CO Reports: Snowmobile trail conditions are good

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - March 8, 2022

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District 4 - Walker area

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for snowmobile and ice angling activity. He observed decreased angling activity on area lakes. Snowmobile trail conditions are good with many snowmobilers enjoying the area. Baum took enforcement action for various snowmobile violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for snowmobile and angling activity throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. Several lakes in the area have lowered sunfish and/or crappie limits on March 1; be sure to check for changes before continuing fishing. Hughes also responded to a snowmobile crash.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports that snow and ice conditions are still favorable but suggests closely monitoring ice conditions as some lakes are becoming slushy. Calls included complaints about nuisance animals, an injured eagle, an abandoned snowmobile, snowmobile trespass, and possible shoreline/public waters violations. Snowmobile enforcement action consisted of snowmobile trespass, modified muffler, no registration, no trail pass, and failure to display registration numbers. He would like to remind anglers to leave no trace and to adhere to the shelter removal deadline/rules.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) found limited angling activity over the week with most houses off the lakes prior to the shelter removal deadline. Snowmobile trails were patrolled. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of fishing and snowmobile-related violations as well as taking firewood from a state forest without a permit.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check anglers and snowmobile trails. Perch anglers started having better success this past week. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.


District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) took enforcement action this week for extra lines, registration issues, operating on a closed trail, speeding and failure to stop. Trails are deteriorating and fishing remains slow.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking ice anglers and snowmobilers. Conditions for winter activities continue to be favorable. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, overlimit of walleyes, no snowmobile registration, and no snowmobile trail pass for out-of-state snowmobiles.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) worked a snowmobile detail in the Finland area. Most of the fish houses are off the lakes for the season. Slush made it difficult for many people to remove them. He staffed the TIP Wall of Shame at the Deerwood Gun Show.


CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports snowmobile trails in the area are still in good condition and snowmobile activity continues to be high. Anglers in the area have been busy removing permanent shelters off area lakes due to the fish house removal deadline.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored area lakes and snowmobile trails. Several fish houses were marked on area lakes as the deadline for removal approaches. He worked a detail on Lake of the Woods with CO Huener.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports completing background investigations for potential new conservation officers and patrolling area lakes for fish house removal. Most lakes had been cleared of fish houses before the pending removal date. Area snowmobile trails appear to remain in good condition.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) worked area snowmobile trails and fishing activity. Many snowmobilers were seen, and most were law-abiding. Trail conditions remain fair, with trails near roads suffering from warm conditions. Fishing was very poor through most of the county, with most anglers reporting that they were struggling to get a single bite. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license, operating an unregistered snowmobile, operating a snowmobile with a modified muffler, and speeding on a snowmobile.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training, completed a background investigation and received calls about wildlife mortality. He also fielded a complaint of damage to a groomed snowmobile trail.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) monitored angling and snowmobile activity.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) reports activity on snowmobile trails remained steady through the week. Trail conditions are deteriorating with the warmer weather. Griffith would like to remind anglers to pick up their 2022 fishing license. Time was also spent working with a Mille Lacs County deputy working snowmobile trails and Mille Lacs Lake.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a littering complaint in the Denham area. The responsible person was interviewed and the incident seems to be accidental. The litter will be cleaned up. Speldrich checked area lakes for ice shelters that may be left after the deadline. Snowmobilers are still out on the trails enjoying the snow. Speldrich attended a LEMA meeting and training for the upcoming May 15th memorial services.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) finished a background investigation and worked ice anglers and snowmobile activity. Fish houses were checked and marked for the upcoming removal deadline. Pike were being difficult, but some panfish are cooperating. Starr visited with kids at a local youth fishing event and tried to assist them with their fishing efforts.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked the tail end of the snowmobiling and ice fishing season. Time was also spent conducting equipment maintenance. Anglers are reminded that the southern fish house removal deadline is March 7.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) talked to the sixth-grade class at Pierz Pioneer Elementary about ice and water safety and spent time out on Platte Lake with the kids during their ice fishing field trip. Unfortunately, no one caught a fish but everyone enjoyed plenty of hot dogs and hot chocolate along with the prizes that were given out to the kids. A special thanks to the Harding Sportsman’s Club for making the day a success. Ice anglers were checked and snowmobile activity was monitored throughout the week.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week working fish house removal deadline issues. Enforcement action was taken for license and registration violations. Training was also completed.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobile activity. Trail use has been very heavy since the last snow with numerous snowmobilers out enjoying the fresh snow. Krauel also worked on preparing for the fish house removal deadline by documenting trash and other items frozen into the ice near fish houses.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) fielded calls for service about the new sunfish regulations. Hanna reminded anglers that every lake has potential for special regulations and to look for yellow signs posted at major access points.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew with a local CO inspecting aeration use on lakes in Otter Tail County. Also, with the assistance of a TFO he flew a snowmobile speed enforcement flight in Region 2.

Standby NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) completed administrative tasks and end-of-season wrap up with an area biologist.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a wolf survey. During the survey flight, an unpermitted aeration system and illegal deer feeding area were discovered.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued flight training with a pilot in a helicopter and worked on administrative tasks. He also worked on helicopter maintenance items.

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

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases, following up on a fish house litter complaint and getting the suspect to clean it up, checking anglers and snowmobilers, and completing administrative work.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued working on a background for the next CO Academy. Case work was worked on and a deed restriction removed. Snowmobile trail enforcement was worked.

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