Fishermen take to the boats for the first time this season – Cloquet Pine Journal

District 5 – Eveleth District

CO Darrin Kittelson (international falls #1) reports that people have started fishing in open water on the Rainy River, with open access (Nelson Park, Birchdale) for launching. People are reminded to have their current fishing license, current boat registration and boat safety equipment on board. Enforcement measures have been taken for vessel registration issues. Several animal-related complaints were also investigated throughout the week.

CO Curtis Simonson (international falls #2) reports having a busy week working on the Rainy River. Many fishermen went out by boat last week for the first time this year. Enforcement actions taken last week were for not posting current registration, not having the correct number of PFDs on board and being in possession of walleye/sauger during a closed season.

Commander John Slatinski IV (Ray) monitored what appears to be the last days of recreational snowmobiling activity. Anglers still report good ice conditions, but the overall success has been less than stellar. Ongoing surveys were carried out, seasonal equipment tasks were carried out and administrative tasks were carried out. Reminder to check your ATV registration as seasonal changes take them out of storage.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring of forest roads in the region regarding spring restrictions. Angling and ATV activities have been verified. Public access sites were monitored. The equipment works are finished, as well as the administrative tasks.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) has primarily devoted his time to extensive training in waterfowl identification and biology. He also took calls about dead deer.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) attended a waterfowl training course near Rochester. Time was also spent fishing and enforcing ATV laws. Anglers trying to catch panfish always report a slow bite. As always, exercise extreme caution when on the ice and keep preparation in mind as the ice continues to deteriorate on local lakes.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time teaching at the Waterfowl Academy for the last two conservation officer promotions. He also followed up on a dog chase complaint and fish houses still on the ice. Zavodnik continues to pack up his winter gear and prepare for the open water season.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week watching fishing and ATV activity. Anglers have reported limited success. The ice in the lake begins to deteriorate. ATV riders are reminded to check trail conditions before setting out. Broughten also responded to calls about fish houses being left on ice and litter.

District 6 – Two Ports Sector

Commander Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports spending the week vetting anglers taking part in the end of the winter trout season. Success until the end of the season was very poor and the cooler weather and windy conditions meant that only the keenest anglers were seen. Ice conditions were also becoming very unpredictable and several new areas of open water were observed almost daily.

Commander John Velsvaag (Ely #2) fishermen checked last week. He observed litter on several area lakes from anglers and received several calls regarding the use of ATVs on the roads.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended annual firearms and tactics training at Camp Ripley. She also handled phone calls and followed up on open files. Spring warming and rain have caused deterioration of snowmobile trails and brought more melting snow to the lakes.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling, trapping and RV enforcement throughout the week. During a control of fishermen at an access, a vehicle was seen crossing the parking lot. An object was ejected from the vehicle. A traffic stop was made with a littering citation issued and a can of beer was recovered. Further enforcement action was taken for leaving a trap after the season and allowing illegal use of underage ATVs.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) angling and snowmobiling activity in the work area. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley preparing for a busy spring training schedule.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports checking anglers during the last week of the winter trout season. A few limits of lake trout were observed. Snowmobile activity was minimal and snow conditions deteriorated. Hill has performed equipment maintenance as a seasonal change is upon us.

CO Don Murray (two ports) worked ATV and litter complaints during the week. Ice fishing continues on some lakes, but ice conditions become dangerous in shallow areas and flows. Pest complaints begin to occur as skunks and bears find food in backyard bird feeders.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northhome) spent the week in training, where he learned about ducks and other species of waterfowl and migratory birds. He spent most of his time studying waterfowl during his migration, learning to identify various species of waterfowl, and learning various techniques for enforcing waterfowl hunting laws and detecting waterfowl violations.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and controlled anglers, ATV activities, and small game hunters. Many questions about game and fish have been answered. It also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

Commander Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity and attended training this week. Fairbanks and her partner K9 Si were also certified by the USPCA in detecting this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and illegal operation of an ORV.

Commander Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and mountain biking activity. Lots of people were still on the ice catching sunfish. Sutherland gave a presentation at a DARE class for local youth and brought in pelts from Minnesota furbearers. Animal habitats and the food chain were topics discussed.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) monitored angling and RV activity over the past week. Time has also been spent on complaints about dogs hunting deer and illegal burnings. Holt has completed training and conducted business license inspections.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports angling and ATV control activities in the area. Trade inspections were carried out, as well as follow-up work on open investigations. Enforcement actions have been taken for various commercial violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spoke with several people who were scouting for the upcoming turkey season. Beaver trappers were also out because some of their trapping sites are now accessible with the melting snow and ice.

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) responded to settlement and TIP calls, tracked an ongoing case, and led Division training at Camp Ripley.

CO Andy Schmidt (West Duluth) active fishermen along the North Shore and the lakes of the region. Some Kamloops have been seen along the shore, but the rivers are still blocked by ice. Time was spent on work area trails and a complaint about an ATV on the snowmobile trails was addressed. Trespassing issues begin to appear with the closing of snowmobile trails.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) attended an online meeting regarding the City of Duluth Bowhunting. He completed the month-end administrative and computer tasks.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked late anglers and patrolled Moose Lake State Park and Fond du Lac State Forest for spring trail closures. He also answered calls and questions about pests, safety courses and upcoming turkey seasons. Humphrey has completed seasonal equipment inventory, changing and maintenance.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked fishermen on foot along the North Shore throughout the week. He reports that the rivers still remain frozen and cold, although he has seen some success along the break wall at Two Harbors for herring and coho salmon. Gear maintenance items focused on changing seasons.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) trained out of state.

Earnest A. Martinez