Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - May 14, 2018
District 4 - Walker area
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) worked sport fishing, ATV and trapping enforcement. Trapping cases were wrapped up, incidentals collected, and nuisance permits issued. Fishing was pretty poor on the opener with colder water than usual. Enforcement action was taken for no PFDs, no fishing license, and possession of northern pike within a protected slot length.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Walleyes and perch were biting for those who were fishing in shallow water. Time was spent at the CO Academy and at a qualification firearms training. A public water alteration complaint was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, illegal-length walleyes, fishing in a closed area, and boating violations.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) reports working on fishing enforcement. The anglers are out in full force for the walleye opener and the walleye bite is slow. The panfish bite was also slow. Violations he observed were no fishing license, no watercraft registration license and not enough PFDs. He worked on AIS prevention. Most boaters are doing well cleaning, pulling plugs and draining live wells. He checked turkey hunters who are still seeing turkeys but report that they are not responding to the calls.
CO Colleen Adam (Park Rapids) checked a few turkey hunters and monitored trout fishing activity, OHV operations and closed forest issues. She responded to illegal daytime burning and had a pleasant fishing opener. It was a mixed bag of success beginning at midnight at the dam with some frustrated anglers not having the typical success. Others enjoyed sun-filled days on the lakes while catching crappies and walleyes and enjoying the weather and company.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked a busy sport fishing opener. Numerous anglers were checked and enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations, including angling without a license, angling with an extra line, and no navigational lights displayed after sunset. The walleye bite was slow but some anglers were finding crappies and panfish.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked angling and ATV activity. Ice melted from the lakes just in time for fishing opener. Anglers reported fishing was slow but some large walleyes were reported. Sullivan also investigated a wolf depredation case and conducted commercial checks. Violations for the week included angling without a license, overlimit of walleyes, expired ATV registration, youth passengers on an ATV without a helmet, and no life jackets.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd #1) worked the fishing opener. Walleye and northern pike action was slow, but panfish were still biting. Enforcement action was taken for no life jackets, angling without licenses, keeping bass out of season, expired boat registrations, and several burning violations.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked fire, fish run, turkey, trapping, ATV and angling activity. Training was attended and assistance was given to the sheriff’s office and State Patrol.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked a busy fishing opener weekend in the Brainerd Lakes area. Numerous anglers checked reported slow fishing. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports a busy fishing opener with good weather bringing out many anglers and boaters. Area lakes and the Mississippi River were patrolled. Hadrits found good many anglers who had good success, including some who had limits of rainbow trout, catfish, and panfish. Other activity included monitoring the pike and walleye spawning runs and spring panfish bites, checking beaver trapping activity, and investigating reports of illegal dumping, trapper trespass, and overlimits of panfish. Numerous enforcement contacts were made for violations including fishing license and trout stamps, boat registration and equipment, consuming alcohol in a state recreational area, and trespassing.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working the fishing opener. Many anglers were out trying their luck and many were seen with nice numbers of fish. Area trout lakes were also checked for fishing activity and a lot of trout were seen in the bag. Calls regarding injured animals and dogs chasing deer were fielded during the week and many outdoor law-related questions were answered. The officer attended a meeting regarding training new officers at the CO Academy and assistance was given to a local agency with a call for service. Fitzgerald checked many boats for boat and water safety items and boaters were reminded about AIS laws. A possible public waters violation was investigated and a car kill deer permit was issued. Time was also spent patrolling the park for SRA violations. A call of parties in the park in a closed area was investigated and parties were contacted. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing, boating, and state park rules violations.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity including the game fish opener. Nearly ideal weather encouraged the opening weekend crowds but low water temperatures and some ice cover limited the catch. Verkuilen also helped prepare boating equipment, followed up on trapping activity, and monitored ATV traffic.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked the fishing opener, which seemed slower than normal. Crappie limits, northern pike, and a few walleyes were seen. Enforcement action was taken for boat registration issues and PFD violations. Anglers were reminded of the statewide northern pike regulation change and to pull their boat plugs before leaving the accesses. Local rivers were checked for shore anglers.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took a number of calls from vacant neighboring stations on topics ranging from beavers stuck in a dam area, to nighttime bow fishing, to a road kill bear. Opener was found to be slow with PFD violations found. Starr assisted a neighboring officer with a situation where a novice truck driver drove off a state forest road and was stuck. A warrant arrest was made and state park areas were patrolled for road closures.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. Fishing seemed to be slow with a sluggish bite for most. A few smaller lakes were producing a few crappies and sunfish but that seemed to be slow also. Time was spent investigating wildfires and an incidental trapped otter call was also handled.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity in the station and gave a presentation on wildlife conservation and fire safety to an area Cub Scout pack. Silgjord worked the midnight fishing opener and checked multiple anglers on the Mississippi River. Juveniles without helmets on ATVs continues to be an issue. Silgjord would like to remind ATV owners that juvenile passengers need to be wearing a DOT-approved ATV helmet when riding as a passenger or operating an ATV on public property. Other violations for the week included angling without a license, no license in possession, insufficient PFDs, no watercraft navigation lights, and underage consumption.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended training. He also assisted in a neighboring station for a fishing violation case and worked on the Mississippi River. Administrative tasks were also handled concerning vehicle repairs.
CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports assisting the Stearns County Sheriffs’ Office and St. Cloud Police Department with recovery of a drowning victim in the Mississippi River. TIP calls involving crappie overlimits and taking gamefish by bow and arrow were also investigated. On Friday he participated in an AIS work crew in Wright County. Over fishing opener weekend boats/fishermen were checked on St. Cloud-area lakes and rivers. Enforcement contacts were made for angling without an angling license and watercraft equipment and registration violations.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a TIP call on opening day enabled him to catch two anglers with seven walleyes over their limit. The anglers stated that they wanted to have a Mother’s Day fish fry and had a lot of people to feed. Good TIP calls can lead to great cases. If you witness a violation, please do not hesitate to call the TIP number on the back of your license.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and ATV riders. Violations were found for no angling license, extra lines, and no registration. Several animal complaints were handled and a trapping complaint was investigated.
CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent a busy walleye opener checking anglers, who were finding success on area lakes. Krauel had the opportunity to photograph a dad and son right after the son landed the biggest walleye Krauel saw all weekend. Krauel also followed up on turkey hunting complaints, trapping complaints and several deer dumping complaints. Enforcement action was taken for no angling licenses, possession of drug paraphernalia, fishing with an extra line, and no PFDs. An arrest was made on a warrant.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports assisting field officers with a fire at Pillsbury State Forest and prepping aircraft and equipment for seaplane operations. Jensen flew a seaplane training flight and then checked anglers/boaters on opening day. Violations found were no angling license in possession, expired watercraft registration, no PFD on board, and no sound device on watercraft.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wetland photo flights for Forest Assessment and a wolf telemetry mission.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on administrative tasks and worked with one pilot on airplane ground training. He also worked on aerial spray equipment.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on fishing and boating activity. A boating safety presentation was given to the Menahga school with CO Al Peterson. Wetland Conservation Act, public waters and AIS activity was worked. Old cases were worked on and progress checked on with local government units and field officers. District training was attended and instructed at. AIS trainings were worked and prepared for. Fishing opener was worked in Becker and Otter Tail counties. Stattelman assisted with the apprehension of a suspect with a warrant after a pursuit.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked the fishing opener around the Brainerd and Mille Lacs areas. Several violations were addressed for licenses and water safety laws. Haberman also worked ATV and fire calls. Wetland cases continue to rise and public water cases are coming in with shoreline violations. Haberman also conducted AIS enforcement training for Wright County deputies.
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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement