Fish house removal deadline a key focus of DNR officer workloads in northern Minnesota
With temperatures causing warming and freezing, anglers need to plan accordingly to meet the fish house removal deadline in the northern one-third of the state (11:59 p.m. on March 20).
Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, March 20.
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) responded to information received concerning some animals found dead in the forest, under what the reporting party believes to be suspicious circumstances. Enforcement action this week was taken for the violation of feeding deer during the deer feeding ban.
CO Tony Hams (Warroad North) spent the week attending airboat operator training. A big thanks to the Wisconsin DNR for hosting the training.
CO Coby Fontes (Baudette East) spent the week in Wisconsin for an airboat operations course. Fontes, along with COs Hams and Christenson, received 40 hours of training in a wide range of operations scenarios.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) attending training, patrolled area snowmobile trails and monitored area ice shelter removal. Enforcement action for the week included snowmobile-registration violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers and monitoring area snowmobile trail activity this past week. Time was spent monitoring ice shelter removal progress as the removal deadline approaches and preparing for upcoming classes for ATV safety and firearms safety.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports great snowmobile trail conditions. Time was spent working snowmobile enforcement and angling activity.
Warroad South – vacant.
Baudette West – vacant.
Thief River Falls East – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports inspecting several aeration systems this week. Time was further spent checking into bear hunting-related violations from previous hunting seasons. Anglers were also checked on area lakes.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and marked fish houses that remain on the lakes. Anglers are reminded to pick up their garbage when pulling houses off the lake. Time was spent patrolling snowmobile and cross-country ski trails. A detail was worked on Lake of the Woods.
CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for snowmobile and ice angling activity, and on work related to the ice shelter removal deadline in the northern part of the state (11:59 p.m. on March 20). Enforcement action was taken for issues concerning snowmobile registration.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports area lake conditions have made travel difficult since the fish house removal date. Anglers who had been plowing roads have stopped and back-to-back snow events have made travel difficult. Vinton dealt with fish houses left at public accesses and continues to deal with abandoned shelters on an area lake. Vinton assisted the Minnesota State Patrol with vehicles off the road during poor weather and the local sheriff’s office with an ongoing case on which they had information. Enforcement action was taken for shelters left at a public water access and shelters left after the removal deadline.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders around the Detroit Lakes area. Ice conditions continue to deteriorate in the area, and most anglers were fighting deep snow and slush on lakes to find fish. Some anglers were able to find fish, but most were struggling as most areas are only accessible by long walks or tracked vehicles. Snowmobile trails are in good condition and riders continue to enjoy the longer season. Swedberg also spent time working on cases from the previous year’s deer season.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on snowmobile activity. Area trails are hard-packed and rough, with lakes having top-water issues. Angling activity was worked and fish house removal was monitored. With temperatures causing warming and freezing, anglers need to plan accordingly to meet the fish house removal deadline in the northern one-third of the state (11:59 p.m. on March 20). Calls regarding sick deer were received.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week conducting aeration inspections, following up on wetland cases and checking angling and snowmobile activity. Last week’s snowstorms and wind have shut down access to lakes unless you have a tracked ATV or snowmobile. Very few anglers were contacted this week, and those who were contacted reported a slow bite. Last week’s snow did make for some excellent snowmobiling opportunities for the next couple of weeks. Enforcement action was taken for operation of an unpermitted shoreline aeration system and failure to comply with a wetland restoration order.
Bagley – vacant.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) spoke at a local community club and participated in a fishing-focused event hosted by a local business. Recent fishing regulation changes were the most frequent point of discussion, with the majority of folks voicing support for the reduced sunfish limits on area lakes. Additional time was spend monitoring coyote hunting and completing training requirements.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked with wildlife officials on nuisance-animal complaints, checked a few ice anglers and spoke to snowmobilers through the week. Snow and slush on area lakes have made it difficult to maneuver. Plautz worked with firearms safety instructors on upcoming and ongoing classes, working to schedule times for her to visit their classes. A possession tag was issued for a car-killed turkey, and mandatory training was completed.
CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activity in the area. Additional time was also spent completing required annual training and equipment maintenance.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers and snowmobile and ATV riders. Commercial inspections were started on area licenses. Calls were received about injured animals.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked area trails and lakes this week. Cold weather and high winds day after day kept activity levels low, with only a few panfish anglers having success. Maintenance was also performed on station equipment and a firearms safety class was planned.
CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) continued efforts to confirm no shelters were left out on lakes and no garbage was left behind. She was pleasantly surprised with the overall compliance regarding fish house and litter removal. Znajda continued to see snowmobile activity and attended a public speaking event in Alexandria on fishing regulations and boating safety.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) reports working angling and recreational vehicle enforcement this week. Assistance was given to other state and local agencies, and minnow permits were issued.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent preparing equipment for possible spring flood duty and following up on deer-depredation complaints.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) assisted with a snowmobile safety class and also received a report of two snowmobiles that went through the ice. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a deer.
CO Corey Sura (Remer) helped 14 new students from the Remer area pass and obtain their snowmobile safety certificates this week. Area trails were patrolled and remain in overall good condition. Violations encountered included snowmobiles with unlawful muffler/exhaust, expired ATV and snowmobile registration and fishing without a valid license.
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) reports working snowmobile patrol and late-season ice angling, and completing training. Activity was slow throughout the week. Calls for service were taken. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, snowmobile and feeding ban violations.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes and snowmobile trails for activity. Lake conditions are poor, with heavy snow and slush in spots, which has reduced the amount of angling pressure. Snowmobile trails remain in excellent shape. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training in St. Paul.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to check anglers and snowmobile trails as winter conditions continue. Snowmobile trails are in good shape, but slush is starting to show up on many lakes, making things difficult for lake travel. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
ATV rec officer – vacant.