District 4 - Walker area
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) reports monitoring fishing and trapping activity. Anglers reported poor success this week. Even with the cold weather, ice conditions vary greatly from lake to lake and ice is not consistent. Anglers on Leech Lake reported a wide range of ice thickness ranging from 8 to 21 inches. Anglers on smaller lakes reported ice thickness from 8 to 13 inches. Several vehicles were observed on area lakes. CO Broughten had to remind a few anglers just because its January doesn’t mean the ice is ready. Lack of snow has limited snowmobile activity. Trails have been groomed but will need more snow to make them passable.
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) spent the week working snowmobile and ice fishing enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for immeasurable carcasses, walleye over-limit, extra lines, no shelter tags, and no licenses. CO Best also assisted with a physical disturbance in Hill City and took a report for poaching activity in the Lake George station.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and continued work on a background investigation. Complaints of ATV’s in closed area, dogs chasing turkeys, and birch pole cutting were received and are being investigated. Assistance was provided at an injury snowmobile crash near Longville where the operator hit a tree. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) saw increased vehicle traffic on area lakes as the cold weather has made for better ice conditions. In addition to checking anglers on area lakes, work details were worked on Red Lake and Leech Lake. Enforcement activity included false application for a combination husband/wife angling license, angling without licenses, possession of marijuana, expired ATV and snowmobile registrations, no shelter licenses, and several instances of using too many lines.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for angling and snowmobile activity. A couple of young snowmobilers had snowmobile trouble and called for assistance. The operators were reminded to have their snowmobile safety certificates with them while operating. Officer Guida also gave out car injured deer permits. One passerby reported a car killed mountain lion on the roadway near Pillager. It turned out to be a dead whitetail deer.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this week of checking ice fishing, snowmobile, and cross country ski activity. Outdoor recreational activity was found to be minimal with subzero temps through the holiday weekend.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Cuyuna SRA) reports assisting with a Snowmobile Safety Class where approximately 20 students were certified even with the cold weather. Calls were received regarding damage to trees in the SRA and reckless operation of motor vehicles in the SRA. The officer answered many outdoor law related questions and also monitored snowmobile traffic on area trails. Patrol was done in the SRA for park violations also. Fishing activity was monitored and assistance was given to local agencies on several calls for service. A call of an incidentally trapped fisher was also handled. Enforcement action for the week included various SRA violations.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity. A minor in possession of alcohol was addressed. Assistance was given to a snowmobiler who had broken through a bog on a remote trail.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked ice fishing activity and observed larger wheel houses and vehicle traffic increase through the week. Ice is still thin in select areas on certain lakes. Anglers were enjoying the start to the ice fishing season for the most part but one angler was very upset that the game warden would knock on his shelter at 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night to check a fishing license. CO Sullivan observed four unattended lines being used by the subject and enforcement action was taken. Other violations included no angling license, no shelter license, expired ATV registration, and illegal parking at a public access.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd West) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement. The ice anglers were out trying their luck. Ice conditions vary from open water areas to 14 inches of ice. Violations CO Posner observed were unattended lines and extra hooks. The ice conditions have improved, however slush and large pressure ridges have developed on Gull Lake and other area lakes. CO Posner worked the complaints of speeding snowmobilers on Gull Lake. Other violations observed were no safety certificate and fail to display registration information on ice shelters.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity as the ice thickened to over a foot in a lot of areas. Getting on and off the ice continued to generate violations as a lot of ATV registrations ran out at the end of the year and juvenile passengers venture out without helmets. Officer Verkuilen also followed up on a trapping complaint and checked some rabbit hunters making use of the snow cover.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers on area lakes throughout the week. Ice conditions varied around the lakes and the bite had slowed with the bitter cold. Some anglers did have some luck and were able to bring home some fish. A handful of snowmobilers were out but the cold kept them at bay as well. Follow up was conducted on a deer shining case from late October.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) conducted background investigation interviews for a potential new hire. She received calls for car kill deer permits and answered ice angling questions.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked snowmobile and fishing activities during a very cold week that hampered outdoor activities. Shelter license violations were encountered, as some folks are not aware of the fish house law change. Some pike are showing up in the spearing houses, along with large walleyes. CO Starr checked on a vehicle that had just ran into the ditch to find it was stolen. The suspects were walking from the scene and the responsible person was arrested after a brief altercation with the conservation officer. Charges will also be filed for multiple narcotics charges in addition to stealing the car.
CO Eugene Wynn worked a short holiday week by following up on dogs chasing deer complaints and checking ice fishermen. Bitter cold temps have helped ice conditions in the area and fishing remains spotty with a majority of anglers chasing pan fish.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen during the week and weekend. Cold temps made fishing a little slower but walleyes were still biting on Mille Lacs with a number of keepers seen. With the New Year, remember to look at your ATV licenses which expires on the first. A number of parties were contacted possessing marijuana. One party said he and his friends were talking about being checked just moments before I arrived. He said it was just a matter of time before he was going to get caught.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) worked ongoing case investigations. He checked anglers on frozen lakes. CO Patten also assisted State Patrol troopers.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked area lakes this past week and weekend for fishing activity. She also worked snowmobile enforcement. She handled a call involving a sick swan north of Deer River. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activity over the past week. With the colder temperatures some anglers still made it out to the lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, not having a license on a shelter left on the ice unattended over-night, and not having a license in possession. One angler was arrested when it was discovered that they had an outstanding warrant for their arrest.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. The cold weather seems to have slowed anglers’ success on area lakes. CO Van Asch assisted at a snowmobile safety class held by the Haypoint Jackpine Snowmobile Club in Hill City. Area snowmobile trails are still in need of additional snow. Enforcement action was taken for illegal length walleye, no angling license in possession, unregistered snowmobile, and failing to display current snowmobile registration.