DNR Enforcement report: Fish houses being removed from lakes, Snowmobile enforcement etc.
Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota for Feb. 22:
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Jeff Birchem (Baudette) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods finding the best success near Garden Island. Follow up was conducted on invasive species work involving bait and VHS. Enforcement action for the week included failing to register a deer and a contractor doing illegal work in a wetland area.
CO Keith Backer (Blackduck) followed up on angling complaints and checked minnow retail dealers. A public meeting on the creation of a new waterfowl refuge was attended. CO Backer worked on snowmobile trail complaints and testified in court. Enforcement action for the week included overlimit of fish, other angling violations, and a protected species violation.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Blackduck) monitored angling activity on Upper Red Lake throughout the week. A lot of the snow pack on the lake melted with the warm temperatures during the week, but the ice remains in good condition. A trapper education class was taught to a group of young trappers in Bemidji. Area snowmobile trails were monitored for snowmobile activity. Violations encountered during the week included fishing violations, possessing a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Anglers reported excellent fishing during the early part of the week. Some anglers had such good luck, that they forgot to stop, which resulted in several over limit cases being made. CO Gorecki also spent time testifying in court on past cases. Other enforcement action taken during the week included other fishing and snowmobiling violations.
Karlstad - vacant.
Warroad #2 - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Stuart Bensen (Erskine) reports area snowmobile trails are very icy after the warm temperatures last week. Many fish houses have been removed from the lakes. The officer spoke to the Winger Lions Club about conservation officer duties and DNR issues. The officer also participated in a live radio program responding to DNR questions. An injured deer was dispatched, and nuisance animal questions answered.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked anglers, ATVs, and snowmobiles. The officer participated in the live radio program with CO Bensen. Preparation for possible spring flooding was done. Complaints of a dog that was shot and dumped in the road ditch, cattle on the road, and litter on area lakes were investigated. Enforcement action was taken when several anglers put out tip-ups and went home for several hours. Some of the anglers had no angling license and too many lines out.
CO Stacey Sharp (Bemidji) checked anglers, trappers, and snowmobilers. Angler success remains low. The officer assisted with enforcement efforts during the Eelpout Festival. Many fish houses have been removed from the lakes.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports low snowmobile activity due to poor trail conditions. Anglers have begun removing shelters from the lakes. Calls of sick and dead deer were referred to DNR Wildlife. An injured deer was dispatched. Violations detected: no angling license in possession, over limit of sunfish, fail to display snowmobile registration, and operate ATV on a state highway.
CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) reports many of the large fish houses have been removed from the lakes. Travel conditions on the lakes have improved due to snow compaction and freezing conditions. The panfish bite is picking up, while the walleye bite is slowing. Area snowmobile trails are icy and rough. Complaints of dogs chasing deer, trespass, and dead deer were investigated.
CO Joe Stattelman (Detroit Lakes) checked anglers and snowmobilers. Fish houses are starting to be removed from the lakes. Anglers are reminded that shelters cannot be left on public accesses. Area snowmobile trails are in poor conditions, with bare spots and many icy areas. The officer assisted sheriff's deputies with a call. Dog chasing deer complaints have increased.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) reports deteriorating snowmobile trail conditions and a reduction in snowmobile activity. Approximately 50 percent of the fish houses have been removed from area lakes. Taxidermist inspections were done. DNR Wildlife was assisted with monitoring a deer shooting permit, and investigated a dog chasing deer complaint.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) checked anglers, snowmobilers, and predator hunters. Area snowmobile trails are in poor condition. Snow on area lakes is minimal making travel easier. TIP Calls involving fish were investigated.
Water Resource Officer Traci Hanson worked with local officers checking anglers and snowmobilers. The officer continues to work with DNR Fisheries and Washington officials on VHS issues. Some dead frozen bait, from VHS waters, was imported into the state. She attended Aquatic Invasive Species Forums in Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes.
Bemidji #1 - vacant.