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MN DNR Weekly Report for May 15, 2017

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports opening day of fishing season on Rainy Lake brought many people out onto the water with most having some success, while the second day was different with cool temps and windy conditions kept most home or at least out of the wind with little success.  Nuisance beaver complaints were handled.  Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no angling license in possession, and expired boat registration.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports even though the harvest season for sturgeon on Rainy River is closed there were still plenty of anglers in search of the prehistoric creatures, and the catch rate has stayed consistent. Fishing opener on area waterways brought out more watercraft for the first trip of the season. Remember to check for all required safety equipment, current registration, and that you have a current angling license prior to going out for the first time. CO Slatinski spent time answering questions about Sophia’s law and in regards to complaints about wildlife, monitoring for invasive species, and speaking with anglers about fishing and associated activities.

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) anglers were presented with a great fishing opener weather wise.  The keeper walleyes were elusive for some but many contacts were happy just to be out on the water not battling nasty elements.  Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, fishing closed season, registration issues, and aquatic invasive species related contacts.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports fishing opener saw limited success for anglers checked.  Area lakes were checked along with public access sites.  Area forest roads were monitored.  Angling and boating activities were checked.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports it was a busy week and weekend getting ready for the fishing opener.  The officer observed numerous anglers that had good success.  Walleye were being caught all over the lake, and appeared to be moving from the typical early season areas. Numerous contacts were made and enforcement action was taken on too many lines, no license in possession, registration, and some invasive species regulations.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the fishing opener and weather cooperated for anglers. The officer also investigated a wildfire started by a person who had no permit, a dog caught in a snare, a TIP call of walleye fish carcasses dumped in a lake prior to season, and worked ATV’s, OHM’s, and invasive species enforcement.  An angler harassment citation was issued to an individual that intentionally harassed two individuals lawfully taking minnows.  An angler was checked in a boat on opener, less than six hours prior to his wedding.  He had no fish so his bride was his catch of the day.  Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, no angling license in possession, angle with extra lines, angler harassment, no burning permit, negligent fire, an invasive species violation, and numerous boating, ATV and OHM violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) took reports from several concerned citizens regarding a group of ATVers who tore up numerous stretches of the Laurentian Snowmobile trail in the Virginia and Britt area. COs Frericks and CO Pilot Lofstuen flew over the trail and verified the damage. State snowmobile trails are closed to ATV traffic. If anyone has information regarding this group of ATVers please contact CO Frericks at (218) 404-0600, you can remain anonymous. Two anglers were checked fishing from shore. Both anglers were very inebriated, didn’t have licenses, and one had a warrant for his arrest.  A large number of anglers were out during the fishing opener. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and insufficient PFDs.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports fishing activity was very high in every lake patrolled both inside and out of the BWCAW over the opener weekend. Warm weather and decent walleye success meant some happy anglers with no snow or ice to fight with for a change. Violations included take fish during closed season, angling without a license, and operating an unregistered watercraft.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked area lakes during the opener and found fishing to be slower than what had been predicted by the media.  The weather was good, but the fish were very small. People were keeping a lot of very small walleyes on the lakes checked by the officer.      

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked anglers over the fishing opener.  Not many people out and fishing success was fair at best.  The CO spent much of the week checking minnow and leech traps of commercial harvesters along with a few private traps.  Boats were found cached on public property and enforcement action was taken.  Places where these boats are left seem to attract trash and other items.  Boats that are left unattended on public property are also subject to seizure.  CO Fagerman also assisted the sheriff’s department with a search.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) checked boat accesses and spoke with boaters about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.  The officer worked one of the nicest fishing openers in recent memory; conditions were beautiful and fishing was decent for most.  Lack of required safety equipment was the most frequently encountered violation amongst anglers.  The officer also provided assistance to a Superior Hiking Trail backpacker who had gotten turned around and ended up about three miles off course and heading in the wrong direction.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy walleye opener.  Fish were cooperating and overall law compliance was very good.  A BWCA patrol was conducted with a DNR volunteer for early fishing.  Enforcement action included extra line, fail to display watercraft registration, no navigation lights after sunset, and no Type IV PFD.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the fishing opener this weekend.  Time was spent on some forestry complaints and checking AIS compliance. 

