Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 5, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking anglers and monitoring activity on snowmobile trails this week. Regas reports the warm weather this past week took a toll on snowmobile trails, which deteriorated quickly and are in poor condition.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) investigated an area river that had been filled in with dirt and debris. An area logger had made two river crossings, but they were not in compliance with the allowed parameters. Prachar advised the logger on what was legal for river crossings and gave him 24 hours to correct the issues. Both crossings were brought into compliance within four hours.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) reports several calls were fielded including snowmobile-speed complaints, questions regarding Lake of the Woods regulations, and a suspicious dispersed camping site inside the Beltrami Island State Forest. A reminder that the shelter-removal date for Lake of the Woods is March 31.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked primarily angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Larson patrolled snowmobile trails, focusing time at the Northwest Angle during a snowmobile rally on Saturday. Larson also assisted Lake of the Woods County officials with a snowmobile accident fatality.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) conducted patrols for coyote-hunting activity and investigated a trespassing complaint this past week. Anglers on the Red Lake and Thief rivers were checked.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Snowmobile trails have deteriorated to the point where they are unusable.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji) attended K9 training with Storm and other Enforcement Division handler/K9 pairs at Camp Ripley.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked anglers and snowmobile enforcement and provided assistance on a search warrant.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) assisted Mahnomen County and White Earth Tribal police with a call about an individual with a gun.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) would like to remind anglers to pay attention to angling regulations posted at the public accesses. Otter Tail County has multiple lakes that have reduced sunfish limits starting March 1.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to monitor ice-fishing activity and coyote hunters after the fresh dusting of snow. Plautz investigated an illegally set trap in the road right of way. Fish houses were still abundant on area lakes going into the weekend and are being monitored for litter and removal in anticipation of the deadline.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week focused on angling and recreational vehicle enforcement. Special attention was given to fish houses due to the upcoming removal deadline. Reminder that the Minnesota/North and South Dakota border waters removal deadline is March 5. She took calls regarding a vehicle that went through the ice and questions regarding angling on the border waters.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) monitored ice fishing and recreational vehicle activity throughout the past week. Complaints were received concerning littering on the ice. The fish house removal deadline in the southern two-thirds of the state was March 1.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked the last week of the game fish season on area lakes. Several anglers were cited for using too many lines or not having fishing licenses.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on fishing enforcement as well as patrolling state forests and WMAs. Numerous violations for abandoned property and litter were found.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Snowmobile trails are in tough shape and travel isn’t advised. Mathy completed required training and worked on Bear Committee items.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports with the lack of snow and the warmer weather, the area snowmobile trails have taken a hit. However, people were still out enjoying the outdoors. Ice fishing on area lakes stayed the same. People are reminded with the warmer weather it’s a great time to think about cleaning up around fish houses and preparing them to be removed.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time this past week checking ice anglers and patrolling snowmobiling activity on area trails. Simonson would like remind people to make sure they get a current fishing license before heading out on the water to fish.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports anglers looking to pick up a few walleye before the close of the inland season reported less-than-stellar success, although some were eager to show their new 2021 licenses.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) worked a snowmobile detail during the weekend and assisted with a snowmobile DWI arrest. He also encountered a handful of snowmobile decal and registration violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, using live minnows on a designated trout lake, and abandoned fish house.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports warmer weather and little additional snow made for trail conditions that continued to deteriorate through the past week. Violations included fishing without a license and snowmobile speed.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked a snowmobile detail with several officers in Cook County. Time also was spent armoring handguns at Camp Ripley.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports excellent weather conditions brought heavy snowmobiling and fishing traffic into the area. Hill took part in snowmobile speed enforcement with a few partners. A few notable stops for speed included 81 mph, 80 mph, 75 mph, 71 mph, and 63 mph. Hill contacted a few anglers in violation after they left lines unattended to go find a new fishing spot. Another party was found to be illegally possessing a 36-inch pike in the Northeast Pike Zone. Hill and another officer contacted a snowmobile owner for a suspected equipment violation. Even though the person wasn’t driving the snowmobile in question, it was determined that the individual was intoxicated and he was advised to not operate the machine until sober. Two hours later, Hill clocked the rider going 80 mph across a lake. The subject was arrested on suspicion of second degree DUI. The snowmobile was seized and could be subject to forfeiture pending the outcome of the case.