DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports
District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports snowmobile trail conditions continued to get worse after another week of moderate use and no additional snowfall. Trout-fishing activity inside the BWCA continued to be high and success was overall good on several lakes checked. Violations included no fishing license in possession, failure to display current snowmobile registration and possession of motorized equipment inside the BWCA.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and a few snowmobile riders this past week. Fishing has been slow, with slush on most area lakes. Velsvaag also followed up on litter complaints and snowmobile complaints.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the past week checking trout anglers in the BWCA. Anglers who ventured through the slush were rewarded with some nice lake trout in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area trails by snowmobile. Trails are in rough condition due to lack of snow and heavy use. Manning also worked a BWCA detail with CO Wahlstrom and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Belmore checking anglers and campers on backcountry lakes. She also took a report of a dog killing a grouse.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and recreational vehicle enforcement throughout the past week. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, unmarked fish houses and houses without shelter tags when required, unattended lines, snowmobile speed, failure to transfer ownership, expired ATV registrations, and operating without required safety training. Angling pressure continues to be high, and snowmobile trails need more snow in order for conditions to be good in most locations.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity this past week. He also finished some trapping violations and snowmobile complaints.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) took to his skis and patrolled many backcountry lakes throughout the station. Although walleyes were not cooperative, anglers settled for some nice perch. Hill also spoke to people angling and spearing for pike. Some nice fish were seen on the ice, including a few approaching the 30-inch mark. Caution is still needed on the ice as Hill located multiple springs in the middle of lakes with otherwise very solid ice. If attention is not paid to your surroundings or if you are traveling in the dark, these holes could prove hazardous. Snowmobile activity is ramping up as January continues on, but snow is needed to give the trail some insurance. People behaved this past week as no violations were seen.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the past week. Many anglers were encountered over the weekend enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and even catching a few fish. Slush continues on most area lakes making access more difficult. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations, and a deer-in-a-closed-season case is being investigated.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports snowmobiling and ice fishing have been the main focus of enforcement activities throughout the past week. Late fur registration issues were also handled, along with animal-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession and failure to register pine martens and fisher.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week taking care of routine vehicle maintenance of state equipment. Simonson reports spending time on Rainy Lake checking ice anglers and snowmobile activity. Anglers reported the bite being slow. Enforcement action taken this past week was for failing to register marten/fisher furs by the required deadline and snowmobile registration.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that although overall snowmobile activity is down for this time of year, angling activity is up. No stellar reports were heard from anglers but some fish were being caught. Most were reporting they could see fish on their electronics but could not get them to commit. A snowmobile trespass complaint was received and addressed. Multiple noise complaints of snowmobiles were heard, which can be attributed to illegal exhaust equipment and driving behavior. Both shed bad light on a safe and enjoyable sport as well as the possibility of trail closures or landowners not allowing their property to be used for trail connections.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports angling activity on area lakes continues to increase. Snowmobile activity remains minimal due to lack of snow. Trails continue to deteriorate due to above-average temperatures and lack of snow. Trails continue to show exposed dirt, grass, and rocks with another week of above-average temperatures forecast. Public access sites were checked and area forest roads were monitored.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) completed a lengthy case involving a radio-collared wolf being shot during the 2019 deer-hunting season. Zavodnik also worked angling and snowmobile enforcement over the past week. Enforcement action was taken for excessive speed on a snowmobile. A number of angling violations were observed, including angling without a license and unattended lines.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked anglers, dark house spearing, snowmobile riders and state park enforcement. Deer-license violation follow up was done for a few new cases from the 2020 deer season. Enforcement action was taken for angling and spearing license violations, snowmobile registration and speed.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) worked on checking anglers on Virginia-area lakes. Slush continues to be a major factor in accessing lakes and most fish just aren’t cooperating. Area snowmobile trails are in extremely poor shape and are barely covered in snow.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and snowmobile activity. Anglers reported poor success. Warmer weather and lack of snow has left slush on area lakes and snowmobile trails in rough shape.