Conservation Officer Report: Ice pressure ridges continue to cause trouble
Conservation officer Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers that are out report a slow bite. Complaints of garbage and wood blocks left behind were reported and investigated. Some fishing violations observed were no license and unattended lines. Ice pressure ridges continue to be a problem and some snowmobiles were damaged because of them. He worked with a neighboring officer in the Orr area checking anglers and snowmobilers. Some of the violations they observed were no fishing license, speeding on a snowmobile, and expired registration.
Officer Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen and snowmobilers. Trails are rough but snowmobilers are making the best of it. Officer Hunter also received a complaint of possible litter on a lake.
Officer Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked a busy weekend around the Crosslake area with winter fest activities going on. Numerous people were out angling and enjoying good snowmobile trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for numerous snowmobile and angling violations. Officer McGowan also provided assistance to local law enforcement agencies.
Officer Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking winter trout season and other fishing activity, cross country skiers, and snowmobile trail activity. Other activity included working with the Brainerd High School science department on presenting the Turn in Poachers Wall of Shame as part of the school's wildlife forensic science program.
Officer Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) spent most of the week working area lakes and assisted with activity on the Whitefish Chain during Crosslake Days. Officer Sullivan also observed snowmobilers riding area trails after a small snowfall in the area. Fishing appears to be very slow for all anglers. Enforcement action was taken on unattended lines, snowmobile speed, and illegal youth operation.
Officer Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked anglers and ATVs on area lakes as activity appeared to slow down to mid-winter levels. Minimal snow conditions are making for rough trails and confining sled activity primarily to the lakes. A few rabbit hunters were checked making the most of the easy walking conditions.
Officer Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers on area lakes. The bite has seemed to slow but people are still picking up some fish as a handful of walleye and crappies were seen. Snowmobile trails are adequate as the recent warm up did not help them. A few more inches of snow and the trails should be good. The officer met with Isle School and the Isle Drift Skippers to complete the donation of a snowy owl to the school for educational purposes. Enforcement was taken for angling without a license in possession, angling with extra lines, possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.
Officer Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on area lakes throughout the week and weekend. Area snowmobile trails were patrolled and quite a few sleds were found out enjoying the recent snowfall. The officer worked with neighboring officers and the local sheriff's office patrolling the trails for a local event. A presentation to the Rippleside Elementary fifth graders was given on different furs and also conservation officer duties. Calls regarding ATVs on snowmobile trails and information about litter on area lakes was given out. A call regarding hunting related information and many outdoor law related questions were fielded.
Officer Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) readied evidence for upcoming court cases. She received reports of trespassing and burning of prohibited materials.
Officer Dan Starr (Onamia) found a slower bite this week due to changing weather patterns, however, assistance was given to a novice angler in catching a 27-inch walleye. The beginner took the advice of officer Starr and ended up landing a true trophy within a few minutes of coaching. Fish house litter was found and marked with GPS. TIP calls came in for extra lines, deer carcasses, and trespass issues. Arrangements were made for upcoming FAS and snowmobile safety classes.
Officer Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) dealt with several calls involving injured deer, owls and eagles. One of the animal reports resulted in finding a bald eagle that was resting after most likely eating more than its share of a deer carcass. Another report turned out to be an owl that had probably done the same thing. Both birds were fine and eventually continued on their way. Those reporting injured animals or birds were reminded that capturing wild critters they are concerned about is usually not recommended and often does more harm than good. Patrol activity throughout the week included checking ice fishing activity and following up on dogs chasing deer complaints.
Officer Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls this week regarding questions about target shooting in state forests, shelter licensing, and questions about trapping. He spent time checking anglers and also the Chengwatana State Forest for activity. Pan fish have been seen in a majority of angler's buckets checked. Assistance was also given to the Pine and Chisago County Sheriff's Departments in the successful apprehension of an individual who fled from deputies in a vehicle and on foot in Rock Creek.
Officer Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers during the week and weekend. Most trails were in decent shape but could use a few more inches of snow. The walleye bite seemed a bit sluggish over the weekend with most catching fish during the night hours. It is advised to keep cross country travel during daylight hours and stick to established roads during night hours. Also with windy conditions keep trash at bay using a strong garbage bag or trash container with a good lid.