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MnDNR CO Reports: Enforcing winter angling violations - Overlimits, illegal length, no license, extra lines, controlled substances.

Fish houses on Leech Lake's Walker Bay, December 17, 2018. Denton Newman Jr / Brainerd Dispatch

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Dec. 18, 2018

District 9 - Brainerd area

Conservation Officer (CO) Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports vehicles began driving on some area lakes this past week and angling activity increased. One common violation observed was no shelter license for occupied non-portable shelters. Sullivan also took enforcement action for overlimits of fish, illegal-length fish, no angling license, unattended lines, extra lines and possession of controlled substances.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this past week of checking ice angling and spearing activity. Trucks and ATVs were found illegally using a Grant-In-Aid (GIA) snowmobile trail and other posted closed trails to access a lake for fishing. Enforcement contacts were made for numerous violations involved with ice fishing including snowmobile and ATV registration, fishing licenses, driving without a valid license, no ATV safety certification, litter on the ice, unlicensed and improperly marked fish houses, and illegal truck and ATV operation on snowmobile trails and other closed areas.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked a busy weekend checking ice anglers and working on Upper Red Lake. Time was also spent investigating a deer complaint. Enforcement action for the week included failure to register deer, angling with extra lines, walleye overlimits, illegal-length walleyes, unattended lines, ATV registration issues, and narcotic possession.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, spearing and trapping activity.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports checking multiple anglers on various lakes around the area. Hughes also checked trapping activity and issued car-kill deer permits. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and trapping violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers were out trying their luck. Ice conditions vary from open-water areas to 14 inches of ice. Violations he observed this past week were unattended lines and no shelter license. The ice conditions continue to be dangerous and unpredictable. Large pressure ridges have developed on area lakes. He assisted the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office with the recovery of drowning victims from Fish Trap Lake. It appeared the two men drove their ATV onto thin ice that was created by a pressure crack. Tragically, they were unable to get out of the water and back on to thicker ice. He worked on complaints of deer-carcass dumping and trash left behind by anglers on Round Lake.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Nine to 15 inches of ice was seen on area lakes with 12 to 13 inches being the norm. Some time was spent working on deer season cases. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, northern pike in the slot, no spearing license, fish house violations, and unregistered ATVs.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Ben Karon (Isle) reports varied ice conditions on Mille Lacs Lake. Use caution and know ice conditions before venturing onto the ice. Please remember to check your ATV registration as this was a common violation found this past week.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) worked ice angling, ATV, and snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length walleyes, fishing without an angling license, failure to register an ATV, and failure to register snowmobiles. She responded to an ATV that went through the ice on Mille Lacs Lake. The warmer weather has led to poor ice conditions, cracks, and open-water areas forming on Mille Lacs Lake. Remember to travel on the ice with caution.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on deer-season cases. Anglers are reporting a good crappie bite on area lakes. Trappers turned in incidental animals. Questions about ice safety and youth and adult snowmobile safety training questions were answered. Speldrich assisted the DNR Honor Guard with preparations for CO Chelsie (Leuthardt) Grundhauser’s funeral.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ice-fishing activity and found extra lines, marijuana, and no license in possession. Ice conditions vary greatly, as warmer weather opened up some spots. Caution should be used when traveling on the ice. Starr played the role of “The Grinch” when he issued a citation to an individual who cut down and stole a Christmas tree out of a state park.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked a few grouse hunters and archery deer hunters out trying their luck. Fishing remains steady on area lakes and time was spent doing some vehicle maintenance.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) worked a trapping violation where a trapper had a body gripping trap that was not completely submerged and did not have the appropriate site tagging coupons. The trapper acquired them after the animals were trapped. Kuske attended firearms training at Camp Ripley, assisted a neighboring officer with equipment maintenance and took calls of incidental-caught fisher, finding a buck after muzzleloader season closed and a hunter shooting a hen pheasant.

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) reports spending time on equipment maintenance, checking ice fishing activity, and handling a litter complaint. Investigation was done on a hunting complaint regarding a small-game hunter who shot a hen pheasant and left it lay. The hunter knew he had been seen, so he went back later and hid the pheasant. Enforcement action was taken. Kyllo also attended the funeral/celebration of life for CO Chelsie (Leuthardt) Grundhauser.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area. He continues to work with the county attorney’s office in regards to a trespassing case. He found the ice conditions variable and anglers, as always, should use caution when venturing out on the ice. Pheasant hunters enjoyed the late-season warm weather.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking ice anglers. Equipment maintenance and administrative tasks were also completed. Lake ice thickness has improved but still remains variable with recent warmer weather.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week checking anglers, with the most common violation being the use of extra lines. A trespass call was investigated. Bertram also seized a fisher that was accidently taken by a raccoon trapper.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and pheasant hunters. Musatov received several animal complaints. Follow up was done on a big game investigation.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Krauel also completed equipment maintenance. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no license in possession, and possession of marijuana.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports working ice anglers and small-game hunters. Variable ice conditions were seen between lakes so be sure to check before heading out. Enforcement action was taken on no license in possession, extra lines, small amounts of marijuana, no ATV registration, and an overlimit of crappies.

Aviation Section

Natural Resources (NR) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a training flight with another pilot in a helicopter and helped prepare extra hangar space for winter storage of aviation equipment.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports continuing fish shelter creel flights, a bear den location flight and a telemetry flight for Camp Ripley. Jensen also flew two helicopter training flights including a night currency flight.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open water-related cases. Time was spent speaking to DNR land managers from various divisions regarding WCA laws and the CO role. Anglers and small-game hunters were checked.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spent the week working on WCA, PW and APM cases in his assigned area. Haberman also checked ice angler activity around Mille Lacs Lake. Haberman also attended the funeral for CO Chelsie (Leuthardt) Grundhauser. She will be truly missed.

WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) attend a technical evaluation panel meeting in Todd County. Several wetland cases went through the courts and judges set deadlines for restoration of the violations. A public water violation in Carver County is being reevaluated based on land easements and ownerships.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement

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