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Fishing, boating and ATV activity highlight conservation officer workloads

Two individuals who were stranded after attempting to jog from the Fourtown area to Waskish, Minn., through Beltrami Island State Forest on a multi-day journey that started in Ponemah, Minn., were found and brought safely back to the highway.

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Contributed / Minnesota DNR

Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, June 21:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored ATV activity west of Warroad where multiple complaints have been received for ATVs operating in a careless manner. Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods. Fishing reports for walleyes have been slow with the cooler weather, but some people are still finding quality fish. Enforcement contacts included anglers found using too many lines and possessing illegal-length walleyes.

CO Aaron Larson (Baudette West) worked primarily fishing and AIS (aquatic invasive species) enforcement. Larson spent time working around Upper Red Lake and Lake Vermilion. Violations found were angling with an extra line, no throwable flotation device, failure to remove the boat plug and no angling license in possession.


CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) patrolled Lake of the Woods and the Northwest Angle. Fishing seemed to be good across the lake when weather was consistent. High winds on Thursday and Friday kept many anglers off the water. Enforcement action was taken for violations such as possession of illegal-length walleyes, fishing with extra lines, failure to renew watercraft registration and targeting muskies out of season.


CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) reports working mainly boat and water, AIS and ATV enforcement. Anglers had some success on Lake Bronson with decent-sized walleyes, largemouth bass and northern pike. Several boats on Lake Bronson didn’t have the required personal flotation devices as required, and enforcement action was taken.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) checked area anglers and boaters over the past week. One nonresident fisherman was stopped just short of shooting a snapping turtle with a pellet gun that had been “stealing” his bait and hooks while angling. Other enforcement action for the week included no life jacket on a watercraft with a passenger under 10, no or insufficient number of PFDs, angling without a valid license and watercraft-registration violations.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) continued to monitor angling and boating activity. He was called to locate two individuals who were stranded after attempting to jog from the Fourtown area to Waskish, Minn., through Beltrami Island State Forest on a multi-day journey that started in Ponemah, Minn., the day before. They were dehydrated and cramping when they decided to call for help. After a two-hour ATV journey through boggy terrain, Elwell found the individuals and brought them safely back to the highway. Enforcement action was taken for angling license and ATV-related violations this week.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV, AIS, boating and angling activity on area lakes this past week. Time was spent handling calls of nuisance bears, patrolling area recreational vehicle trails and assisting the Blackduck Timber Riders ATV Club put on a youth ATV safety Class and field day where 24 students successfully completed the training for their safety certification. Regas also assisted CO Gray with creel survey flights for the Cass Lake creel survey. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included being over the daily limit of bluegills on special regulation waters, as well as boat lighting and angling license violations.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports receiving public water-related complaints this week. AIS enforcement was worked at area public water access sites. Anglers and watercraft operators were checked. Various angling and boating violations were encountered.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) addressed several nuisance-animal complaints, most due to hungry bears.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling and boating activity on area lakes. He worked an AIS detail in the Waskish area and worked boating safety shifts on Upper Red Lake. Area ATV trails were patrolled.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes and public water accesses for boating safety and AIS violations. Vinton participated in Perham’s Turtle Fest parade and answered questions from folks at the Perham Volunteer Fire Department pancake breakfast. Calls regarding where a person’s lake property ends and the lake begins were fielded. Enforcement action was taken for riding a personal watercraft without a life jacket, failure to display proper registration on watercraft and angling without a license in possession.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling area lakes checking anglers and boaters. Swedberg arrested one boater for boating while intoxicated. The boater was operating a boat with too many passengers and passengers riding on the gunwales. Finding a sober ride is not limited to just motor vehicles and it is important to follow all boating safety laws. Swedberg also assisted the county with an ATV crash, a search warrant and several other calls for service.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, AIS and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent delivering a law and ethics presentation to a firearms safety class in Hawley.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. A complaint of a boat operating inside no-wake buoys was received. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring ATV, angling, and boat and water safety. Anglers are finding most species of fish willing to bite, though low-activity hours seem to provide the best bite. New boat and PWC owners were contacted and Landmark would like to remind everyone it’s their responsibility to make sure the watercraft is registered and they are following the rules and regulations. Enforcement action was taken for no ATV safety training, operating an ATV without lights, operating a PWC within 150 feet of swimmers, failure to display watercraft registration, and angling without a license in possession.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports walleye activity has increased on multiple lakes in the area. Time was spent working recreational fishing, watercraft safety and shoreline-type violations.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) focused enforcement activities on boating, AIS, fishing and ATV operation this week. Several nuisance-animal calls were handled. She also took a call from a concerned citizen regarding a raptor building a nest on a power pole. Complaints of floating bogs and movement of such bogs were handled.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week focused on angling and recreational vehicle enforcement. She took calls with questions from the public and issued minnow permits. Violations encountered include no angling license in possession, operating a PWC without a life jacket and fail to display registration.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) focused on angling and boating safety during the previous week. Time was also spent investigating a wildfire and following up on miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Holt worked boating safety and monitored AIS compliance on Upper Red Lake over the weekend. Enforcement action involved AIS, angling licenses and boating safety violations.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent some time on the water this week. Busy lakes resulted in high traffic at boat accesses and launches. Several anglers were cited for no fishing license and another for using too many lines. Several PWCs were stopped for operating too late in the evening, and a few after-dark anglers were reminded to turn on their anchor lights, even though they might attract a few bugs. A report was taken of a lakeshore property owner cutting and clearing out live hard-stem bulrush in front of their shoreline. After investigating, Lawler determined it was a lake service provider that was hired who did the removal, not fully understanding what they’d done. A citation was issued.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports focusing enforcement efforts on angling, watercraft and ATV enforcement. He also reports spending time investigating a wolf-depredation complaint and handling several miscellaneous/nuisance wild animal-related calls from the public.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued checking angling activity. She also followed up on ongoing cases, and responded to a call of an injured fawn.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked area lakes, along with Lake Winnibigoshish and Upper Red Lake. Angling success varied throughout the area. Cross also responded to an injured bear cub, multiple animal-related complaints and investigated a TIP call received. Enforcement action consisted of angling and boating violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and ATV riders throughout the week. Kunst also handled a complaint related to wetlands. Enforcement action was taken for angling without an angling license and expired ATV registration.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked boaters, ATV activity and anglers. Mathy looked into a wolf-depredation call, a deceased raptor that was found, nuisance-bear reports and a camping party blocking a remote access to a lake. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and boating violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled area lakes for angling and boating activity. He also assisted other law enforcement agencies with calls for service. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and boating violations.

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