CO Reports: "No 2022 license? No 2021 license either? And is that 9 crappies I see?"

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - March 15, 2022

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Amber Ladd (Aitkin) checked area lakes for shelters left on the ice after the deadline. One portable was worked that Ladd had been keeping an eye on all winter as it was not licensed. She was able to make contact with the owner after some investigation and the owner was in possession of nine crappies. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the angler had not purchased a 2022 angling license yet, and he also did not have a 2021 angling license. Ladd also patrolled area snowmobile trails.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports snowmobile trails remained in stable condition this week but with warmer weather in the near future the trails will deteriorate quickly. Snow depths are decreasing on area lakes and anglers are having better luck with cross-country travel. Anglers in the area reported having success catching crappies and eelpout.


CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and snowmobilers. Snowmobile trails are still good to ride and many riders are taking advantage of the good snow year. Benkofske notes great compliance was observed with getting permanent fish houses off the ice in time for the deadline. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration, not stopping at stop signs, and no fishing licenses.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled snowmobile trails and lakes for activity. Numerous sleds were out enjoying the warm weather and maybe the last of the good trail-riding conditions. A registration-display violation was detected and a few collector permits were issued. A pickup truck operator was addressed for operating on a snowmobile trail. A couple of nuisance-animal calls were fielded.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time throughout the week checking ice anglers and snowmobilers. A detail was worked in Cook County. Enforcement action included snowmobile speed, registration, and loud exhaust on snowmobiles.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked snowmobilers expecting to be done with the season with warm weather coming. He attended training for Honor Guard and funerals for retired Border Patrol Agent Gordon Reed and retired CO Kurt Nelson.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked snowmobile, fishing and trapping enforcement activity this week. Enforcement action was taken for excessive speed, registration issues, shelters left out after the deadline, extra lines, and motorized vehicle operation on GIA snowmobile trail.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile trails. He worked a detail on Lake of the Woods with CO Huener.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling the area lakes for fish house removal, litter and shelters that may have been left at public accesses. Anglers fishing from portables are finding slushy conditions as they use ATVs and snowmobiles. Vehicles are limited to plowed roads. As weather conditions begin warming, anglers should begin practicing good late ice safety measures.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking area lakes for fishing activity and making sure all fish house in the southern half of the station were removed. Swedberg also prepared for an upcoming court trial from a case that began in the fall of 2020.


CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on snowmobile activity. Anglers and fish house removals were monitored. Questions were answered about aquatic vegetation permits and a call of an injured deer was investigated. Warren also assisted Becker County searching for a missing person.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for snowmobile and angling activity. He also attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to primarily check anglers and snowmobile trails. Trails remain in good condition and fishing success as well as overall lake travel remain difficult. Time was spent working on a public water alteration case that resulted in enforcement action for failing to comply with a restoration order. Mathy also completed training and worked on testing the new enhanced bear bait registration website. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) verified all station lakes had been cleared of fish houses by the deadline. Snowmobile trails are still in good condition. Training was completed and big-game cases were followed up on.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area lakes and snowmobile trails. Baum made contact with anglers taking advantage of nice weather. He was also able to check a few snowmobilers out for possibly the last ride of the year. Baum wants to remind everyone of the upcoming deadline for fish house removal in the northern part of the state.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for taking fish without a license, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and for speeding on a snowmobile.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) followed up with open cases. She also assisted with vehicle stop resulting in a DWI arrest.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activity over the past week with some panfish and tullibee activity out on area lakes. The snow and slush are still deep, but with the weather warming in the near future it looks like it will begin to be easier to move around on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a new 2022 angling license. Angling licenses were good through the end of February and new ones are now needed for the new season.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked anglers and recreational vehicle activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints and checking fish houses. The removal deadline on northern inland waters is March 21.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. Snowmobile trails are starting to deteriorate with the high use and warm weather over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for an unregistered snowmobile, failure to transfer snowmobile ownership, angling with unattended lines, and several angling license violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports fishing success in the surrounding area has slowed dramatically and most anglers who were checked had very little to show for their efforts. Please remember the fish house removal date for the northern portion of the state is March 21.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked late-season ice anglers and found some pike being caught. One individual was cited for having two tip-ups out on the lake while he was back in the cabin. A call came in from a local butcher shop owner who had a cow get loose and was on the run. The panicked owner was asking about legalities of hunting the wild beef as compared to wild game. Starr explained the laws that applied and suggested he pursue a shooting preserve permit if the current mishap becomes more frequent.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement this week. Time was spent patrolling area snowmobile trails nearing the end of the season. Mille Lacs Lake had anglers searching for perch, tullibees, and pike this week. Low success was seen but those out were found to be enjoying the spring-time weather.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent time on equipment and squad maintenance. Time was spent on area lakes and neighboring stations lakes for angling and snowmobile enforcement. Snowmobile trails are rough but there is still heavy activity in the area. Several questions about area angling activity and trail conditions were answered. With warmer weather coming, please use caution on lakes and rivers as ice conditions can change quickly.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers, monitored snowmobile activity, assisted local law enforcement, and spent time out on Pierz Lake with the fifth- and sixth-grade class from Royalton during their ice fishing trip. Enforcement action was taken for failure to transfer ownership of snowmobile, no registration decal or numbers displayed, expired snowmobile registration, and no snowmobile safety certification.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week working on fish houses that were not removed by the deadline. Snowmobilers were checked. Bertram also responded to a call where two dogs killed a deer.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) confirmed fishing shelters were removed from area lakes. Owners who left them out were contacted and advised of the violations. He is seeing ice conditions along north shorelines deteriorating quickly on sunny days. Some winter vehicle maintenance was also completed this week.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the area for ice shelters. There has been good compliance with the removal deadline. Let’s keep it up and also remove all the trash on the lakes.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) assisted with looking for shelters left on the ice after the removal deadline and checked a few anglers.

Standby NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) participated in Women in Aviation week social media posts highlighting Women’s History Month. She was also interviewed for the DNR Spotlight electronic newsletter.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued flight training with another pilot and worked on helicopter maintenance issues. He also completed administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) completed training flights for a new pilot. He assisted with a flight making sure area lakes were clear of ice houses. Scott worked on program and manual updates. Aircraft logs were reviewed and maintenance was attended to.

Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) conducted a flight over Mille Lacs Lake checking for any shelters or garbage left on the ice. Overall, the lake was cleared well. Training tasks and training flights were also conducted.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) progressed through flight training and attended to administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases. Time was spent following up on case progress with officers.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Time was spent checking lakes for fish houses left after the removal deadline. Snowmobiling enforcement was worked with trails being utilized greatly.

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