District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports fishing, boating and invasive species enforcement continue to be the main emphasis of the weeks’ work activities.
The Memorial Day weekend was very busy on Rainy Lake with lots of people enjoying the nice weather. People are reminded that fish with special size-limit regulations differing from statewide regulations must remain measurable while transporting them on the water.
Enforcement action for the weekend included no fishing license in possession and illegal fish transportation.
My heart and prayers go out to Conservation Officer Sarah Grell’s family. She will always be with you, our DNR Enforcement Division and the outdoors of Minnesota. Rest in peace, Sarah.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) continued to check anglers fishing the Rainy River and Rainy Lake. With the busy Memorial Day weekend, there were many people out on the water.
Aquatic invasive species checks were conducted in the area as well. Enforcement action taken this past week was for no license in possession, insufficient number of personal flotation devices and expired boat registration.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports angling activity remains strong, with success observed in select areas. Overall, anglers seem to be having a difficult time due to inconsistent weather. A focus was on invasive species compliance, with several contacts made for various violations including failing to remove drain plugs from live wells and bilge drains. Miscellaneous wildlife-related issues were addressed.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports checking area lakes for boating and angling activities. Forest roads were monitored for ATV activity. Beaver problems continue. Injured and dead animals on roadways were dealt with. Equipment work is ongoing.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) transferred into the Hibbing station and spent time getting reacquainted with the area and meeting with many new people. In addition, time was also spent working ATV enforcement, responding to nuisance-bear complaints and honoring the passing of CO Sarah Grell in Grand Rapids.
Violations encountered included ATV passengers under 18 with no helmets on; failure to display ATV registration; failure to transfer ownership of an ATV; operating an ATV with no headlights on; and operating an ATV in a state park.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports time was spent responding to various nuisance-animal and litter calls. He also fielded a complaint involving a permanent encampment that had been built on state land for some time now. Surrounding lakes and trails were also patrolled over the week.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating and ATV activity. Fishing success continued to be limited this week and cooler weather appeared to hamper recreational boating activity. Broughten also fielded calls regarding nuisance animals and fishing regulations.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports the holiday weekend was extremely busy with ATV and angling activity all throughout the Ely area. The angling report was generally slow for walleyes but several anglers reported a decent smallmouth bite.
Violations included angling without a license, failure to display current ATV registration, and operating an ATV without a safety certificate.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers this past week. He also took several calls on nuisance animals and issues with fishing license purchases.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers and watercraft in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness during a work detail. He also monitored ATV riders and worked aquatic invasive species.
Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) mourned the loss of her Academy member, co-worker and friend, CO Sarah Grell. Manning and other DNR and LEMA Honor Guard members devoted time to providing her family, co-workers and community with a ceremony befitting her dedication to them and the environment she worked to protect.
Manning closed out a gravel-theft case, took a report of a nuisance bear, and checked ATV operators, anglers and boaters.
Folks are reminded that bears are out and hungry so it is time to put away wildlife feeders, secure trash receptacles and remove all food from the car or truck.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a couple of BWCAW patrols over the last week with COs Zavodnik and Broughten. The funeral for CO Sarah Grell was attended. The lakes are busy and violations have been prevalent.
Enforcement action included numerous groups in possession of cans and glass in the BWCAW; possession of marijuana; fishing without a license; fishing with an extra line; transporting fish without skin patches; unregistered watercraft; and numerous youth ATV passengers without helmets.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and watercraft activity this past week. Time was spent in the BWCAW as well.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a very busy weekend in Cook County. The wind and varying weather kept most recreational boaters at bay but some diehard walleye anglers were contacted trying their luck. Some nice fish were seen coming out of the BWCAW. Boating safety, especially life jacket enforcement, was conducted as well.
One person was cited for not having any life jackets for them and their partner on board. To make matters worse, the front person in the canoe was seen standing up while the canoe was underway. Water temperatures are in the mid-50s and any exposure to cold water could prove tragic.
ATVs were also abundant. One person was observed operating their ATV in the lane of traffic on a paved county road. They were also seen crossing over the center line multiple times. A traffic stop was conducted and the operator was arrested for DUI. Their alcohol concentration was over twice the legal limit.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and boating activity over the busy holiday weekend. Fishing success was up among most anglers checked, and watercraft use was high as boaters enjoyed the nice weather.
Boaters are reminded to check all safety equipment before heading out on the water and make sure to have a life jacket for every person, as required by law.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
Reports for this district were unavailable.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spent most of the week in Grand Rapids planning and preparing for CO Sarah Grell’s funeral as part of the Division’s Honor Guard team. CO Grell will be missed. Rest in peace, Sarah.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent some time working fishing on area lakes and shore areas. ATV-complaint areas were also monitored. Duncan also worked on a public water issue involving an area lake.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) attended funeral services for CO Sarah Grell as part of the DNR Enforcement Division’s honor guard. Humphrey worked fishing, boating and off-highway vehicle enforcement over the busy Memorial Day weekend. Anglers in the area reported mixed results.
Nuisance- and orphaned-animal calls/questions were received. Humphrey encountered violations for various items, including off-highway vehicle operation/licensing; angling license; boating equipment and registration; and unattended lines.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) finished K-9 school and started working with a new K-9 partner in the field. Staples received complaints of ATVs doing damage in an area state forest and possible water violations where work was done in an area river and lake.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked Lake Superior and inland lakes in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. The weekend’s enforcement focus was on boating safety and AIS enforcement from Silver Bay to Duluth. Enforcement action was taken for minor ATV violations.
Olson attended CO Grell’s funeral. Fair winds and following seas, my friend.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. A call was received from a person who said he accidentally shot a large sturgeon in the Two Harbors area. Attempts to reach the caller at the number provided have so far been unsuccessful.
ATV enforcement was worked, with riders showing poor courtesy towards each other and landowners. There were several violations related to helmets and safety training. Public access enforcement also resulted in several enforcement contacts for various violations. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and public access violations.