Conservation Officer Report: Great Fishing, Snowmobiling

Posted at: 01/22/2014 9:51 PM

The Minnesota DNR provided the following reports and observations from Conservation Officers about recent conditions:

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports more people out enjoying ice fishing and snowmobiling as weather has warmed up a bit. Snowmobilers are reminded to slow the speeds down and ice fishermen are reminded that they are responsible for cleaning up the area around their fish houses.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports there were quite a few snowmobiles in the area enjoying the good trail conditions and nice weather over the weekend. Fishing remains quite slow.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked snowmobiles, regular angling and winter trout opener.  Most anglers had luck with rainbow trout with a lesser percentage scoring on lake trout.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled area snowmobile trails and found that most area trails are in excellent condition but not seeing much usage due to colder temps. Some Virginia area lakes are slowly putting out crappies but again colder temps and high winds are keeping anglers off the lakes. The trout opener found strong numbers of anglers braving the conditions and being rewarded for their efforts. One specific trout angler decided to bring some friends with him on several unregistered snowmobiles then proceeded to become excessively intoxicated. The operators of the snowmobiles received citations for operating unregistered snowmobiles and were cautioned not to drive the sleds away.  

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked fishing activity on area lakes and found few fish being caught.

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the weather started off cold but turned comfortable for the winter trout fishing opener in the Ely area. Fishing was good and most anglers checked had something to show for their efforts on the trout lakes.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked trout opener and found fishermen happy and doing pretty well. There were a lot of people out on snowmobiles and fishing. There was very little litter on the ice too, so it was a good weekend. Remember to make sure your snowmobile has its registration decal and numbers displayed in the proper fashion.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked the trout opener with several other officers. The weather was as good as it gets for a normally very frigid weekend. Many people were checked and the vast majority of people were doing things right. A few fishing violations were encountered along with some snowmobile violations. With all those new angling holes drilled, the slush conditions could change for the worse so be aware of that possibility.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled GIA and state snowmobile trails. Riders are reminded to stay to the right side of the trail, especially on the narrow and winding trails common in Cook County. The officer also worked the busy trout opener in the vacant Silver Bay station with CO Wahlstrom; enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, no trout stamp and angle with an extra line. The officer also responded to a report of a bobcat that attacked a family dog.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the trout opener in the Babbitt and Silver Bay stations. Fishing was fair and most anglers were following the rules. Snowmobile traffic continues to be high.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the trout opener with area officers in the Tofte/Finland area. The slush set up on most lakes but some areas it was deep enough where anglers were losing snowshoes and equipment. Overall, anglers were happy with the trout bite and the warm weather over the weekend.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) took care of a couple animal calls including assisting with the recovery of a sick moose and looking for a sick wolf. The moose was included in the moose mortality study.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) reports ice conditions have improved with very few slush pockets to be found on area lakes.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) reports ice conditions on area lakes are pretty good right now. Recreationists still need to be cautious on lakes that have springs and froze late. Area snowmobile trails are rough in certain areas, especially around town due to the amount of use over the past week and weekend, so be cautious on those as well.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity in the area with the success rate being good for panfish and walleyes. One group of individuals got a little ahead of themselves when they were fishing for crappies. The two individuals forgot to count their fish as the good fishing ensued and ended up overlimit on a special regulation lake. The extra fish were seized and citations were written for overlimits.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) reports angling and spearing success slowed some. More trucks were observed driving on frozen slush fields on area lakes without incident.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported a lot of people both young and old were seen out taking advantage of the free fishing weekend, when accompanied by a youth, but unfortunately not a lot of cooperation by the fish. Snowmobile trails remain in excellent condition throughout the area.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports snowmobile activity was heavy at times. Trail conditions were good to excellent. Anglers were reporting fair to good catches on crappies, sunfish, and northern pike.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports calls for permits to possess car kill deer have been coming in. People are reminded that they are to obtain permission or a possession permit before taking possession of any protected animal. Snowmobile activity remains fairly high in the area.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked inland trout anglers on a warmer-than-normal opener. Plenty of snow led to plenty of slush on some lakes, but most anglers were prepared or took the necessary precautions to not become stuck. Some nice fish were seen on the ice, and compliance with regulations was good. Wolves and moose were spotted coping with the weather conditions.