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the opener weekend on area lakes. The weather was great and the fish cooperated with most. The officer worked a TIP complaint and answered wildlife calls. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations, unattended fire and an arrest was made for possession of cocaine.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the busy fishing opener on area lakes and saw mixed success among anglers. Many anglers had at least one fish in the boat but all enjoyed the sunshine even if they were not successful at catching a fish. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations, transporting fish without skin patch, and possession of marijuana.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, enforced AIS regulations, patrolled for illegal ATV activity, and processed seized furbearers.  Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, no angling license, illegal length walleye, and underage alcohol consumption.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV activity, boating, commercial minnow dealers, AIS, and sport fishing. He patrolled state park areas, state forests, answered questions and took complaints on various wildlife issues, and checked public water accesses.  Violations included ATV’s on roadway, ATV equipment, youth w/o helmet, removal of a beaver dam w/o permit, transport aquatic macrophytes, fail to drain water and pull drain plugs, no license in possession, and transport uncased handguns.    

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, attended EVOC instructor training, and assisted with locating a suspect that fled into the woods. The area walleye bite was good for the opener. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, fail to remove drain plug, and possess illegal length walleye.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling and boating activity over fishing opener this past weekend.  Beautiful weather brought a lot of people out and on some area lakes the fish cooperated.  Enforcement action was taken for camping at Taylor Lake public access in Hill City and possession of slot walleye on a local special regulation lake.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy opener with the high temperatures bringing out thousands of anglers to wet a line.  Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, possessing a walleye within the closed slot, and angling in a closed area.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) worked angling, boating, AIS, and ATV enforcement.  Anglers were out in full force to open the 2017 fishing opener.  The weekend brought nice weather and fairly consistent fishing on area lakes.  Enforcement action was taken for illegal length walleye, no angling license in possession, having a passenger under 18 on an ATV without wearing a helmet, and failure to display valid boat registration.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week working fish run and smelters along Lake Superior tributaries.  Opening weekend of fishing was extremely busy with the great weather for opening day.  Anglers were having some luck and very few contacts resulted in enforcement action.  ATV complaints and nuisance animal complaints were handled throughout the week.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked north shore tributaries for fishing and illegal netting enforcement.   Many contacts were made during the traditional fishing opening weekend.  Time was also spent working on complaints involving dumping, wildfire, waters, and other miscellaneous enforcement issues. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked OHV, boating, angling, AIS, and fire enforcement over the week.  Fishing opener was busy with the nice weather.   Anglers reported poor to fair catches on various species.  Several calls/complaints on illegal burning, injured deer, nuisance bear and beaver, incidental otter catches, OHV operation, illegal hunting activity, and AIS regulations were received.  As a result several enforcement contacts were made throughout the week.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody gave a talk and did a demo for a DARE class in Duluth. A law talk was given to a bow hunter education class in Carlton. Fishing opener was busy with several calls responded to that involved enforcement action for burning without a permit, camping in a prohibited area in Jay Cooke State Park, no vehicle permit in the park, angling in a closed area, insufficient PFD, and angling with an extra line. Nuisance animal complaints were taken on coyotes attacking dogs and nuisance bears.

Brookston – vacant.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along the North Shore and St. Louis River. The opener was warm and had many out on open water trying their luck. Enforcement actions taken for boat registration items. CO Olson responded to a deer that had got trapped in a backyard soccer net, the landowner was able to cut the deer free just prior to the officer’s arrival.  He assisted Two Harbors PD on a traffic stop concerning drug possession and several calls fielded on fishing and boating law questions and concerns.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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