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the past week focusing primarily on sportfishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing licenses in possession, failure to display a shelter license on a portable shelter when required, illegal-length walleyes, illegal-length northern pike, failure to display ATV registration, and possession of marijuana.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking area lakes for angling activity this past week. She also checked snowmobile trails for activity, which was minimal due to deteriorating trail conditions.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports the crappie and sunfish bite is beginning to pick up in the area. Please remember that 2020 fishing licenses expired on the last day of February.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw many people getting ready to remove their ice shelters in preparation for the removal date south of U.S. Highway 2 (March 1). There is still considerable ice on most area lakes, but it’s better to start getting shelters off before more of a warmup and more slush starts to gather. Complaints were handled in Jay Cooke State Park.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent much of the past week working snowmobile activity in the area, along with complaint areas. Complaints about dogs chasing deer have been coming in and dog owners are reminded that a dog chasing deer is illegal and can result in hefty fines/restitution if a deer is injured or killed.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent a few days working from a snowmobile. Trail conditions have really suffered due to the warmer weather and sunny skies. Area lakes and backwoods trails continue to have snow. Ice-fishing enforcement also was worked throughout the past week. Duncan also completed online training and spent time completing equipment maintenance.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked snowmobile trails in the Duluth and Two Harbors stations. Trail conditions have deteriorated quickly with warmer weather. The pack ice on Lake Superior has blown out and open water is fishable once again.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports that rivers are starting to see some overflow on the ice; warm weather could lead to early breakup.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked fishing and snowmobiling/ATVing enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for no licenses and expired registration.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports most of the past week was spent checking anglers on area lakes. Sullivan encountered anglers who were enjoying the weather and the final days of walleye fishing. Sullivan also found anglers who had a hard time being honest after being caught violating. One experienced angler was given several opportunities to be honest after being caught angling with an extra line, but chose to go home being dishonest. Sullivan also was yelled at for several minutes while taking enforcement action for no shelter license.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked station lakes and documented angling shelters that appeared to be frozen into the ice or falling apart. Owners are reminded to remove all debris from the shelter. One angler contact resulted in Guida seizing a large amount of illegal marijuana and a glass smoking device.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week and weekend. Fitzgerald also attended training and assisted with gun maintenance at Camp Ripley. Area lakes were checked for permanent houses with the upcoming fish house removal date. Anglers are reminded to clean up any debris or garbage around their houses. The SRA was checked for vehicle permits and for illegal vehicle activity. Enforcement action was taken for various fishing and snowmobiling law violations.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling Lake Mille Lacs and other area lakes for fishing activity. She also spent time patrolling snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for a small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, extra lines, illegal-length walleyes, ice shelter on the ice without a license, unmarked ice shelter, failure to display an ice shelter license, no fishing license in possession, and litter.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked area lakes for fish houses without identification. Most fish houses were being removed prior to the deadline. She took calls about injured deer, questions about turkey hunting, and bear-hunting questions. Stanton Lake in Willow River is filling up as the dam project nears completion. The area is marked with “thin ice” signs.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked the last week of the walleye season on Mille Lacs and found some walleyes to be cooperating. Undersized fish violations were encountered, along with extra-line and shelter violations. Assistance was given to neighboring officers for a juvenile party on the ice and ATV use on a snowmobile trail.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) was advised of TIP calls concerning possible fish overlimits and someone chasing swans with a snowmobile. The CO spent most of the past week marking and reminding fishing shelter owners about the removal deadline. He also presented a law presentation to 17 snowmobile safety students.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports focusing on anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Enforcement action consisted of registration violations, no snowmobile safety certificate when required, improper shelter identification, no angling license in possession, drug paraphernalia, and a small amount of marijuana.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) checked anglers and patrolled wildlife management areas. She also monitored trapping activity. Kampa continued to work a TIP complaint. A deer-possession permit was issued.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the last week of the game-fish season checking anglers and ice shelters. One group of anglers Krauel contacted told him they thought they might have caught one legal slot fish and kept it. When asked who caught the fish, the anglers responded they were not sure who caught it and did not know where it was. Upon further investigation, Krauel found three illegal-length walleyes, several containers of marijuana, and several license violations in the group.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports finishing a case involving illegal trapping methods and trespassing near Santiago. Anglers were checked on area lakes, and enforcement action was taken for possession controlled substances. ATV laws were also enforced, including one ATV rider who was caught stealing a road sign.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) reports a property damage complaint was handled that involved high winds, a Ford Fiesta, and a rogue spear house. The spear house became dislodged in the high winds and struck a nearby angler’s vehicle. The angler was a true hero, deciding to wedge the spear house against his car to prevent it from blowing farther and potentially damaging more property.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking anglers and following up on complaints. Grewe also spent time documenting ice shelters on station lakes for the removal date. Violations this past week included wanton waste of crappies and angling with extra lines.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) took calls regarding deer and turkey populations in the metro area.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers and small-game hunters in the metro area. He monitored snowmobiling activities in Scott and Washington counties on lakes and trails. Violations included no trout stamp and no license in possession.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked ice anglers and ATV operators who were out during the warm weather. Several anglers were contacted on multiple area lakes. Violations encountered were angling without a license, extra lines, and possession of minnows on a designated trout lake.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and snowmobiling activity. With the higher temperatures comes all the garbage that, for some reason, gets left on lakes and covered in snow. Please take a moment and clean up any garbage that you come across or have left outside your shelters this past winter.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) checked many local anglers and shelters in anticipation of the shelter-removal deadline. Multiple nuisance-animal and possession-permit calls were handled, and a firearms safety course was taught.
CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled area lakes on ATV. While on Centerville Lake, he observed a vehicle being operated erratically and near ice shelters. Hanna stopped the vehicle and addressed multiple safety violations and illegal actions of the driver. The reason for the behavior was said to be slow fishing.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) answered numerous questions about border waters and when fish houses need to be off lakes. March 5 is the deadline for Minnesota/South Dakota border waters.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent most of the past week working the end of the walleye and northern pike season. Anglers checked were reminded of the shelter removal deadline, to clean up their litter, and the new license year, which started March 1. Temperatures around 40 degrees for a few days in a row this past week brought snowmobile activity to a halt and is causing issues at multiple pubic accesses in the area.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) worked with a neighboring officer in Meeker County this past week. A fair number of ice anglers were observed out fishing on area lakes as many anglers believed it could be the last good weekend of ice. A TIP complaint also was investigated.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls concerning possible work in public waters and litter violations. Nelson found a small remote control on Sleepy Eye Lake. Please contact him to claim it.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked angling and ATVing enforcement. He completed aeration inspections in the county and monitored fish house activity.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato #2) checked ice anglers throughout the past week. Follow-up interviews from the deer season were conducted. Wiebusch also retrieved a dog that had gotten itself stranded on ice in a local river.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato #1) focused on angling and recreational vehicle activity. VanThuyne also checked fish houses on area lakes for litter issues.
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking anglers and working snowmobile enforcement. A possession permit was issued for a fisher.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports boats are starting to show up in the area. Most of the accesses are still ice-covered, but people are pushing boats across the ice to fish for walleyes. The unique complaint of the week was about adults putting snow onto public water access steps in order to use the steps and railings for snowboarding maneuvers.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports interviews were conducted for a multi-state deer-hunting investigation.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked ice angling activity. Schneider spent time on a detail in northern Minnesota checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) spent time following up on deer cases from the fall. A number of cases were made regarding illegally taken, transported, and possessed deer. Time also was spent checking trout anglers.