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Fish house removal a struggle this year - MnDNR CO Reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - March 4, 2019

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports continued patrol of anglers and snowmobilers. She investigated a report of illegal disposal. She also took multiple calls of fish houses stuck on lakes due to slush and water on top of ice. Enforcement action for the week included failure to renew registration. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports a lot of time has been spent receiving phone calls and other reports of fish house owners struggling to remove their fish houses from area lakes. In one instance on Lake Winnibigoshish, anglers were stuck with a large fish house and a plow truck. The anglers were transported from their fish house to an awaiting friend on shore with assistance from an area resort. The fish house and truck remain stuck. Several other stories of stuck fish houses were received and many are finding it hard to stomach the cost of hiring specialty removal services because of the cost. Direction given to the anglers was the removal deadline would not be adjusted and to continue to work at removing the houses as conditions typically get worse rather than better as the spring nears. Mathy also attended computer training and received calls of wolves harassing dogs, trucks on a snowmobile trail, and turkeys found dead near a roadway. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled trails on snowmobile. Most sleds were registered and were following the speed limits. Calls regarding injured deer were investigated. Folks were reminded to not feed deer.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) checked area lakes for remaining shelters and spoke with individuals who were struggling to remove shelters due to current lake conditions. Sullivan attended training at Camp Ripley and patrolled snowmobile activity in the area. Calls about deer struggling in the deep snow were also fielded. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) spent time patrolling Crow Wing and Cass county snowmobile trails. He also completed follow up on big-game cases from last fall. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrolling area snowmobile trails for snowmobile activity. Even with the colder weather lots of sleds were out enjoying the great trail conditions. Time was spent monitoring fishing activity in the SRA, where conditions were tough going on the lakes with the amount of slush. Fitzgerald patrolled the SRA for illegal park activity and answered many law-related questions during the week and weekend. Several calls of injured deer were fielded and assistance was given to a local agency for a call for service. Enforcement action for the week included various snowmobile violations. 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Shelters were documented in the event of removal issues. 

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked area snowmobile trails where several riders were contacted about staying on the trail and not trespassing to get into deeper snow. Ladd also made several contacts this past week working with anglers to remove their fish houses by the deadline.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) monitored fish house removals, debris getting left behind, and houses still snowed in. He also attended training and worked snowmobile traffic. Area wildlife is showing signs of winter stress including conglomerating in plowed areas.

CO Ben Karon (Isle) started off the week dealing with the aftermath of the snow event. Time was spent patrolling area trails for snowmobile activity. Training at Camp Ripley and court in Cottonwood County took up a lot of time this past week.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) patrolled on area snowmobile trails. She assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office in helping stranded people on Mille Lacs Lake. She has also been monitoring shelters that are still on area lakes. People are reminded of the shelter removal deadline.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended Moose Lake School Career Day with CO Staples. Speldrich worked area snowmobile trails for speed in response to complaints. Snowmobilers were compliant with speed but a few failed to affix their new registration. Lakes were patrolled and ice shelters that look like they may be left after the March 4 deadline were documented. When removing your ice shelters please make sure all litter, including wood frozen in the ice, is removed.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored fish house removal and ice road disputes. Assistance was given to a variety of motorist needs during the week, as roads were found to be treacherous. Snowmobile activity was found to be high, with compliance found to be good. Starr would like to remind snowmobile owners that loud exhaust is illegal and generates complaints from residents along the trail.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated a complaint of coyote hunters illegally letting their dogs out to run through private property and handled calls of car kill deer. Kuske worked snowmobile trail enforcement, angling enforcement and equipment maintenance on truck and snowmobile. Travel on area lakes has gotten difficult with the deep snow and areas of slush. Kuske has seen many trucks get stuck when traveling off the paved ice roads. A call requesting to burn a barn was referred to DNR Forestry and calls were taken of questions about deer feeding and the CWD-positive deer that was found near Merrifield. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) reports that compliance with the upcoming fish house removal deadline has been good despite difficult weather conditions. Snowmobile trails continue to be excellent with many snowmobilers contacted. Kyllo also spent time this past week teaching at a snowmobile safety class attended by approximately 48 students. 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week patrolling station snowmobile trails and monitoring area lakes for the fish house deadline. A meeting was attended and assistance was provided to the Todd County Sheriff’s Office with a domestic assault call. Silgjord also worked with CO Chad Thesing on a weekend snowmobile patrol of Stearns County trails. A good majority of trail-goers was found to be in compliance, with only a couple minor violations being addressed. Follow up was conducted on a snowmobile registration and transfer violation where it was found that an owner of snowmobile had been stopped by CO Bertram for the same violation on the same machine a year prior. Enforcement action was taken on both occasions.   

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. GPS coordinates and identification were recorded for the few ice fishing shelters remaining on station lakes. The deadline for ice shelter removal is Monday, March 4.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week working fish house removal activity. Snowmobilers were out in full force with the excellent trail conditions. A few coyote hunters were also checked.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. Violations were found for no registration and failure to transfer ownership. A trespass complaint was investigated.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports working snowmobilers and ice anglers over the past week. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without valid licenses, expired snowmobile registration, speeding on snowmobiles, and excessive exhaust noise. A trapping meeting was also attended in Isanti County.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) focused on snowmobile and angling enforcement, and also spoke at a local high school trap meeting. Complaints were taken regarding snowmobiles going off trail onto private property.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking snowmobilers and working angling activity. Krauel also assisted Wildlife staff in the survey of a new WMA acquisition. Krauel also checked for fish house identification compliance with the upcoming shelter removal deadline.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement

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