Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 12, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working ATVing enforcement and angling activity throughout this past week. The warm weather brought out lots of anglers. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included several violations for operating ATVs in restricted areas of the Chippewa National Forest and on nonmotorized trails, and angling license violations.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) spent most of his time this past week on Lake of the Woods, and was joined by several other officers from throughout the state. Sura also spent time reviewing a variety of required online training.
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked walleye and pike anglers on Lake of the Woods. Conditions are deteriorating fast, and some accesses are already being shut down.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) investigated a case of an unregistered bobcat, monitored ice shelter removal, and enforced public water access rules. He also prepared for upcoming firearms safety classes.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) reports that mild weather has brought signs of spring with it, including Canada geese and horned larks filtering through the northwest, as well as sharp-tailed grouse dancing on the prairies.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. The eelpout bite continues to improve and anglers are having good luck finding jumbo perch. He worked a detail on Leech Lake with CO McGowan. Two individuals were cited for an overlimit of perch after it was determined they were 26 over the legal limit.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) checked snowmobilers attending the Snodeo races in Naytahwaush. Assistance was given with a car-killed fisher and a wolf-depredation claim.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice conditions remain OK with lots of water on the ice, although many of the accesses are beginning to break up. Travel was mostly by ATV. Vinton received a TIP one night about a group of anglers that had been out all day on one of the new quality sunfish lakes. The caller was concerned they may be over the new reduced limit. Vinton contacted the anglers as they came off the lake; they were not found to be in violation.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week checking angling activity on area lakes. Anglers are urged to use extreme caution on lakes, as one vehicle broke through the ice on South Lida Lake during the weekend. Fortunately, the angler was able to make it out safely. Anglers are reminded to purchase new fishing licenses and read the regulations book because numerous lakes in the area have new sunfish regulations. While working new special-regulations lake with CO Swedberg, one angler was found to have misread the regulations and possessed an overlimit of sunfish. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, a sunfish overlimit, illegal-length crappies, failure to renew ATV registration, juveniles on ATVs without helmets, and other ATV-related violations.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports shelter removal compliance was good overall. Richards checked recreational vehicle riders and panfish anglers. Conversations with anglers usually consisted of talking about fishing technology and the perceived need to reduce limits for certain species.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers and ATV operators and monitoring fish house removal. Additional time was spent following up on deer-feeding complaints and inspecting aeration permits.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) monitored panfishing activity on station lakes as the hard-water season is hitting the home stretch. A few ice shelter owners were issued citations for leaving their shacks on the ice several days past the removal deadline.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) continued to work angling and recreational vehicle enforcement. Several fish houses remained unattended on station lakes after the deadline, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) continued to monitor fishing and recreational vehicle activity. Fish houses and litter were monitored for the removal deadline.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) and COC Baum patrolled Park Rapids and the Cass Lake area. They observed angling activity on Pike Bay, Cass Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish. Mathy and Baum encountered violations including no license in possession, angling without a license, failure to display ATV registration, and no shelter identification.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) verified shelters had been removed from area lakes. He also assisted area DNR Wildlife staff with removing abandoned property and litter from wildlife management areas.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time this past week checking ice anglers on area lakes. Simonson would like to remind people to remain safe on the ice and be aware the ice will disappear fast with the warm weather.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) assisted local officers with a snowmobile safety class where 30 students were certified throughout the day. Trappers are still chasing beavers before the access trails break up and open-water tactics become the norm. The CO also assisted with a wolf-depredation complaint and monitored snowmobile traffic.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity around the area. Warmer weather has made it easier for vehicle travel around the lakes, which has resulted in an increased number of anglers observed.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports an organized ATV ride was worked with the help of CO Frericks. An estimated 200 ATV riders participated, and a large violation rate was encountered. Later in the day, a hit-and-run ATV injury crash was reported. The driver hit a ditch, was launched from the ATV, and hit a tree with his head. He reportedly was intoxicated and did not stick around. In another case, Bozovsky was nearly hit head-on in his truck by an inattentive driver. The driver had a suspended driver’s license and no insurance.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time on area lakes checking anglers and taking GPS coordinates and photos of ice shelters that remain on the ice. Ice shelter owners are reminded to clean up after themselves or they face a citation for litter.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and a few snowmobilers this past week. Fishing was much better and lake conditions are good overall, but several areas had significant ice loss in areas with current. Velsvaag continued to see areas with litter from anglers and snowmobilers, including cans, bottles, oil containers, and burnt garbage.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked inside and outside the BWCAW this past week. Snowmobile trails and area trout lakes also were worked. He responded to another snowmobile accident in Cook County.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers and spoke with several folks planning end-of-season trout-fishing trips. Manning also took a reports about a car-killed deer and an incidentally caught bobcat that was immediately reported by the trapper.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked an early-week Lake of the Woods detail with other officers. The remainder of the week was spent primarily on angling enforcement locally inside and outside of the BWCAW. Several folks had to be reminded to renew their fishing licenses.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked ice anglers and conducted ATV and ORV enforcement. Anglers are again reminded that the deadline to remove fish houses from the lake is March 15. Remember to pick up any wooden blocks or other items you brought to the lake.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking angling activity this past week. She also did some Enforcement Division training, assisted Itasca County officials with an ATV through the ice on Pokegama Lake, and checked on two possible fish-overlimit cases.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling and the last few days of snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for not having a current angling license and having expired ATV registration.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored the removal of fish shelters in the southern portion of his station with good compliance rates.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked area lakes checking anglers and fish houses in advance of the upcoming removal date. Snowmobiling activity has slowed dramatically in the last couple days due to mild weather and lack of snow. Duncan also worked shore-fishing enforcement along Lake Superior.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports questions were fielded on state forests closed to riding ATVs. Please consult the DNR website for updated information on closed areas.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked early-season trollers on Lake Superior. Good catches of coho and lake trout were seen. A reminder to boaters to inspect your registration and safety equipment before heading out for the year.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked anglers who were hoping for some panfish in the warm weather. Several area lakes have new panfish regulations, and most anglers were aware and in support of the changes. Anglers were reminded to clean up their trash and assist in removing any they see out on the ice as the snow melts. Most area lakes are looking clean!
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) joined Pequot Lakes Middle School on Sibley Lake for their field trips. Youth anglers’ experience ranged from zero to kids who brought their own electronics and fishing equipment. All anglers enjoyed the experience, and several fish were caught.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked ice anglers on station lakes. New angling licenses were verified. Lake stewards were observed picking up garbage left behind by lake users. A large amount of construction materials was illegally staged on a public water access for an area residential construction project without a conditional use permit. Enforcement action was taken against the contractor.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) responded to fires out of control. Burning permits are required in most areas. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials, no fishing licenses, and expired ATV registration.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) received a call to respond to a local DNR office where some damage had been reported. Fitzgerald met with the local agency and was told the culprit had broken out a lower window in the building but could not gain entry. The culprit then went to the entrance doors by jumping up two layers of landscaping and broke another window but could not get into the building. The culprit then tried another window and, with no luck there either, jumped off the steps on to a lower roof and fled the scene. The witnesses’ only description of the culprit was that it had four legs, hooves, brown fur, and a fluffy white tail. DNR staff were contacted to secure the windows and the culprit is still running free. Why it wanted to get inside the building is a mystery.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity, including fish houses on the ice past the removal deadline and new panfish regulations.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing activity and checking to make sure ice shelters were off of area lakes. She also spent time assisting the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office regarding a physical disturbance, assisting CO Griffith on a burning prohibited materials violation, and following up on a litter case on county land.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent the past week continuing to check anglers. Time was spent patrolling for both ATVing and snowmobiling activity. Solid waste violations were investigated.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers, monitored ATVing activity, followed up on the previous deer season, and talked to youths at the firearms safety training class in Buckman.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking anglers. Recent warm weather has degraded ice at access sites significantly and anglers are reminded to use caution when venturing out.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports working angling activity this past week. He focused on reminding anglers of the new panfish regulations this year and to buy the new fishing license. He also handled calls about injured animals and overlimit complaints.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and recreational vehicle operators. Time was spent working a detail on Lake of the Woods. One angler was contacted in a portable shelter off by himself. When Seamans knocked on the window, the angler threw a fishing pole from his hands. The check revealed the angler was fishing with extra lines and fishing after having his license revoked for a gross overlimit in 2020.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and area lakes for shelter removal compliance. Calls were taken about injured animals, wetland violations, and dogs chasing deer.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and ATV activities in the metro area. He returned phone calls to small-game hunters regarding trespassing violations and explained to them how to take care of the citations.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) reminds anglers their 2020 fishing licenses have expired and to be sure to go through the regulations book when they purchase new ones. There are 94 lakes across the state where panfish limits have been reduced, and that includes Medicine Lake in Hennepin County.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling and ATVing activity during the past week. He assisted with the removal of a permanent fish house left out after the deadline. The responsible person was issued multiple citations.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) educated several anglers on Lake Sarah in Hennepin County who were not aware of the new reduced limit for sunfish and crappies on the lake.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time checking late-season ice anglers and anglers on the river. Due to inconsistent ice, anglers should use extreme caution. Time also was spent following up on deer-hunting investigations. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of things, including license violations, lend/borrow violations, illegal transport of big game, and many instances of deer feeding ban issues.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) ensured that fish houses were removed from local lakes in accordance with the removal deadline. Anglers were checked on Pool 2 of the Mississippi River.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring anglers in the area. Large numbers of boats were out on Pool 2, but fishing was slow. He also checked area trout streams and found a fair number of people fishing illegally.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) reports spending time monitoring ice conditions and checking ATV riders. Many people were out walking in wildlife management areas, taking advantage of the nice weather. Waterfowl have begun showing up throughout the area.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week following up on big-game investigations and numerous wildlife-related calls. Warmer weather has caused ice conditions to deteriorate along the shorelines of local lakes.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) primarily worked angling and coyote-hunting enforcement this past week. A deer-poaching case is being investigated.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports waterfowl migration has started and some flocks of white-fronted geese are starting to show up, with a few snow geese mixed in. Light goose hunters are reminded that white-fronted “specklebelly” geese are not allowed to be taken during the spring light goose season.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working ice angling and ATVing activity. He followed up on multiple shelter removal violations. Vernier also assisted the State Patrol with a fatal vehicle crash.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked lakes to make sure fish houses were removed or were occupied at night. Other time was spent following up on miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints or questions about injured or dead swans, eagles, and deer.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continues to follow up on deer investigations with violations being detected related to license issues.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) completed several ongoing investigations that resulted in charges. Ice on area lakes is fading quickly and extreme caution should be used if venturing onto area ice. The waterfowl migration is under way in the area, with numerous flocks of mallards, Canada geese, and a few swans observed this past week.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked anglers and ATV riders this past week. The warm weather has degraded ice conditions substantially. Howe also patrolled public lands for litter and vandalism.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked ice anglers taking advantage of some good late-ice panfish fishing. As a reminder, anglers fishing the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River are restricted to two lines, and mechanical or spring-powered hook-setting devices are not allowed.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports there were many people out fishing both on the ice and in open water. Hemker also received several calls and complaints about injured and sick deer.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) reports a complaint regarding a pickup stuck in the Rock Dell WMA was addressed.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy weekend for trout anglers. Violations encountered were no angling license and no trout stamp. Shed hunters were out and doing well with the snow melting.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports most anglers were compliant with the ice shelter removal deadline. Enforcement action was taken for leaving an unlicensed permanent shelter on the ice. Schneider handled a call involving an injured, collared deer. The collar appears to have been placed by a member of the public. The deer was tested for CWD. A report about a sick eagle also was handled, along with a complaint about a fox hunter trespassing.