MNR conservation officers monitor fish house removal and littering issues as winter fishing activity winds down – Grand Forks Herald

Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers for Northwest Minnesota and Adjacent Areas of Northern Minnesota for Monday, March 14:

District 1 – Baudette district

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) continued to monitor the removal of ice shelters prior to the next removal date, performed equipment maintenance and investigated the dumping of deer carcasses in a local wildlife management area.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) supervised angling and snowmobiling activity this week. Enforcement action was taken for the stocking of ice shelters at public accesses and snowmobile registration violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports good snowmobile trail conditions except for some areas with snow drift issues. Time was spent on snowmobile enforcement.

War Road #1 – vacant.

War Road #2 – vacant.

Donkey #1 – vacant.

District 2 – Bemidji district

Commander Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this week checking on anglers and snowmobile operators on subsidized trails in the area. Time was also spent working on cases of open wetlands and public water. An otter taken accidentally was recovered from a beaver trapper. The lake’s aeration systems were inspected.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) anglers checked 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 area lakes to remove fish houses, trash and shelters that may have been left at public accesses. Handheld anglers find slush conditions when using ATVs and snowmobiles. Vehicles are restricted to snow-cleared roads. As the weather begins to warm up, anglers should start practicing good ice edge safety.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking area lakes for fishing activity and ensuring that all fish houses in the southern half of the resort were removed. Swedberg has also been preparing for an upcoming trial in a case that began in the fall of 2020.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent performing ventilation inspections.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time snowmobiling. Anglers and fish shack removals were monitored. Questions about aquatic vegetation permits were answered and the cry of an injured deer was investigated. Warren also helped Becker County search for a missing person.

CO Bill’s Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking out the angling and snowmobiling activities at the Pelican Rapids resort. Panfish sting on area lakes is still hit or miss, but is showing signs of improvement. Time was spent monitoring fish shack removal and high compliance was observed. A shoreline complaint was also investigated and found to be compliant. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and failure to remove a fish shack by the deadline.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) responded to complaints of trespassing, harassment of sick or injured hunters and wild animals. Overall activity slowed during the week with arctic-like cold and winds moving through the area, although a few anglers were checked trying to locate sunfish. Additional time was spent on equipment maintenance, line training and the funeral of a retired conservation officer. Enforcement measures included an ice shelter left unattended after the legal delay and harassment of hunters.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time patrolling the area’s snowmobile trails. Minor violations were encountered throughout the weekend. Calls from injured animals were answered and concerns about timber wolves were addressed. Fishing activity remained low with lots of snow on the lakes.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked lakes for removal of fish houses and litter. One floor of a fish house was still frozen in the lake. The owner has been found and contacted. Snowmobile activity in the area remains high.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports that a few fish houses did not come out of the ice before the deadline. Owners have been contacted, a removal plan has been determined and enforcement action has been taken. Snowmobilers were probably taking advantage of the last good weekend for trail conditions. A snowmobile/trout fishing detail was worked in Lake and Cook counties with CO Bermel. Hundreds of riders have been contacted, with only a few contacts with law enforcement for minor riding and equipment violations. Calls from injured animals have also been received.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) indicates fishing and snowmobiling activity. A background investigation of the Division has been concluded.

CO Daniel Baumburger (Glenwood) reports that enforcement efforts for the week focused on controlling anglers and ATV riders. Additional time was spent on complaints of injured animals and following up on a complaint about snow accumulation preventing access to Leven Lake. The manager is reminded that Minnesota lakes are not private and the use of Minnesota lakes where there is legal access to water is open to anyone, not just those who own property along the shore of the lake.

Osakis – vacant.

Elbow Lake – vacant.

CO Patrick McGowan (walker) was patrolling Cass County for snowmobiling and angling activities. He also underwent training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement measures have been taken for many offences.

Commander Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to check mostly anglers and snowmobile trails. Trails remain in good condition and successful fishing, as well as travel on the lake in general, remains difficult. Time was spent working on a public water alteration case that resulted in enforcement action for failure to comply with a restoration order. Mathy also received training and worked on testing the new and improved bear bait registration website. Enforcement actions have been taken for angling-related offences.

Commander Jordan Anderson (Wadena) verified that all lakes in the resort had been cleared of fish houses by the deadline. The snowmobile trails are still in good condition. Training has been completed and big game cases have been followed up.

Commander Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Baum made contact with fishermen enjoying the good weather. He also got to check on some snowmobilers for maybe the last ride of the year. Baum wants to remind everyone of the upcoming deadline for fish house removals in the northern part of the state.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time watching anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. Enforcement actions have been taken for taking fish without a license, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and speeding on a snowmobile.

CO Jacques Hugues (Longville) follow-up of open cases. She also helped stop a vehicle, which resulted in a DWI arrest.

ATV Recreation Officer – vacant.

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