Time to start preparing your fish house removal - MnDNR CO Reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Feb. 21, 2020

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Shelters must be removed from inland waters in the southern two-thirds of the state by midnight on March 2, and from inland waters in the northern one-third by midnight on March 16.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Anglers enjoyed the warmer weather over the weekend and the ability to travel around most area lakes without running into slush. Area snowmobile and cross-country ski trails were patrolled.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling snowmobile trails. A detail was worked with three other Minnesota COs and two Ontario officers. They spent their time focusing on the enforcement of the border water regulations on Lake of the Woods. Multiple citations were issued for various angling related violations.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports angling has slowed and local snowmobile trails are getting a bit rough. Vinton has taken calls of litter being left on area lakes and is following up on those complaints. Anglers should be reminded the shelter removal date is fast approaching and all shelters need to be removed in the Perham area the first Monday of March. No shelters may be left or stored at area public accesses. Enforcement action was taken for no licenses in possession, failure to transfer ownership of snowmobiles, unregistered ATVs and failure to mark shelters on the ice.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders, and assisting with Polar Fest activities. Many people were checked over the weekend as the annual Polar Fest ended with a snowmobile ride and fireworks on the lake. Most snowmobilers complied their registration and all youth who were checked had taken snowmobile safety.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked snowmobile enforcement and conducted angling and shelter checks. Angling action is still slow but picking up due to better lake conditions.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked continued to work fishing and snowmobiling activity. Fishing activity has increased as lakes become more navigable. Reminder that the angling season for most species on inland lakes ends on Feb. 23, 2020, and new angling licenses will be required on March 1.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) checked snowmobilers riding trails and area lakes. The trails are in great condition, but the lakes are not. He also checked ice angers, some of whom reported catching nice fish. The ice conditions are good and folks are able to get around easily. Complaints of litter left behind by ice anglers are becoming more frequent. Cars and trucks driving on snowmobile trails have been reported and investigated. They are a problem for snowmobilers and landowners.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working angling and snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of sunfish, unattended lines, expired registration, and taking fish without an angling license. Kunst wants to remind anglers to ensure their angling licenses are in personal possession before going out onto the ice to fish. It is a violation to not have your angling license in possession while fishing.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports area lakes continue to see an uptick in activity. Slush has subsided and moving around has become less of a problem. Snowmobile trails are still getting a lot of use. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.

District 9 - Brainerd area


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and snowmobile and trail enforcement this past week. Illegal drugs and contraband were seized from an individual using them in an angling shelter on public water. Shelter license violations were addressed. Anglers were also cited for extra line violations.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) continued snowmobile patrols and checked ice fishing activity in the area. He also attended training in Duluth. Anglers reported better travel conditions on area lakes with mixed fishing success.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for snowmobile and angling activity. McGowan also spent time following up on deer cases from this past fall. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) assisted with natural resource officer training and helped out with a kids’ fishing day in McGregor, where several school kids got to learn all the skills of ice fishing.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking anglers out on area mine pits and found a few were having some luck at catching some nice trout. Area trails were patrolled for snowmobile activity and quite a few sleds were out enjoying the great trail conditions. He completed a case of a public access violation and fielded many outdoor law-related questions during the week and weekend. Time was spent patrolling the SRA for illegal vehicle activity and for state park vehicle permits. Enforcement action was taken for various fishing and snowmobile violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked snowmobile and fishing activity throughout the past week. She covered lots of miles on the trails, which are in OK condition after the warm weather on Saturday. Enforcement action was taken for multiple expired snowmobile registrations, no licenses and no safety certificates.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity. Radiant snow melt is freezing houses in but making travel easier. Snowmobile traffic was enforced although trails are also icy and showing wear. Verkuilen also assisted with a medical call, helped some shed antler hunters with public land boundaries, and answered questions about turkey hunting.


CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ice angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action taken for extra lines, failure to have ice shelter license, failure to properly identify an ice shelter, and failure to have a fishing license in possession. She spent time teaching kids how to fish with tip-ups at a kids’ fishing event in McGregor. Whiteoak also spent time in training.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week in her station and on Mille Lacs Lake. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and no angling license in possession.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) made arraignments to cover safety classes in empty stations and gave a laws and ethics talk for a firearms safety class in the Pierz area. Follow up was completed on incidental furs and a pending court case that is coming up.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity in the station. A presentation was provided to Melrose High School students for their career day. Calls regarding wildlife issues and littering were fielded and investigated. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession, angling with extra lines, allowing illegal operation of an ATV, failure to transfer ownership of an ATV, juvenile operator/passenger without a helmet on an ATV and an unmarked ice shelter.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with neighboring schools on topics pertaining to a career as a conservation officer. He also worked with the school’s area fishing club regarding laws and ethics of the sport of fishing. VanderWeyst received calls of a vehicle that went through the ice. Fishing shelters with no ID on them were addressed, and he closed out administrative tasks with past deer cases.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports conducting equipment maintenance, inspection and inventory. He assisted CO Kampa with a TIP report and has been monitoring angling, spearing, trapping and snowmobile activity within the station. An early reminder that shelters must be off the ice no later than midnight on March 2, 2020.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of his time checking anglers. Nuisance- and injured-animal calls were taken. Bertram also spoke at the Swanville snowmobile safety class.


District 12 - Princeton area

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of fishing and ATV violations. A deer-hunting case concluded in regards to unlawful party hunting. Assistance was given to other local law enforcement agencies for an ongoing assault and wrong-way drivers. TIP calls were taken and investigated.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, angling with extra lines, possession of marijuana, no snowmobile registration, possession of illegal-length walleyes, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, small-game hunters and trappers. She also provided a ride-along and took complaints on trespass and injured animals.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew helicopter deer surveys from New Ulm to the Iowa border during the week. Heineman also flew a wolf telemetry count.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a CWD deer density flight and repositioning an aircraft after maintenance.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended his annual pesticide aerial applicator training in preparation for this year’s spraying of invasive hybrid cattails. Aerial application techniques, chemical product reviews, and accident and safety items were reviewed. He also helped complete deer surveys in New Ulm area, and a special city deer survey for Mankato.


Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent time checking fishing and snowmobiling activity. Open cases were worked on with DNR and local government units. A conference call was conducted with Ecological and Water Resources staff.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Snowmobile activity and ice fishing were checked. He participated in a conference call with Ecological and Water Resources staff and worked on Academy training.

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