February 28 DNR Conservation Officer reports

District 5 – Eveleth area

FEBRUARY 28, 2017 — CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers and a few snowmobilers this past week. Trail conditions for snowmobiles, including lakes, are very poor. Fishing has been slow and ice conditions have deteriorated in several areas with the warm weather.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports with the recent warm up and the rain, ice conditions have become difficult to predict. This past week we had a vehicle and a snowmobile go through the ice on Lake Vermilion. Use caution if venturing onto the lake! If your ice shelter is still on the lake, thoughts to getting it removed before it’s unsafe to do so would be prudent.

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports snowmobile activity has been minimal as snow and trail conditions are poor, people have put the sleds away and brought out the ATVs. The Rainy Lake Sport Fishing Club’s Annual Fishing Derby was held on Rainy Lake with lots of people and families enjoying the outdoors. Nuisance animal complaints were handled along with enforcement action taken for ATV violations and ice fishing.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports with the removal of fishing shelters from area lakes taking place time was spent documenting litter around shelters and following up on abandoned shelters. With a lack of snow most snowmobile use has given way to ATVs. Registration issues were common on both snowmobile and ATVs. Please remember 2016 fishing licenses expire soon and ATV registrations may have expired over the winter.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports most lakes have no snow cover, snowmobile trails have areas of exposed dirt and rock, and large areas of standing water on snowmobile trails has partially re-froze. It appears snowmobiling has come to an end absent more snow. Fishing activity, area forest road and public access sites were monitored


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) investigated a complaint of a wolf killing a dog and injuring another and a dead trumpeter swan in the Sturgeon River. Officer Bozovsky also attended a Bear Committee meeting, a DNR Commissioner Listening Session, and a Deer Plan Management public meeting.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Gilbert and held the riding portion of the class later in the week. The warm temps have nearly shut down snowmobile traffic on trails. Angling has slowed significantly and most anglers have taken the opportunity to remove their ice shelters from area lakes. A few anglers were seen out on the final day of the pike season.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) check anglers throughout the week and most reported fishing slowed down with the changing temperatures. Many fish houses were pulled from the lakes due to warm temps early in the week.

District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports a slow close to the walleye and northern pike season. Angler success has been poor and cooler weather did not improve things. Snowmobile activity continues to be extremely low after the loss of most of the snow. Violations included angling without a license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely 2) worked on snowmobile and angling activity. Recent rains and then the following cold snap have made snow conditions unfavorable for travel by snowmobile on the area lakes and trails. Some creeks and rivers now have spots that began to open up, but now have refrozen thus hiding their danger, so be careful.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports lots of angling and snowmobile activity during the week. The snowmobile trails could use some snow but they are still in fair to good condition. One group of trout anglers ended up on a snowmobile trail with a pickup truck. Lucky for them, they didn’t get buried up to their axles as most in that situation do. Angling, snowmobile, and BWCA violations were encountered.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) watched as the rain opened up creeks and rivers along snowmobile routes, making some treacherous if not impassable. Groomed sled trails were somewhat better and traffic on them was light. The officer spoke with a party concerned about his neighbor feeding deer near the shore of Lake Superior. While not illegal, feeding does concentrate deer near a major highway increasing vehicle crashes, results in deforestation of the area, and makes it easy for wolves to travel on the icy snow crust to prey on them.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) primarily checked anglers and recreational vehicles. Anglers are reminded to use caution with the ice, especially in areas of current. The CO was loading up his ATV at the Kawishiwi River after checking anglers on Saturday when several kids ran ahead of their dad as they were going back to the parking lot from fishing north of the bridge. The kids decided to go under the bridge and towards the south side where one young girl broke through the ice and went into the deep water. Officer Bermel grabbed a throw bag and ran towards the girl. The girl’s father got their first and was able to slide up to the edge of the hole and get her out of the water and to their vehicle to warm up. A ride along was also given to a college student.