CO Reports: Heavy snows and downed trees on trails – use caution. – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

CO Reports: Heavy snows and downed trees on trails – use caution. – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Tony Flerlage (Crosby) continued a background investigation into a potential new hire. There is enough snow on the trails to attract snowmobilers. The area’s snowmobile clubs have had a lot of work clearing the trails, only for more trees to block them because of the heavy snow. Be careful as many paths are not yet clear. The lakes are more difficult to access due to slush. At the beginning of the bobcat, fishing and marten season, fishing activity was low.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled the station for fishing activities, snowmobile operational contacts, and cross-country ski pass verification as needed. Heavy and wet snow has occurred, posing a hazard to trees along local public pathway systems. Guida continues to work with a conservation officer candidate in the field training program. The officials made numerous contacts with anglers and investigated numerous violations.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) and COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Ryan Christenson spent time throughout the week screening ice anglers, ATV drivers and snowmobile drivers. The snowmobile trails were in a difficult condition after the heavy snowfall, and volunteer trail crews have been busy reopening them. Enforcement actions included trout fishing during a closed season and violations of recreational vehicle licensing.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week checking out trappers, anglers and snowmobilers. Enforcement action has been taken over licensing issues and investigations into interception of violators have been launched.

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Memory: Any resident born after December 31, 1976 who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota is required to have a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete the certification. From the age of 11, the online course and the hands-on day or the traditional youth course can be attended. People over the age of 16 can take part in the online course.

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District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. Time was spent patrolling local lakes on snowmobiles. Multiple violations at the shelter were noted and owners notified. Patrols were also conducted on Upper Red Lake. The passing winter storm seemed to slow down the fish bite considerably. Enforcement measures have been taken for an unregistered deer.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week reviewing snowmobilers and ice anglers. Ice conditions worsened over the week as the area received between 15 and 20 inches of snow. The lakes in the area are full of mud and water, and several inlets and outlets have reopened, creating dangerous conditions. Area snowmobilers also report somewhat challenging trail conditions in the area, as heavy snow/ice has damaged trees and made some trails impossible. Local clubs are asking for assistance knocking snow and ice off tree branches as you go down the trails and report any hazards you find on their respective social media pages.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) performed an autopsy on a possible illegal tomboy, followed ongoing cases and worked in snowmobile enforcement.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) worked primarily on a background investigation into the applicant. Some time was spent checking the anglers. After the last heavy snowfalls, slush has developed in many areas of the lakes, which has created difficult travel conditions in places. Four to 12 inches of ice have been seen or reported. A hunter harassment call also came in. Enforcement measures were taken for fishing and spearing violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training a Conservation Officer candidate for the final phase of field training. Officials processed the lakes and trails of Cass, Beltrami and Hubbard County. Recent snow has affected navigation on many of the lakes in the area. Enforcement actions for this week included possession of drug paraphernalia, fishing with extra lines, no protective shield, no fishing license and numerous ATV and snowmobile registration violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) reviewed fishing and snowmobiling activity. She also kept track of ongoing cases.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports that he follows up on big game concerns, screens anglers and conducts snowmobile inspections. Several calls came back.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) continued to investigate a complaint related to deer hunting. Ice anglers have been checked. They found moderate success. Several groups of snowmobilers enjoyed the first big snow of the year. The trails have a lot of snow and just as many fallen trees due to the amount of wet heavy snowfall in the area.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) saw limited fishing activity as the winter storm kept people and shelter away from the ice. Approximately 12 to 16 inches of wet, heavy snow was received locally, causing trail obstructions. Enforcement actions for a week included violations of shelter licenses/passports, operating a vehicle at a WMA and snowmobile safety/registration violations

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked on the late season CWD hunt, conducted snowmobile patrols and checked traps as the annual bobcat and fishing season opened. The CWD hunt has seen limited success due to recent snowfall and colder weather. In addition, Cross conducted local taxidermy inspections. Enforcement action was taken due to the lack of a driver’s license and the failure to register deer as required. Due to the large amount of slush on the lakes with the two recent snowfalls, fishing pressure in the area has remained light.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked early on ice fishing in the area and many anglers ventured out. In very patchy ice conditions, a snowmobile and an ATV are said to have fallen through the ice. The occupants were able to get out and get to safety. With all that extra snow insulating the ice, it’s imperative that people do a good job of researching ice conditions before heading out. Sutherland was also working to end previous cases from deer season and conduct ongoing investigations.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) reviewed fishing and catching activity for the past week. Time was also spent screening snowmobilers and responding to complaints related to illegal and negligent snowmobile operation. Enforcement measures have been taken for various violations of snowmobile driving. Holt began work on a background study on an applicant for the next CO Academy.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) worked on one of the quietest angler/marter/bobcat openers in recent history. Heavy snowfall disabled both trappers and anglers, made forest roads impassable and lakes difficult to access. Several people enjoyed the snow covered ditches on their snowmobiles.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (garrison) checked sea activity where a heavy layer of snow was piled up on a marginal ice sheet. The heavy snow made for muddy conditions. As conditions improved dramatically, snowmobile activity was also monitored.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking out snowmobile activity on the area trails. The blizzard messed up the local trails. Local snowmobile clubs invest many hours to improve the slope conditions. Time was also spent screening ice anglers on local lakes. Anglers have seen success, and in some cases too much success, resulting in sunfish overlimit. Griffith would like to remind anglers to check each lake for specific regulations that may vary from statewide regulations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ice fishing, ATV riding and snowmobiling. Enforcement actions were taken for lack of ATV registration, lack of conservation license, taking of protected size pike and trespassing. Slush made some areas by the lakes very unsafe.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) maintained gear and screened ice anglers in the area. The winter storm made many lakes muddy and snowmobile trails had many downed trees. If you want to ride ice fish or snowmobile, please be careful.

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Turn in poachers (TIP) in MinnesotaReport an ongoing violation:

To report a violation: Call 800-652-9093 24 hours a day or type #TIP on your cell phone.

To report a non-time sensitive violation: Use the form below

Don’t let poachers spoil your future hunting or fishing pleasure – or your success.

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District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked on the necessary training, prepared the equipment for winter use and received several calls from people with questions about snowmobiles. Please stay on the designated trails during operation and slow down if you don’t know where the trail is, as most trails in the area are ungroomed.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) assisted with training at Camp Ripley, overseeing snowmobile activity and screening ice anglers. Ice fishing has slowed as recent snowfall has made getting onto the lakes a challenge, but snowmobiling has started to pick up.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) processed snowmobile activity in the area with the fresh snow. Snowmobile owners are reminded to check the sled for required registration and transfer ownership. Fishing activity in the area has slowed as heavy snowfalls have made conditions wet and muddy.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week screening anglers and snowmobilers. Enforcement action was taken for a lack of fishing license, shelter ID, snowmobile registration, and snowmobile safety training. The lakes in the area are very muddy.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) hit the trails after the big snow storm. Many trails had fallen trees and were very uneven as the heavy wet snow followed by freezing temperatures was not ideal. Be careful on the lakes. There was a report of a spear guard going through the ice on Green Lake.

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