Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 21, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) investigated an arson fire and checked anglers during the opening weekend of fishing. Enforcement action was taken for burning without a burn permit, angling with extra lines, angling without a license, and operating an unregistered, motorized kayak.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked primarily angling enforcement. Larson spent time on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. Violations found included no angling license in possession, failure to have a throwable flotation device on a boat, illegal bait, and angling with an extra line.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) attended the annual Lake of the Woods meeting involving various area agencies, resorts, and the tourism bureau. Sura also assisted with an ATV safety class in Roseau and issued nuisance-beaver permits.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) investigated a wolf depredation, handled nuisance-beaver and nuisance-bear issues, and had a busy weekend with many people contacted angling and boating on the Thief and Red Lake rivers, as well as Lake Bronson.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring ATV trail activity, spring beaver trapping, and angling activity on special-regulation lakes this past week. Time was spent conducting follow-up investigation with ongoing cases, handling nuisance-bear reports, and assisting instructors with the Blackduck and Kelliher firearms safety field day.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a very busy opening weekend of the walleye and northern pike season. Anglers enjoyed the great weather and good fishing. While driving to one of the lakes, he encountered a truck that had overheated and broken down in the intersection. With assistance from a local deputy, the officers pushed the vehicle out of the intersection while the operator steered so it was no longer blocking the flow of traffic. Vollbrecht also assisted with arresting an individual who fled on foot after a traffic pursuit. The individual was hiding from the K9 in a partially blown-down tree.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) assisted with security for Gov. Walz during the annual Governor’s Fishing Opener. Vinton and CO Oldakowski, along with Lt. Seefeldt, assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office and Perham Fire with a kayaker who had rolled in the Ottertail River and was wedged under a snag. The kayaker was uninjured in the swift water but needed some assistance from Perham Police Officer Stromme to get to shore. The kayak was recovered by Perham Fire.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked fishing opener. The number of anglers was high and the walleye bite was decent in some places. Peterson also worked littering and wildlife-related calls.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring angling, AIS, and off-road vehicle activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Several reports were taken and contacts were made with anglers harvesting bait in infested waters. Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to harvest bait from infested waters. One group contacted on opening day was happy to show off a livewell full of fish. Unfortunately, their livewell contained limits of bass that they had kept during the catch-and-release-only season. Anglers are reminded bass cannot be kept until May 29.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Great weather greeted anglers for fishing opener. No fishing license in possession and not enough life jackets were the most common violations encountered.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking anglers, boaters, and turkey hunters, and monitoring AIS law compliance. Baumbarger handled several nuisance-animal complaints, and spoke to first-graders at the local elementary school about local wildlife and boating safety.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a turkey-hunting case was completed with multiple citations issued and multiple birds seized.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked trapping and fishing. Cross also responded to a wildfire and a medical emergency. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, extra fishing lines, expired watercraft registration, failure to display registration, and no license in possession.
