Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Tuesday, Feb. 16:
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working snowmobiling and angling activity throughout this past week. Anglers reported a slow bite despite their efforts in the bitter cold. Time was spent patrolling area trails and handling trespassing complaints. Enforcement action included possession of dressed fillets on the ice, allowing illegal snowmobile operation by juveniles and snowmobiles trespassing on agricultural lands.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports steadily diminished angling activity on Upper Red Lake. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, no angling license in possession, and possession of fillets on a special regulation lake.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) primarily worked angling and OHV (off-highway vehicle) enforcement this past week. Activity both on the lake and snowmobile trails was significantly reduced this past week due to the unrelenting cold snap that most of the state is experiencing. Anglers checked continue to report a slow bite, though most are still catching a meal of walleye/sauger on a daily basis. With the assistance of volunteers and local conservation officers, three separate snowmobile safety courses were conducted, resulting in a total of 33 students receiving their snowmobile safety certification. COVID-19 guidelines limited the size of individual classes, prompting the need for multiple classes to accommodate the interest expressed by parents wishing to enroll their children. A snowmobile-on-fire call was handled, and complaints of ATVs on the grant-in-aid snowmobile trail on the lake were fielded.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad South) primarily worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and assisted with local snowmobile safety courses held throughout the week in Warroad. Violations encountered included fishing with extra lines, possession of an illegal-length northern pike, no permanent shelter license and no angling licenses in possession.
CO Corey Sura ( Baudette East) reports yet another week of frigid temps along the state’s northern border. Despite wind chills as low as -50 this past weekend, fishing pressure remained steady on Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake. Aside from checking anglers, Sura also patrolled Koochiching County snowmobile trails with CO Simonson, participated in a training seminar with the U.S. Border Patrol, and assisted Lake of the Woods County deputies and EMS personnel with a carbon monoxide-related medical call. Please ensure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your fish house before heading out on the lake. Sura also helped COs Benjamin and Johnson with two snowmobile safety classes held in Warroad. He wants to thank our volunteer safety educators throughout the state for their devotion, time, and efforts.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette West) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. Larson checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. Anglers seemed to be having a difficult time finding fish. Violations were found relating to fishing licenses, extra lines, and shelter licenses/ shelter identification.
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked ice anglers on Lake of the Woods. Anglers are braving the chilly weather, but fishing has remained slow. Assistance was given to local law enforcement. Violations for the past week included no shelter license, possessing unmeasurable walleyes/saugers on the ice, and no rental license on a rental fishing shelter.
CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) continued to monitor fishing and snowmobile activity in the surrounding area. Due to the colder weather, he saw the outdoor activities to be very minimal. Brown conducted follow up on a trespassing case.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending a meeting with the University of Minnesota Crookston Natural Resources Department. Time was also spent checking ATV and snowmobile operators. Anglers were contacted on area lakes and rivers. Small-game hunting activity was also monitored.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. The bite and angling activity have decreased with the recent cold weather. Area snowmobile trails were patrolled.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) checked anglers and snowmobile riders in the area. Outdoor activity was sparse due to the cold weather. Training was also completed with K9 partner Storm.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports brutally cold weather limited outdoor activities this past week. Many anglers have taken advantage of improved ice conditions and little snow to begin moving fish houses from area lakes. That removal date is just a few weeks away in the Perham area and falls on March 1 this year. Calls were taken from people inquiring about adult firearms safety classes and information about possible overlimit angling.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week patrolling for ice fishing activity and working on some cases from the deer season. With cold conditions, not many anglers were seen, and most anglers were struggling to find fish and get them to bite. Some anglers were having luck with panfish, but most said they simply were not biting. Swedberg also assisted the county with a search for a stolen vehicle.
- Read other fishing stories in Northland Outdoors
- Read other hunting stories in Northland Outdoors
- Read other recreation stories in Northland Outdoors
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ongoing cases and attended several online training courses.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity on area lakes. Snowmobile trails and lake activity were worked, but very cold weather resulted in few people out and about. Follow-up on complaints of dogs chasing deer and information for an out-of-state game warden were conducted.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week checking anglers in the Pelican Rapids station. The brutally cold weather did have an effect on the number of anglers. Those who braved the cold reported a poor bite for all species. Additional time was spent following up with deer-license and trapping violations. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register fisher, angling without a license in possession, extra/unattended lines, and drug and drug paraphernalia possession.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports fishing activity was slow during the arctic weather over the past week. Anglers and shelters were still checked, with modest catches observed. Time was also spent on follow-up from the deer seasons.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to check ice fishing and snowmobile activity. Extreme cold kept the activity very low this past week. Plautz spent time on training and issued car-killed deer permits. A snowmobile safety class had to be rescheduled. Plautz spent much time contacting all students to notify them of the change due to cold weather.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers and fish houses, as well as ATV and snowmobile riders. Station equipment maintenance was performed. Phone calls about two wild elk south of Brandon were handled.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a slower week on lakes and trails due to frigid weather and strong, cold winds. A few anglers were out braving the cold, and a few were even cited for using extra lines and possessing drugs and paraphernalia. Injured-animal calls were handled, as were trespassing issues. Snowmobile trails are in very poor condition without any measurable snowfalls in the past few weeks.
CO Hannah Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week focused on angling and recreational vehicle enforcement. She took a phone call regarding an injured hawk that she brought to the vet. It has since made its way to the Raptor Center in the Twin Cities. Wood assisted Traverse County in attempting to locate a vehicle involved in a pursuit. Violations for the past week include unattended lines, no shelter tag, fail to display identification on a fish house and operating an ATV on a state highway.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) monitored angling and recreational vehicle activity during the previous week. Time was also spent handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints and checking fish house compliance. Holt worked on Upper Red Lake over the weekend with a neighboring officer. Enforcement activity involved fish house violations, angling licenses, extra lines, illegal-length fish and possession of unmeasurable fish on the ice of Upper Red Lake.
CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports working fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement. Fishing has been slow due to the cold weather. Enforcement action for the past week included fishing without a fishing license in personal possession.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week were focused on checking angles and ATV and snowmobile operators. Baumbarger participated in a work crew on Upper Red Lake over the weekend with CO Holt. Additional time was spent inspecting permitted aeration sites and speaking with students in the MinnAqua Program at the Minnewaska Area High School.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to check many anglers. Fishing was pretty slow this past week. Many anglers resorted to playing cards, watching TV, or even in one case playing a full-size arcade game inside their fish house. A bear-hunting case was completed and sent to the county attorney’s office for review. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. She reminds people to be prepared for the weather conditions while out on the lakes and trails.
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked ice fishing and snowmobiling, and followed up on illegal deer-feeding activity. Enforcement action was taken for illegal deer feeding in Hubbard County, illegal-length fish, no angling license in possession, fishing without a license and no shelter license.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) primarily worked angling enforcement this past week. Kunst took enforcement action on various violations, including taking illegal-length walleyes, unattended lines, failure to have shelter identification/license and angling without an angling license in personal possession. Kunst also took phone calls in regards to an injured eagle in her station.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time in state forests and on the lakes over the past week. A bear-season violation was discovered and investigated. Fishing activity has slowed, with few people and even fewer fish seen on the ice. Ice conditions have improved, but the shelter removal date is fast approaching. Enforcement action for the week included abandoning property in a state forest, no bait drum permit, failure to remove a bait drum after the season and shelter identification/license violations.
Walker – vacant.