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DNR conservation officers' report: Ice fishing, snowmobiling hit full swing

Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwestern Minnesota for Dec. 27:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) patrolled area snowmobile trails and monitored ice fishing activity. Favorable ice conditions on Lake of the Woods have welcomed many anglers. Several antique snowmobiles were registered in Roseau.

CO Larry Milbridge (Warroad) spent most of the week working on Lake of the Woods. Fishing success has improved along with ice conditions. Full-sized vehicles are now using the lake from all access points. The snowmobile trails have been staked but more snow is needed for grooming. Enforcement action taken for angling, fish shelter and snowmobile violations.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of the Thief River Falls snowmobile safety class and monitored area snowmobile trail activity. CO Woinarowicz checked local anglers and conducted follow up on an open bear out of season case. Enforcement action for the week included no snowmobile registration, no state trail sticker, failure to stop snowmobile at road crossing and no snowmobile safety training certificate.

CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) worked snowmobile activity on area trails and on the Red Lake River. Ice angling activity was worked with more anglers getting their houses out. Station equipment maintenance was performed.

CO Keith Backer (Blackduck) checked ice fishing on area lakes and snowmobile activity. Travel by full-sized vehicles should be done cautiously, and snowmobilers and ATV operators should be cautious of flooded ice. Enforcement action for the week included a waters violation from early this fall.

CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) spent the week monitoring fishing activity on Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake. Anglers are reporting a slower than normal bite on Lake of the Woods. One angler thought it was so slow that he wanted to improve his chances by attempting to fish with eight lines. Enforcement action was taken, and the angler stated that he didn't even catch a single fish while using the extra lines. Snowmobilers are reporting good trail conditions as groomers have been doing an excellent job maintaining trails. Enforcement action taken throughout the week included angle with extra lines, angle w/o a license, unattended lines, over limit of walleye, expired snowmobile registration, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and unlawful operation by a juvenile.

Karlstad - vacant.

Warroad #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Stuart Bensen (Erskine) reports ice conditions on area lakes continue to improve. Anglers and spearers are having good success. The snowmobile trails are being groomed and in good condition.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored angling and snowmobile activity. Complaints of deer depredation and trespass were investigated. An investigation of a cow that was shot continues. Planning for a Firearms Safety Instructor Class was completed. Anyone interested in becoming a FAS Instructor in the Fosston/Mahnomen area should contact the officer for details.

CO Stacey Sharp (Bemidji) reports 12 to 16 inches of ice on most lakes, but some thin spots exist. Anglers are having some success. The perch bite seems to be the best. Snowmobile trail conditions are deteriorating as traffic increases. Several calls regarding injured or nuisance animals were received.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) checked anglers and spearers. Ice conditions continue to vary on the lakes; some spots still have thin ice. Snowmobile trail conditions are good and the groomers are out. Expired snowmobile registration is a common violation.

CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) reports snowmobile trails are in good condition in Becker and Clay counties. The trails are groomed. Lake ice conditions continue to improve, with many people starting to drive vehicles onto the ice. Ice heaves are starting to occur on some lakes. Angler success varies. Complaints of shooting at a pheasant from a vehicle, trespass, and deer baiting by archery deer hunters were investigated.

CO Joseph Stattelman (Detroit Lakes) checked anglers and snowmobiles. Fish house, wanton waste and litter complaints were investigated.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) checked anglers, snowmobilers, and pheasant hunters. Angler success has been low, and snowmobile activity continues to increase. Aeration system inspections were done, and an injured deer complaint investigated.

Bemidji #1 - vacant.

Natural Resources Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a helicopter training flight and attended to administrative duties.