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) responded to multiple calls early in the week about bears in the area of residences. He patrolled for recreational vehicles earlier in the week and took enforcement action for operating without headlights.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) checked multiple anglers and ATVers during the week. Kunst also went to a fire call and received calls on nuisance-beaver trapping and bear-related complaints.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the opening of the fishing season was busy, with lots of people out enjoying the nice weather on the Rainy River and Rainy Lake.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) monitored spring fish runs prior to the fishing opener and assisted the Forestry Division with illegal deer stands located on state forest land. In another incident, contact was made with individuals in regards to abandoned property left on state forest land.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports time was spent following up on wetland and aquatic plant management violations. The weekend of fishing opener coupled with favorable weather brought out many anglers on the waters. Zavodnik investigated an angler harassment incident in which a person’s fishing line was found to have been purposely run over by another boat operator.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and boaters this past week. Fishing was good overall. There were a lot of people out during the opener, but several campfires were not put out. The most common problem was people not having received their watercraft registration stickers from the state.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) saw an increase in ATV traffic in the past week. Complaints about speeding, operating on snowmobile trails, and operating on county roadways were all received and several operators were contacted. Gravel is a hot commodity this season. Many folks mistakenly think they can just pull up to a state-owned pit and load up without getting a permit. This is theft and violators can expect to be charged.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy fishing opener weekend. Two citations were issued on the opener for very long-expired watercraft – one from 1986 and one from 1990.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a busy week of activity in Cook County. Recreational vehicles are beginning to be seen on roads and trails, and compliance was not great. Hill stopped almost every Class 1 and 2 ATVer for not operating on the shoulder of the road. While Cook County ordinance does allow ATVs on many roadways, they are required to be on the shoulder. “Hugging” the white line with your right tires is still considered the traffic lane.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, forestry, small game, and ATV riders. Numerous game-and-fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity and investigated a wildfire this past week.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling and boating activity this past week. She also investigated the cause of an illegal fire that ended with structures burning on the property.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked perhaps the busiest fishing opener in recent years with many anglers out on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for possessing a slot walleye, multiple slot northern pike, angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, and having expired registration on a watercraft.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent much of the week working fire enforcement, ATV-related complaints, and nuisance-animal issues. If you haven’t taken down or elevated your bird feeders, the bears will most likely be assisting with that effort soon. Fishing opener saw lots of happy faces and anglers seemed to have some success on the reservoir lakes, but warmer weather/water seemed to have spread the fish from spawning areas. For the first time in the Schmidt’s career, he witnessed kids swimming in a lake on opening weekend.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked a trapping investigation that resulted in a couple of violations. Time also was spent working on a fire investigation due to illegal burning.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked fishing, OHVing, and fire enforcement throughout the week. Several wildlife-related and nuisance-animal calls were received during the week, and a wolf livestock-depredation complaint was investigated. Turkey hunters were still at it despite what appears to be fewer birds in the area this year. Two hunters did report taking their first birds. Humphrey attended a retired officer’s funeral as part of the DNR Enforcement Division’s Honor Guard team.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked boating safety enforcement and angling enforcement on Lake Superior and in the Two Harbors station during the week.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on the St. Louis River on a busy opening weekend. Anglers along border waters need to remember to check the regulations of the state in which they are fishing. Assistance was given to St. Louis County Rescue with traffic control and a landing zone for a helicopter following an ATV crash.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked ATVing activity and angling activity. One angler who had been cited by a different CO earlier in the day for fishing without a license had purchased a license just 10 minutes prior to Ladd having contact with the angler. Ladd observed the license and then checked the angler’s stringer, which had a largemouth bass on it. The CO took enforcement action.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working the fishing opener in the SRA. Lots of anglers were out trying their luck for some trout. The SRA was checked for illegal ATV and vehicle traffic and park passes were checked throughout the park area. Assistance was given to some lost park users, and many outdoor law-related questions were fielded during the week and weekend.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) focused on area angling activity during the weekend. Area fishing reports were good. Angling violations included illegal-length fish, no angling license, and possession of bass out of season. Sullivan also assisted one angler who was stranded on the water after having boat battery issues.
CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) responded to illegal fires and numerous littering issues this week.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity. Common violations were no licenses and illegal-length fish. Verkuilen also checked turkey hunters, answered burning-related questions, and monitored ATV traffic.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) worked the busy weekend of fishing opener, patrolling fishing and boating activity on Lake Mille Lacs and other area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for drug paraphernalia, a small amount of marijuana, fishing without a license, no license in possession, failure to display valid boat registration, failure to have a fire extinguisher in the boat, failure to have a throwable PFD in boat, and transporting a boat with the plug in.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked angling activity and invasive species. She also investigated a call about a dead eagle and a potential wetland violation.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked a busy opening weekend with nice weather and some fish cooperating. He also assisted local law enforcement on a kidnapping call.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) worked a busy 2021 fishing opener. Nice weather and decent fishing had lakes and public accesses packed with people and boats. Most boaters were prepared for the opener, but some were not. Individuals were found with no life jackets in their boat and fishing without licenses. Some were found keeping bass out of season. Campgrounds were busy and a few campers celebrated the nice weather to a level of excess. One group’s weekend celebrations resulted in a burned-up picnic table, ripped-up fire rings, and general destruction of a campsite.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATVing activity, checked turkey hunters, and worked the fishing opener. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no license in possession, expired boat registrations, failure to display valid boat registration, and no personal flotation device onboard a watercraft.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking anglers and working evening bowfishing activity. Silgjord and CO Klehr assisted a stranded boater on the Horseshoe Chain.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity this week. He also monitored boating safety and AIS compliance. As in year’s past, VanderWeyst continues to find a distinct difference between common anglers and bowfishers – a near-100% compliance rate among anglers and just the opposite among bowfishers.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports having a busy opener. One angler noticed Bertram approaching his boat and quickly threw an illegal fish out of his boat. Unfortunately for the angler, the fish was dead. Bertram retrieved it off the water and issued the angler a citation for the violation.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers and bowfishers on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken throughout the week for no licenses, illegal-length fish, no boat lights, youth without helmets on ATVs, and unlawful fires. Benkofske also made an arrest of an individual with felony warrants and worked on wetland violation cases.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent time checking anglers during the opener and focusing on boat and water safety. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, no PFD, taking fish out of season, and ATV violations.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking anglers, monitoring boating activity, and following up on complaints. Grewe spent opener weekend checking anglers in the west metro and was happy to see some success.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked boaters and shore anglers on metro-area lakes and rivers. He worked the fishing opener in the west-metro lakes, and on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked angling, boating, and AIS activities on metro-area lakes and rivers. He returned calls for service, regarding fishing regulations and state parks usage.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked anglers before and during the busy opener. Fogarty checked an angler on the Minnesota River who was in possession of a 28-inch walleye and a largemouth bass. Fogarty advised the angler the fishing opener was 12 hours away.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled area lakes for the fishing opener. Some nice walleye were observed. Hanna enforced various violations including keeping bass out of season, angling with extra lines, failure to transfer boat registration, and no life jackets on watercraft.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time patrolling local lakes and rivers for angling activity. Deer-feeding issues were handled, and interviews with local media were conducted regarding the fishing opener. Illegal-wildlife-possession issues were addressed.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) spent a day at the Bonanza Education Center with fourth- and fifth-graders and spoke about boat safety and how to properly wear a life jacket. Westby spent most of the weekend on Lac qui Parle Lake during the opener.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports warm weather and light winds made for a busier-than-normal fishing opener. Most of the violations dealt with license, boat registration, and life jacket issues. Overall compliance with AIS laws was good. Anglers are reminded the bass season is open but it is catch and release only until May 29.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls about taking fish during the closed season and requests for fishing and turkey-hunting law clarifications. He spent most of the week working angling, boating, invasive species, and ATVing enforcement activities.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports anglers were out in large numbers for the state fishing opener. Anglers are again reminded that the South Zone for northern pike is a limit of two with a minimum measurement of 24 inches in length.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, turkey hunters, and ATV operators during the week. Davis monitored AIS activity, and patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, public water access sites, and waterfowl production areas.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on angling and boating activity. VanThuyne also checked watercraft for AIS compliance. Popular shore-fishing spots are already seeing a fair amount of litter.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) spent the fishing opener in the Mille Lacs area and saw high angler numbers and good success. One angler told him it was only the second time in 60 years that he was checked by a CO. Later in the day, another angler said he had been checked three times that day.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked anglers and turkey hunters. Several anglers were found to be fishing without licenses and without required safety equipment in their boats.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) assisted Olmsted County deputies with a warrant arrest. Enforcement activity for the week included fishing without a license, illegal-length northern pike, and possession of marijuana.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports an individual was observed attempting to back a third boat trailer into a two-trailer access. The individual jackknifed his vehicle and trailer, nearly backed the pickup into the lake, and just missed hitting another vehicle. The individual was arrested for DUI.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) reports assistance was given to the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office with two anglers who had launched from the boat access without a very important piece of equipment – the plug for their boat. The anglers managed to get their boat to shallow water, and a courtesy ride was given back to the access to retrieve the plug.