Published March 15, 2010, 02:39 PM

Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Reports

Here are this week's reports filed by conservation officers across Northeastern Minnesota.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) prepared equipment for spring flood response. Anglers and fish houses were checked on Lake Bronson and Lake of the Woods. Reports of illegal deer baiting were investigated. Enforcement action was taken on anglers found in possession of marijuana, angling with extra lines, angling without license, and leaving lines unattended. While reeling in lines that were left unattended on Lake of the Woods, CO Huener noticed a bobber that was down and reeled and released a nice walleye.

CO Larry Milbridge (Warroad) found conditions on Lake of the Woods have deteriorated fast and made travelling very tough. Ice houses were coming off as fast as anglers could access them. Northern pike fishing is in full swing with many tip-up anglers along the south shore. Snowmobiling events were cancelled. Anglers are reminded to clean up litter around exiting houses.

CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) worked access enforcement and monitored fish house removal efforts. Preparations for upcoming ATV safety classes were performed. Misc wildlife complaints were handled. Area snowmobile trails have eroded from the warm weather and rains. Equipment maintenance was performed.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Blackduck) monitored angling activity on panfish lakes in the Blackduck area. A Red Lake Technical meeting was attended in Red Lake. CO Vollbrecht also investigated a wetland violation and issued a CDO.

CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing activity throughout the week. Anglers continued to ice fish on Lake of the Wood despite the deteriorating conditions. Anglers also started fishing in boats on the Rainy River, and are having fair success. CO Gorecki continued to receive and investigate several littering complaints. Violations encountered throughout the week included fishing and littering violations.

Karlstad - vacant.

Warroad #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Stuart Bensen (Erskine) reports most fish houses have been removed from the lakes. Coordination with local officials regarding flood issues is underway. Some flooding is occurring and sandbagging operations have started. A few anglers are out and catching some sunfish. Calls about Firearm Safety Class availability were received.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored fish house removal. Flood water levels are being monitored. Game farm issues were addressed.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) reports a few anglers out. Fish house removal activity was monitored. Nuisance animal calls have started.

CO Mike Hruza (Bemidji) monitored fish house removal activity. Some shelters have been marked and documented. A TIP Call regarding wanton waste was investigated. An interview was done with a local television station about fish house removal and debris clean-up on area lakes.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice conditions are deteriorating on area lakes. Some access points have poor ice, water, and mud. Anglers are reminded to carry personal rescue items (ice picks, flotation) and let someone know where you are going and when you will return. Tip calls about taking bass during the closed season were investigated, as was a wanton waste complaint about a deer still hanging in a tree from last fall. As the ground thaws, there is potential for ATV damage to ditches and driveways, so use good judgment and respect other’s property.

CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) reports over land flooding issues along the Buffalo River and flooding concerns on the Red River. Several residents have left their homes due to flooding. Dike building and sandbagging operations is underway. Area lake ice is starting to deteriorate. ATVs and walking are the common modes of travel for anglers.

CO Joe Stattelman (Detroit Lakes) checked anglers and a few snowmobiles. ATV activity is on the rise, and driving complaints are starting to come in. Two fish houses were left on public accesses and were removed by officers. A TIP call regarding an over limit of fish was investigated. The officer testified in court during a hearing, and preparation was done for pending cases.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended a public input meeting on proposed hunting changes. The officer assisted with answering questions and public relations at the MN Deer Classic. There were many questions about the “Cannon Falls Buck”. Enforcement action was taken for shelters left on the ice after the deadline, no identification on a shelter, and no shelter license.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) checked anglers and ATVers. Anglers are still venturing onto the ice. Caution is urged as the ice conditions deteriorate. A complaint of people keeping walleyes was investigated.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Anglers should use caution venturing onto the ice. Enforcement efforts were focused on angling and litter issues. Shelter owners are reminded to pick up their blocks from the ice.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked anglers and coyote hunters. A dead Trumpeter Swan was recovered. It appears to have hit a power line. Equipment maintenance and transition to boating equipment was done.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) assisted sheriff’s deputies with service of an arrest warrant. A fish house left on the ice was removed, and enforcement action taken for burning prohibited materials. Boats and equipment were readied for the water season and possible flood issues.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) recovered a dead Bald Eagle. The cause of death is unknown at this time. Anglers and ATVers were checked. Boats and equipment were readied for the season.

CO Mike Shelden (Alexandria) spoke to several Firearm Safety Classes about laws, ethics and safety. Anglers were checked. Most are walking or using ATVs to venture onto the ice. Boats were readied for the open water season and possible flood assistance.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) monitored angling on area lakes. Lake accesses are becoming soft and muddy. A TIP call resulted in the arrest of a person with an over limit of fish. ATV use is picking up, and the investigation of a trapping complaint continues. Planning and preparation for Firearm Safety Classes was done.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Wheaton) reports anglers are having some success, but ice conditions are deteriorating and access getting tougher. Use caution when venturing onto the ice. Angling and ATV activity was monitored. Equipment preparation for floods was completed.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on angling activity. Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly in the area. The officer assisted with the removal of a fish house from Lake Reno. Complaints of ATV’s operating on the roads, and illegal burning were investigated. People are reminded to get a burning permit. A call about a sick deer, and questions about wildlife feeding were received. Boats were readied for the open water season.

District 4 - Wadena area

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on ice fishing activity during the week and checked fish houses. Boating equipment was prepared for upcoming flood activities. CO Sommers assisted the sheriff’s department with two ATV’s that broke through the ice on a lake in the Longville area.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked perch anglers. Recent rain and warm temperatures have made the surface of the ice very sloppy. Officer Mathy also assisted a Manitoba Game Warden with a timber theft investigation and took enforcement action for burning prohibited materials in a separate incident.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling activity. Angling success varied through the week. Warm weather has melted the snow and ice is deteriorating fast. Two machines went through the ice on Sunday within several feet of each other. CO Broughten assisted an individual with removing his three-wheeler from the water and Cass County deputies removed the four-wheeler. Anglers are advised to check ice depths before attempting to drive on the ice. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, operating ATV on roadway, and youth passenger on ATV without a helmet.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) checked area anglers, finding the pan fishing very good on area lakes. A house cooking stove that had been dumped was removed from the Crow Wing River.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) worked on late season panfish anglers. Ice conditions were generally good on the lakes with the access points getting difficult. A TIP call was received for an over-limit of panfish. Anglers are reminded that daily and possession limits are the same. CO Oldakowski also instructed at a training shoot and also dispatched a vehicle hit deer and gave it away.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Dan Starr (Tower) monitored fish house removal and worked on Lake Vermilion for recreation vehicle enforcement related to water skipping. He reports several violations including registration issues, speed, careless operation, and allow juvenile to operate illegally related to snowmobiles, ATVs, and OHMs.

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) monitored ice house removal from Rainy Lake as the ice conditions have quickly been deteriorating near shore with the moderate temperatures. The moderate temperatures have also caused the Rainy River to open up a lot earlier than normal which brings the boats and fishermen north. Enforcement action for the week consisted of insufficient number of PFDs, no angling license in possession, failure to transfer ownership of ATV, and over limit of walleye.

CO Lloyd Steen (Ray/Kabetogama) patrolled area lakes checking anglers after panfish and border walleyes. Violations for no angling license in possession and wanton waste of perch were dealt with. He also handled car-killed deer and accidentally taken otter incidents.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the snow in the area is all but gone. The rivers are flowing. Officer Schultz assisted the Cook Timberwolves Snowmobile Club remove the trail marking stakes from Lake Vermilion. A snowmobile was reported through the ice on Lake Vermilion. The operator was able to get out. A lost snowmobiler was assisted on Lake Vermilion. A deer was reported to have broken through the ice of Lake Vermilion and was stuck in the ice. Officer Schultz got within about 3 feet of the deer with a snare pole when the deer got up and ran away.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent time working anglers and fish house removal checks. Warm weather has disposed of snow and seems to have scared people off lake ice as few anglers were observed. Litter was located on some removed fish house sites and contacts to those responsible will be made. Enforcement action was taken on an ATV violation.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reports except for old snow banks the snow is gone and lake ice is turning black and starting to pull away from shore. A few people seeking panfish had some luck. With the snowmobiles put away the ATVs have been out heavy with illegal youth operation on roadways, no ATV certification, expired ATV registration, and failing to transfer registration. Two parents were discovered traveling back trails carrying their 8- month-old child in their arms with no helmet.

I. Falls # 2 - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers in the BWCA this past week. CO Velsvaag received several wolf complaints and took calls on litter on a couple of area lakes.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked in the BWCAW checking trout fishermen. The crappie fishermen are doing well. Don’t take foolish chances with the deteriorating black ice that is forming now. Be careful.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked angling activity on area trout lakes. People were enjoying the warm weather with little success for trout. The officer gave a presentation at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center to a group of naturalist, about some of the complex issues the North Shore area is facing. No sleds were out as the warm weather has annihilated the snowmobile trails. The officer investigated a litter case and completed equipment maintenance on his ATV.

