District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found some ice anglers having luck catching sunfish and crappies. While checking a hot crappie bite area, one individual was caught trying to keep extra fish. After finding a limit of fish in the angler’s 5-gallon bucket, more fish were found hidden under the snow. Other activity included patrolling snowmobile trails and dealing with complaints of wolves harassing livestock.
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity. Warmer weather and a local fishing contest brought out crowds. A couple inches of snow also boosted snowmobile traffic. Lack of required safety training is still an issue. Verkuilen also attended training and answered questions regarding fishing licenses, which expire next weekend.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored angling activity on Mille Lacs Lake. Griffith also spent several days on the snowmobile trials in the Isle station and surrounding stations. Anglers reported the bite to be slow. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, illegal-length walleyes, and fishing with extra lines.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling Mille Lacs Lake for fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for unmarked ice shelters and failure to display ice shelter tags. She also spent time patrolling snowmobile trails and reports the trails were in decent condition.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked area lakes with an uptick found in fishing success. Warmer weather and recent snow were welcomed by outdoor users. Violations for snowmobile registration, unattended lines, and drugs were found. Assistance was given with a stolen wheelhouse and to a license agent who needed help.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Snowmobile activity was steady with warmer weather. Anglers on Mille Lacs Lake were also out in good numbers, though they experienced lower success. Enforcement action was taken for various sport fishing and recreational vehicle-related violations. A call was fielded regarding wolves.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers this past week on local lakes. Time was also spent contacting ATV and snowmobile operators. Small-game hunting was also monitored.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Individuals are reporting a good perch bite on some of the area lakes. He patrolled area snowmobile trails, but conditions deteriorated quickly with the warm weather on Sunday. Vollbrecht attended training and worked a detail on Leech Lake with CO Cross.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) spent time checking anglers and snowmobilers around the Bemidji area and Lake of the Woods. Time was also spent training.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports fishing activity slowing and anglers beginning to remove shelters. Vinton tracked down one angler who left their vehicle parked at their shelter for more than a week. Property owners on the lake became concerned for the wellbeing of the angler when there was no activity at the fish house. Vinton located the owner with the assistance of the Rice Police Department and learned the vehicle wouldn’t start, so the owner left it there for the week. The angler was appreciative that Vinton checked on their safety. Enforcement action was taken for no shelter license, failure to mark shelters and no license in possession.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working on cases from the deer season. Swedberg also attended training. He continue to investigate multiple cases from the deer season as new information becomes available.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training and worked ongoing cases.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on snowmobile and angling activity, with warmer weather bringing more people out and about. Ice house removal was monitored as the removal deadlines near. Time was spent on follow up on complaints of illegal activity in area wildlife management areas.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) spend the majority of the past week checking ice anglers. Additional time was spent on snowmobile patrol, training, and responding to a medical emergency. Enforcement activity for the week included fishing without a license, no license in possession, unregistered and expired registration on ATVs and snowmobiles, and failure to transfer ownership on ATVs and snowmobiles. As a reminder, Hubbard County is under a deer feeding and attractant ban.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) responded to a snowmobile vs. deer crash. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, improper snowmobile road crossing, and CWD feeding ban violations.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the past week. Kunst noticed a high amount of snowmobile traffic over the weekend with the warmer weather in the Remer area. Trail conditions are still average due to the lack of snow this winter. Sunday’s snowfall did help for a smoother ride for the tail end of weekend traffic. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, an overlimit of crappies, failure to display ATV registration and expired snowmobile registration.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued checking anglers and snowmobile trails. Some time was spent working on Bear Committee items. The ice shelter removal date is approaching. Mathy checked on some troubled looking fish houses that haven’t received attention for a while. Enforcement action was taken for angling, snowmobile, and marijuana violations.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The bite has been slow, but some success for northern pike and sunfish on area lakes was observed. He worked on snowmobiling enforcement issues this past week. Violations observed were no fishing license, oversized fish and expired registration on snowmobiles. Complaints of extra lines and litter on Fish Trap Lake were investigated. He also spent time inspecting aerators on area lakes.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) assisted the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office with an investigation related to trespass and other hunting related violations. Time was spent on fishing enforcement at week’s end, but the bite was slow. Many snowmobile riders were seen on trails in what could be the last weekend for riding unless more snow is received.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued field training with a conservation officer candidate. The officers spent time patrolling Crow Wing and Cass county lakes and snowmobile trails. McGowan also spent time following up on big-game cases from last fall. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked a lot of snowmobile riders out in the warmer weather. Many riders were seen enjoying the trails. Anglers were starting to move their fish houses off the lakes before the March 1 deadline.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Training was attended and an incidental fisher and deer-feeding complaint were handled.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement this past week. He also attended training. Snowmobile operators are reminded to stay on the bottom or outside slope of the ditch when operating near public roadways.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking ice anglers throughout the past week and weekend. A few were having some luck and most were just trying to get out after the cold previous weeks. Time was spent patrolling arear snowmobile trails where lots of folks were out enjoying the nice weather. Fitzgerald also attended training and answered multiple outdoor law-related questions. Patrol was also done in the state recreation area for illegal vehicle activity and for park permits.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) spent time patrolling area snowmobile trails and angling activity. Ladd also worked a case where a wolf was shot and left on the side of the road to look like a roadkill.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked fishing and snowmobile enforcement this past week. A gross misdemeanor trespassing and hunter-harassment case was wrapped up. Enforcement action was taken for license and registration issues, no shelter tags and snowmobile trespass.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked ice fishing activity on area lakes. The majority of activity was observed on Gull Lake. Sullivan detected several violations including extra lines, unattended lines, no angling license, underage consumption and possession of a controlled substance.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) patrolled snowmobile trails and checked ice anglers on area lakes. There was an increase in activity this past weekend with the warmer weather. Enforcement action was taken for not having an angling license in personal possession, failure to display a valid shelter tag and identification on an unattended portable ice shelter, failure to display snowmobile registration numbers, and failure to display a valid ATV registration decal.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended training during the past week. Time was also spent checking anglers on area lakes. A modest bite was seen and warmer weather definitely brought out more anglers. Violations addressed included angling with extra lines and illegal-length pike.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) investigated complaints involving coyote hunters and littering complaints involving ice anglers. He fielded questions concerning new sunfish-limit restrictions on area lakes. He also handled a litter violation where someone dumped deer hides and heads on public water.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports checking anglers, hunters and snowmobile riders. Enforcement action for the past week consisted of nonportable shelter violations, no angling licenses in possession and failure to display current snowmobile registration. He also reports attending training and completing equipment maintenance. A reminder that dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice no later than midnight on March 1.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) received notice that an angler’s fishing privileges have been revoked due to receiving multiple fishing citations from Bertram. This same angler is currently under revocation for big-game hunting after Bertram caught him shooting several deer over the limit. Time will tell if the individual changes his behavior or continues to have no regard for fish and game laws.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports patrolling area snowmobile trails during the nice weekend weather. Enforcement was taken for expired registrations and excessively loud mufflers. A virtual career presentation was given to a natural resources class at the Milaca High School. Benkofske also assisted in the recovery of two patients from a rollover crash and in the tracking of suspects who fled the scene of a crash on Highway 47 in Isanti County.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and snowmobile riders, and patrolled state and county lands. Calls were also taken on dogs chasing deer, injured animals, and snowmobile trespass.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobile activity. While patrolling on snowmobile, Krauel observed a group of snowmobilers crossing a private agricultural field. When Krauel stopped the group and asked them why they left the trail and were trespassing, the individuals told him the trail wasn’t a direct route to where they were going, they were tired of riding in the ditch and they saw other snowmobile tracks in the snow. When Krauel asked them why they went beyond the other tracks, they stated it wasn’t that far. Krauel would like to remind all snowmobilers to stay on the trail when enjoying grant-in-aid trails. Enforcement action was taken for agricultural trespass on a snowmobile, no registration on a snowmobile, and angling without a license.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Violations were found for no registration. Animal-related calls were handled and follow up was done on a litter complaint.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew two wolf telemetry pack counts, a bear den telemetry location flight and a Lake Vermillion fish house count. Poor weather canceled some Duluth fish house counts.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying fish shelter creel flights and a PCA solid waste evidence photo flight.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended to vehicle issues and continued to prepare for next week’s class on aerial application treatment of cattails. He also attended aviation webinars.
CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) reports Duluth creel survey flights were completed, as were shelter counts on area lakes. Online training courses were completed. Aircraft and vehicle maintenance was tended to.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week patrolling the Becker and Otter Tail county areas for fishing and winter activity. Time was spent working on open cases and updating files. Online training was completed.
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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement