District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports the heat wave continues with no moisture expected in the near future. With that being said, people are reminded of the increased burning restrictions in place throughout the state and the dangers this brings.
Fishing on Rainy Lake seems to be limited to the mornings and evenings as the midday heat is too much for anglers.
A few more animal-related complaints are being reported. Kittelson believes this heat is taking a toll on the critters as well.
Enforcement for the week included boat safety equipment violations, fishing license issues and ATV violations.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports spending time this week working Rainy Lake and the Rainy River checking anglers and boating activity. Litter complaints were worked and ATV activity was monitored in the area.
Enforcement action taken this week consisted of possessing illegal-length walleyes on Rainy Lake, not having a Type IV throwable device, and operating ATVs on state public roadways.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) heard more positive reports were heard from anglers this past week. The prolonged high-temperature trend has led to more people targeting the early morning and later evening hours to be on the water fishing. Recreational boating activity continues to be strong. Some groups contacted had the adults fishing and the kids swimming off the back of the boat.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) worked on boating and angling activities. Excessive heat has limited some outdoor activities. Fishing remains poor. Fire danger remains extreme, and outdoor burning is prohibited. Lake and river levels are very low due to lack of rain. Bears have been causing problems again. Administrative tasks were completed.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATV enforcement and angling activity. Anglers are still having success catching panfish, while other species have been less active. Time was also spent following up on nuisance bear and beaver complaints and investigating a possible wetlands violation.
Violations encountered mostly included ATV registration issues and insufficient boating safety equipment.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time fielding calls regarding hunting, recreational vehicle, and boating regulations throughout the week. He also spent the majority of the week patrolling area lakes and found that anglers found a steady panfish bite, but walleyes remain hard to catch.
Zavodnik continues to follow up on various complaints and cases from the previous week.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating, ATV and off-highway motorcycle activity. Anglers continue to report limited success. Some anglers reported a few small fish die-offs due to the lack of oxygen in some smaller water bodies. Boating and ATV activity continues to be high.
Broughten investigated a public waters violation and assisted with a couple brush fires. Wildfire danger in the area is extremely high due to lack of rain this summer.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports taking numerous questions regarding the current fire ban, a result of continued warm and very dry conditions.
One motorist was spotted stopped in the middle of the Gunflint Trail with a door flung open, the result of seeing a beaver walking up the road. Fewer than five minutes later, the same driver was found slowly chasing said beaver up the road (presumably “helping” it), nearly causing a vehicle accident.
Manning responded to reports of fireworks, took calls on illegal camping and visitors leaving bagged dog waste for someone else to dispose of, and checked boaters for invasive species.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) investigated an off-highway motorcycle crash in Babbitt, took nuisance-bear calls, started an investigation into work on a shoreline of a local lake, assisted on a security detail, provided assistance with a local fire, and spent time patrolling for resource activity. Enforcement action included allowing illegal juvenile off-highway motorcycle operation; operating ATVs in a state park; failure to transfer ATV ownership; unlawfully posting public land; and passing in a no-passing zone.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports spending the week in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with fellow officers patrolling for backcountry anglers. The fishing was extremely slow, with pike dominating the bag. A few lake trout were caught but anglers had to focus their time in deep water. Citations were issued for no fishing license and for possession of a controlled substance. Personal flotation device and registration compliance was perfect.
Quite a few anglers left their licenses in their vehicles. Please remember to add a fishing license to the list of essential items to bring into the backcountry.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and boating activity during the week. Warm weather again brought lots of recreational watercraft users to area lakes to cool off. Angling success remained slow on area lakes this week.
Enforcement action was taken for invasive species law violations and burning restriction violations.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) enforced ATV, boating and angling activities. Enforcement action was taken for angling license violations, boat safety violations, and ATV equipment and registration violations.
A call of suspicious activity was taken and calls of orphaned raccoons were handled. Time was also spent following up on ongoing cases.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, watercraft and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and water recreation activities over the past week, with Grand Rapids full of many vacationers from out of the area and from other states.
Enforcement action was taken for having a watercraft on public roadways without pulling the plug; transporting walleyes without a skin patch for identification; and operating a jet ski above a no-wake speed within 150 feet of another watercraft. Work was also done assisting the county with a vehicle that left the roadway and an injured bicyclist.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on angling, boating, and ATV activities throughout the surrounding areas. Van Asch also assisted CO Hochstein in responding to a report of a large grass fire in the area.
Enforcement action was taken for various angling and boating violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) responded to an ATV accident in which the passenger and the ATV rolled down a steep embankment of an old railroad grade. Thankfully, the passenger didn’t sustain serious injury, but she did injure her leg and couldn’t climb the bank. An anchor line and a water rescue throw bag assisted in the efforts to stabilize the patient and pull her approximately 30 feet out of the ravine.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) patrolled busy ATV areas and area waters. The heat seems to be keeping people from fishing much, and the few that still are report little success.
Bears are becoming a nuisance at a few properties, most likely due to lack of foraging material during this dry season. Please keep all food sources, including garbage and bird feeders, inside to avoid attracting bears to your property.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked area accesses talking with boaters about aquatic invasive species laws. He checked several anglers and worked area lakes for boating and water recreation enforcement. Schmidt followed up on calls for service involving bears getting into people's garbage and feeders.
ATV enforcement was also worked in past complaint locations.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked area lakes for fishing and boating enforcement. Warm weather had public accesses full of trailers and boat traffic was busy. Many boaters were talked with about personal flotation devices and watercraft capacity.
Inland activity involved ATV activity and assisting local law enforcement when available.
A possible wolf depredation was investigated and advice on living with bears were discussed with a few callers. Duncan was also a guest speaker at a neighborhood youth gathering.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, AIS, aquatic plant management, ATV, off-highway motorcycle and Wetland Conservation Act enforcement throughout the week.
Humphrey continued working investigations on a trespass/property boundary issue and lakeshore violations. Humphrey took several calls/questions/complaints on nuisance animals; youth ATV/off-highway motorcycle operation; shoreland regulations; permit to carry a handgun; and surplus bear licenses. Violation rates were exceedingly high and excuses were many.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Warm, calm weather has the surface temp up and pretty stagnant on the lake. Anglers willing to try different approaches found some salmon, lake trout, and herring.
Assistance was given to local agencies with in-progress calls, and phone calls taken from residents concerned with low water levels. Enforcement action was taken for boating violations.