CO Dan Thomasen (Two Harbors) worked on equipment related items as the seasons seem to be changing quickly on the North Shore. Rain fell for much of the past week shrinking the snow and blowing the ice out of the rivers. Shore anglers were checked along Lake Superior where numerous kamloops and cohos were taken.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) attended a moose committee meeting with state and tribal biologists in Duluth. He did a wilderness patrol in the Boundary Waters. The designated lakes are picking up a little, but with the lack of snow, are hard to get too.

Babbitt - vacant.

Silver Bay - vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Jeff Koehn (Grand Rapids – OHV Specialist) patrolled for OHV activity. He spent time completing end of winter equipment maintenance. CO Koehn helped remove a rogue muskrat from the Grand Rapids High School. While on patrol he located a suspect operating an ATV illegally in the roadway, the operator had a driver’s license cancelled IPS. CO Koehn had caught the same driver doing the same thing within 100 yards of the same location one year earlier; the same charges were applied, again. CO Koehn gave a DNR Enforcement report to the Itasca County Trails Taskforce. He also gave a DNR ATV law presentation to US Forest Service personnel in the Chippewa National Forest.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV activity in the area with heightened use as nice weather brought riders out last week. CO Sutherland also worked littering cases in the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license an operating an ATV in the road-right away.

CO Jon Paurus (Hill City) patrolled for fishing and ATV activity. State forest roads and trails are now under spring closures. A lot of litter was left on the ice of area lakes after shelters were removed resulting in complaints.

CO Randy Patten (Northome) spent the week working on equipment problems, meeting with forestry on upcoming issues, taking a complaint of a possible timber trespass, and most time was spent checking anglers who are taking advantage of the nice weather and an increase in fish activity. Enforcement action taken for angling without license in possession.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen and fish houses during the week. He also handled several fishing complaints.

Bigfork - vacant.

District 8 - Cloquet area

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) worked a couple of big game violations over the week. In one case a person was shooting and wounding deer with a pellet gun that were damaging his shrubs. The second case involved a person that was reportedly shooting deer out of season for food possible due to financial difficulties. Some illegal ATV activity has been reported in area wetlands and snowmobile trails.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with checking anglers on Lake Winnibigoshish over the weekend. Perch fishing success was fair. Compliance with the law was good. Some equipment was worked on in preparation for spring activities. Some furs were sorted and turned over to the MN Trappers Association for their tanned fur project. Furs donated to this project benefit education on trapping and other outdoor related activities. A report of a deer being shot and taken from a field east of Moose Lake on Sunday morning is under investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call TIP at 1-800-652-9093. Information given that leads to an arrest will qualify for a reward.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the week working shore fishing enforcement along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Snowmobile trails are poor and the ice on inland lakes is melting fast. Several calls were returned. Office work and computer maintenance was completed over the week.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cloquet) reports working OHV and angling enforcement throughout the week. The panfish bite was fair to good on some local area lakes. Ice conditions in the area continue to deteriorate. He completed seasonal and regular equipment maintenance. He also assisted with a work detail in the Ely area, and patrolled area State Park and State Forest.

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent the week working with anglers to remove fish houses from area lakes. A report of a fish house through the ice was investigated. The fish house was actually burned on the ice and the debris, charred wood, bottles, cans, glass and insulation was left on the ice. Area anglers are still reporting a slow bite. A report of a party shooting deer with a pellet rifle was investigated and enforcement action taken. ATV complaints are already beginning with the melt off on snowmobile trails. A truck stuck on the Munger Trail was removed with the aid of a tow truck and citations were issued.

Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked shore anglers on Lake Superior and watched the rivers begin their spring break-up. Kamloops rainbows are occasionally cooperating with anglers and a few salmon are playing along as well. Work plans regarding spring fishing activity and VHS issues were discussed. Warm weather brought an end to the snowmobiling season, and equipment maintenance was performed.

CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) time spent on equipment items. Snowmobiles to storage and boats prepped for the upcoming season. North Shore anglers were checked. Some kamloops are being caught. The mild spring weather has many out and about along the North Shore.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) attended training in Grand Rapids and picked up some supplies. He checked shore anglers all week. Many were out with some mixed success. A few boats were also seen on Lake Superior.