted a snowmobile owner for a suspected equipment violation. Even though they weren?t driving the snowmobile in question, it was determined that the individual was intoxicated and they were advised to not operate the machine until they were sober. Two hours later, Hill clocked the rider going 80 mph across the lake. The subject was arrested on suspicion of second degree DUI. The snowmobile was seized and could be subject to forfeiture pending the outcome of the case.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the past week. Area trail conditions have started to deteriorate due to the recent warm weather. Anglers closed out the game fish season with some fair success and spring-like weather. Enforcement action was taken for licensing and registration violations.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports with the lack of snow and the warmer weather, the area snowmobile trails have taken a hit. However, people were still out enjoying the outdoors. Ice fishing on area lakes stayed the same. People are reminded with the warmer weather it?s a great time to think about cleaning up around fish houses and preparing them to be removed.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week checking ice anglers and patrolling snowmobile activity on area trails. Simonson would like remind people to make sure you get a current fishing license before heading out on the water to fish. Enforcement action taken this past week consisted of having no shelter license, failing to transfer ownership of a snowmobile, and ATV/snowmobile registrations.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports anglers looking to pick up a few walleye before the close of the inland season reported less-than-stellar success, although some were eager to show their new 2021 licenses. Snowmobilers remained active despite the lack of snow and deteriorating trail conditions. Beaver trappers are enjoying the current conditions as it is making it much easier to access out-of-the-way ponds and waterways.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports snowmobile trails are in very poor shape with large areas of dirt and rock exposed. Another week of above-freezing weather is forecast, so most people figure the snowmobile season is about over. Area lakes were checked, as were forest roads. Fishing success remains poor overall.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) focused the majority of his time checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity. Trails are in rough shape after the warmer weather and are expected to deteriorate even more as higher temperatures and no snow is in the expected forecast. Fishing activity remains constant. Many are actively seeking crappies as the bite is starting to turn on. Zavodnik worked a snowmobile detail over the weekend and assisted with a snowmobile DWI arrest. He also encountered a handful of snowmobile decal and registration violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Fishing success was better than the past couple of weeks. Recent warmer weather has taken its toll on snowmobile trails. Trails have deteriorated significantly and are in poor condition. If the forecasted weather holds, many of the trails will likely be impassable by snowmobile. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, using live minnows on a designated trout lake, and abandoned fish house.