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Slush hampering access on some western Minnesota lakes, DNR officers say

Numerous complaints were fielded about people with “RV”-style wheelhouses (on Upper Red Lake) who dump their sewage on the ice as they leave the lake.

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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, Jan. 24:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) attended training at Camp Ripley. Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods and Hayes Lake. Assistance was given to a Manitoba conservation officer and RCMP officer with checking anglers along the international border by Buffalo Point on Lake of the Woods. Violations for the week include anglers with extra lines, possess illegal length walleye, operate ATV on snowmobile trail and possession of marijuana. Work continues getting people in compliance with the deer feeding ban.

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) continued to monitor fishing and snowmobile activity in the area. He attended training at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent working on cases from the 2021 deer season.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of the Grygla Snowmobile Safety class, attended a career fair for high school students interested in careers in law enforcement, attended training at Camp Ripley and investigated a complaint of a large pile of home remodeling waste being burned. Enforcement action for the week included burn prohibited material, allow illegal operation of an ATV by juvenile and fail to display current ATV registration.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) received training at Camp Ripley, and gave snowmobile safety presentations to youth in the Lake Bronson, and Thief River Falls areas this week. Ice angling activity was also monitored.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers and patrolling area snowmobile trails. Time was spent working an applicant pre-employment background investigation and attending training at Camp Ripley.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) worked angling activity on and near Upper Red Lake. Numerous complaints were fielded about people with “RV”-style wheel houses who dump their sewage on the ice as they leave the lake. One contact was made with a suspect. Sewage and litter continue to be an issue on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for litter, angling with extra lines and possession of a controlled substance.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending training at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent checking anglers, snowmobile operators, and responding to various wildlife-related complaints.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) attended training at Camp Ripley and checked ice anglers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile trails. Lakes in the Lake George and Bemidji #2 stations were monitored. Officer worked Leech Lake with CO McGowan and continued work on a background investigation.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, small game and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent giving a law and ethics presentation to a snowmobile safety class in Twin Valley.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Training was attended at Camp Ripley. CO Warren spoke at a firearm safety class in Mahnomen.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking angling activity in the Pelican Rapids Station. Few lakes have angling activity, as travel off a plowed road is impossible without a snowmobile or tracked ATV. Angling success has slowed, as well. Area snowmobile trails are in great condition, but have seen limited traffic due to the cold weather. Officer Landmark also prepared for an upcoming court case, attended training at Camp Ripley and investigated several trapping violations.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time on a background investigation. Plautz worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement over the holiday weekend. Violations encountered were: operate snowmobile/ATV without registration, no ID on fish house, no shelter tag displayed. Division training was attended.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) attended training at Camp Ripley and conducted equipment maintenance and inventory during the week. Time was spent coordinating upcoming safety classes in addition to checking anglers and snowmobiles. Goodman reports finding anglers with ORVs (off-road vehicles) and ATVs unregistered on area lakes. Goodman advises that most motorized vehicles used on public lands and water will need some form of registration.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports heavy ice fishing activity throughout Douglas County, even though lake slush is the worst it’s been in several years. Any lakes that have plowed roads have lots of wheelhouse activity, while those with unplowed have been mostly left alone. Enforcement action taken this week were several cases of angling without licenses, unattended lines and extra lines. Training at Camp Ripley was completed and time was also spent patrolling the vacant Osakis station.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working fishing and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action taken included snowmobile registration issues, fish house violations and fishing without a license in possession. Douvier continues to work on a background investigation.


CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent investigating a deer poaching complaint and attending training at Camp Ripley.

Osakis – vacant.

Fergus Falls – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) completed mandatory training and set-up of new division equipment. Time was also spent on a snowmobile patrolling the trails and lakes.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) attended training at Camp Ripley, completed equipment maintenance and patrolled by snowmobile.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time on the trails and lakes in the area checking anglers and snowmobile riders. Kunst also attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Leech Lake and other Cass County lakes throughout the week. CO McGowan also spent time patrolling state snowmobile trails, and training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued to check anglers and snowmobile riders. She assisted with removing a dog out of a foothold trap.


ATV rec officer – vacant.

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