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Angling, aquatic invasive species and off-highway motorcycle enforcement highlight DNR officer workloads

An Upper Red Lake shift was worked, where enforcement action was taken for several instances of over-possession limits and overlimits of walleyes over 17 inches.

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Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, May 22.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) assisted with both Warroad first grade and Baudette fourth grade field days at Norris Camp. Non-permitted fires are being investigated.

CO Tony Hams (Warroad North) spent the week checking area anglers, assisting with Warroad and Baudette school field trips to Norris Camp, and spoke at an area ATV class.

CO Coby Fontes (Warroad South) spent most of the week working angling activity. Fontes also assisted with an educational program for a group of elementary students at Norris Camp.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of the youth firearms safety class in Halma, responded to numerous nuisance bear and beaver complaints, and patrolled the area for angling activity. Enforcement action for the week included angling without a valid license, unregistered off-highway motorcycle, operating an OHM on a public roadway, no lights on an ATV and failure to display current ATV registration.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working angling and boating activity throughout this past week on area lakes. Regas noted reports from anglers the bite continues to be unseasonably slow on many lakes, with best reports for catching walleyes coming from Upper Red Lake and Winnibigoshish. Time was spent investigating a wolf depredation complaint, patrolling area recreational trails and handling calls of nuisance animals. Regas worked an Upper Red Lake detail and a district AIS (aquatic invasive species) detail, with many contacts made. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included ATV registration and trail pass violations, failure to stop OHMs at road crossings, boating equipment, angling license and trout stamp violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports continued angler success on Upper Red Lake. Time was spent working angling and AIS enforcement. Prachar responded to a medical with Beltrami County and the State Patrol where CPR was in progress. Prachar assisted with patient care and securing the landing zone for the helicopter.

Baudette East – vacant.

Baudette West – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at the Crookston firearms safety class this past week. Time was also spent checking anglers and watercraft operators. Fire- and deer hunting-related cases were followed up on.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Time was spent working a detail on Upper Red Lake and assisting the DNR Forestry Division.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting with the Menahga School’s fourth-grade classes’ “Hooked on Fishing not Drugs” kids fishing day. COs Jordan Anderson, Al Peterson and RTO Greg Oldakowski assisted many local volunteers making for a successful day. Area lakes and public accesses were checked for AIS and angling compliance. Enforcement action was taken for parking issues at area public water accesses, failure to display watercraft registration and no angling license in possession. An area beekeeper was forced to protect their bees and take a bear that was causing damage to a bee yard. The bear was given to a local individual so it would not go to waste.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking anglers and attending training. He attended training in the metro to become a DMT operator to be able to process DUI/BUI cases more smoothly. Swedberg also assisted with an area AIS detail in the Baudette area. Compliance was very good, with only a few violations needing to be addressed.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the weekend working sport fishing, boating enforcement and safety and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent conducting deer farm inspections.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent the week assisting Academy staff at Camp Ripley, worked an AIS detail near Baudette and worked with White Earth Tribal officers on a possible trespass.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week attending BCA training in St. Paul.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week working ATV, boating and sport fishing enforcement. Fox also spent time working an AIS check station near Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and boat registration issues, no angling license in possession and failure to remove a watercraft drain plug.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) followed up on a trespass case. He also worked fishing enforcement, a wildlife-related call and ongoing cases.


Bagley – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) saw an uptick in activity on area lakes over the weekend compared to fishing opener. Reminders to fully prepare watercraft for the open water season were frequen,t with expired watercraft registration and insufficient personal flotation devices detected. A few parking issues were handled at area lake accesses that were overcrowded. Goodman asks that you be mindful of how you park so others are not blocked in and have enough room to maneuver a trailer.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spoke to an area fifth grade class on boating and ATV safety, as well as the job duties of a conservation officer. Plautz followed up on a trapping complaint and checked anglers throughout the week. AIS and boating enforcement were worked as well.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) spent most of his time on angling and boating enforcement. He also spent time on an investigation regarding netting rough fish. Violations encountered this week included northern pike within the slot limit, no license in personal possession and unregistered watercraft. Fishing success for anglers has been increasing on area lakes.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters and ATV riders. A cold front during the week slowed down fishing activity but the weekend bite picked up. A call about a fence crossing a public waterway was received and investigated. The farmer was contacted, and the fence will be removed.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports heavy fishing and boating pressure this week as outstanding weather arrived. Walleye, panfish and northern pike anglers were all having success on lakes throughout Douglas County. A few anglers were found to have bass in their livewells. They were unaware of the catch-and-release season. One pair of anglers Lawler checked had numerous violations: Neither had fishing licenses, they possessed several largemouth bass and they were fishing from a boat with expired registration. People should leave young wildlife alone, as they are most likely not orphaned.

CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) located dumped turkeys on a wildlife management area and continued to find and receive reports of dumped fish. She reports lots of anglers out in the Osakis station with many sunfish, crappies and pike in the buckets. Walleye fishing remains slow. Angling violations included but were not limited to several pike within the slot and taking bass out of season. Znajda met with all the new conservation officer candidates this past week. She assisted in teaching the firearms safety class and the field day in Osakis, where she teamed up with retired CO Mike Thesing and other instructors. She also attended the annual Lake Osakis Association meeting, where she answered many questions.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters, and monitoring AIS law compliance. Additional time was spent on litter complaints, trespass complaints and checking ATV operators.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time focusing on fishing and ATV enforcement in the Wadena and Park Rapids stations. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of ATV, boating and burning violations. Pay attention to air quality alerts as they now often trigger a stop to burning permit activations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked busy area lakes throughout the week. Fishing success varied, with some walleyes and crappies being caught. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating violations and an overlimit of walleyes.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to primarily check anglers. Success was spotty and it was location-dependent. Mathy took a complaint of minnow theft out of a commercial minnow trap and received a nuisance beaver complaint. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) worked ATV and angling enforcement throughout his patrol station and attended a local “Big Wheels” event for students at Northland Community School. An Upper Red Lake shift was worked, where enforcement action was taken for several instances of over-possession limits and overlimits of walleyes over 17 inches. One individual was observed flicking a cigarette butt into the lake and received a citation for littering. ATV-related enforcement action was taken for individuals operating Class II ATVs on a state highway. Additional violations handled throughout the week included fishing without a license and possession of illegal-length northern pike.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and ATV activity. She also investigated an overlimit TIP.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports seeing anglers having luck with panfish on local lakes and rivers. He also reports attending training, investigating TIP calls and doing a K9 demonstration for a school group. Enforcement action consisted of no angling license in possession, operating an unlicensed watercraft, no personal flotation device and PWC (personal watercraft) violations.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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