WEEKLY DNR ENFORCEMENT REPORT: Spring walleye fishing in full swing on Rainy River and anglers reminded walleyes and saugers are catch-and-release only
Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota for April 1:
District 1 - Baudette area
• CO Ben Huener (Roseau) taught waterfowl enforcement school to the officers from the latest Academy at Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota
• CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked ATV, snowmobile, AIS and angling enforcement. The Rainy River is now open west of the Frontier public access and anglers are trying their hand at the newly regulated catch-and-release season for walleyes/sauger through April 14. Before hitting the water, anglers should check their boat registration, ensure they have required safety equipment, and that their angling license is valid with a "19" displayed. Ensure all safety equipment is functional and know where it is stored onboard. An emergency situation is not the time to try to locate it or find out if it works. Enforcement action was taken for angling license violations, failure to display valid registration on a snowmobile/ATV, failure to transfer ownership of a snowmobile, operating an unregistered snowmobile, possessing fillets/failure to maintain carcasses on a special management water and littering.
• CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of the firearms safety class in Lancaster and collected litter from area rivers left behind by sloppy anglers. Enforcement action was taken for leaving garbage and wanton waste of game fish left buried at the scene of removed houses. Woinarowicz and CO Elwell removed an abandoned ice shelter left on the Thief River north of the 8th St. bridge. The shelter was one of a kind with Arctic Cat factory banners utilized as external siding for the shelter. Assistance in identifying the owner is requested and anyone with information should contact Woinarowicz or Elwell.
• CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) attended waterfowl enforcement training at Whitewater State Park this past week. Time was also spent patrolling for illegal burning, preparing for upcoming ATV and firearms safety classes and responding to reports of sick and injured deer. Elwell assisted CO Woinarowicz with the removal of an abandoned ice shelter on the Thief River in Thief River Falls.
• CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working angling activity on special regulation lakes and monitoring the station for ATV activity. The ice conditions have improved on area lakes, but pockets of slush can be found from time to time when the sun softens the crusty top layer of ice/slush. Regas reports the perch and crappie bite has picked up the past few days with some limits of perch and crappie observed, but anglers' reports of success have been spotty. Time was spent assisting a neighboring officer removing an abandoned shelter from a lake before ice conditions deteriorate.
• CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports warmer weather has increased the number of boats traveling to open water on the Rainy River. Remember to ensure your drain plugs are removed prior to transporting your boat.
• CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) spent the week checking anglers on both hard water and open water. Many anglers are taking advantage of the recent warmer weather and traveling to the Rainy River to test their luck targeting large walleyes. Tip-up fishing traffic for northern pike also has been picking up. Assistance was given to another officer in the region in regards to a poaching case. K9 Storm searched for rifle casings.
• Baudette West — vacant.
• Warroad South — vacant.
• Karlstad — vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
• CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers on local lakes. ATV complaint areas were also worked. Watercraft were readied for possible spring flooding response.
• CO Tim Gray (Bagley) continued flight training.
• CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. The area panfish bite has improved and with the recent snow melt anglers are now able to move around on the lakes. He worked with neighboring officers on removing abandoned fish houses. Vollbrecht responded to a medical where a person smashed his hand while moving a piece of machinery. He sustained severe damage to his hand and was transported by ambulance to the hospital.
• CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a few anglers out pursuing tullibee and panfish with modest success. ATV riders are reminded that beginning April 1, no ATV traffic will be allowed in state or county road ditches south of U.S. Highway 10 in the Perham area. The ditches north of that line are still very soft and riders should be mindful not to cause damage as they ride.
• CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, spring goose hunting and ATV enforcement. Snow and white-fronted geese have been seen moving through the area. Time was also spent monitoring flood conditions along the Buffalo River. A presentation was given on laws and ethics to firearms safety classes in Moorhead and Glyndon.
• CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time monitoring area lakes for angling and fish house activity. Snowmobile trails were patrolled. Most trails deteriorated quickly. Follow up continued on a call of ATVs on snowmobile trails. Warren attended a deer forum at the Waubun High School and answered law enforcement-related questions.
• CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week monitoring ice fishing activity. Angling activity remains low as slush is still limiting anglers' mobility. Landmark observed several inexplicable areas of open water on some popular lakes. Anglers should use caution. Time was also spent following up on a report of a fish house left on a small slough, issuing wildlife permits, and addressing wildlife complaints. Enforcement action was taken for a fish house left out after the deadline.