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Conservation officers' weekly report

The purpose of the Minnesota DNR Division of Enforcement weekly report is to promote the effective law enforcement and education that protect Minnesota's natural resources. Information is gathered from the Division's 18 districts as well as various subsections and compiled. This reported is dated May 14.

District 2 — Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy opening weekend of the walleye/northern pike season. Several anglers were checked with mixed results. A boating under the influence arrest was made on Saturday evening. Vollbrecht patrolled closed spawning areas and ATV trails. Boaters were checked for AIS compliance at area accesses.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the end of the walleye spawn. One suspect was seen snagging bass from a canoe using a stick, line and large treble hook with the aid of a light. The same suspect also snagged a sucker in a closed spawning area. Multiple charges were filed. During the opening of walleye season, angling was hit or miss with some areas doing well and others offering slow action. Peterson also followed up on a TIP call of a muskie being speared. Evidence and statements were gathered, and charges are pending.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) investigated a wolf depredation, testified in court for a baiting case and assisted at a detail in Bemidji. Fishing opener success was slow going, likely due to cool water.

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending annual training in Perham. Time was also spent checking turkey hunters. Anglers and watercraft operators were contacted on area lakes and rivers. A fishing-related work detail was attended in Beltrami County.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports weather was very good for the 2018 fishing opener, though many anglers stated the fishing was slow. Vinton had contact with several anglers seining their own minnows in infested waters. The anglers were educated about taking bait in infested waters. Vinton attended district firearms training and addressed a local sportsmen's club. Enforcement action was taken for no PFD, no licenses in possession and AIS issues.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked complaints of illegal burning. Investigations are ongoing. Areas were patrolled for ATV activity. Warren assisted with the fifth-grade natural resources day at Fischer Farm in Frazee. Use of force training and qualifications were completed. Complaints of suckers being left after bowfishing and removal of aquatic vegetation were received. The fishing opener was worked with a mixed bag of results. People are reminded to do a check of their watercraft to ensure all required safety equipment is aboard while out on the water.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring AIS, angling, and boat and water safety. There was a good turnout of anglers enjoying the nice weather on opener. Unfortunately, very few walleyes were caught and the panfish activity was also slow. The officer responded to several TIP calls of individuals fishing in a closed area as well as a report of an individual keeping bass out of season. Anglers are reminded the season to keep bass opens May 26. The officer also attended spring qualification in Perham. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, no type IV throwable onboard, and cutting aquatic vegetation without a permit.

District 4 — Walker area

CO Colleen Adam (Park Rapids) checked a few turkey hunters and monitored trout fishing activity, OHV operations and closed forest issues. She responded to illegal daytime burning and had a pleasant fishing opener. It was a mixed bag of success, beginning at midnight at the dam with some frustrated anglers not having the typical success. Others enjoyed sun-filled days on the lakes while catching crappies and walleyes and enjoying the weather and company.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Walleyes and perch were biting for those who were fishing in shallow water. Time was spent at the CO Academy and at a qualification firearms training. A public water alteration complaint was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, illegal-length walleyes, fishing in a closed area and boating violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) reports working on fishing enforcement. The anglers were out in full force for the walleye opener and the walleye bite is slow. The panfish bite was also slow. Violations he observed were no fishing license, no watercraft registration license and not enough PFDs. He worked on AIS prevention. Most boaters are doing well cleaning, pulling plugs and draining live wells. He checked turkey hunters who are still seeing turkeys, but report that they are not responding to the calls.

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) worked sport fishing, ATV and trapping enforcement. Trapping cases were wrapped up, incidentals collected and nuisance permits issued. Fishing was pretty poor on the opener with colder water than usual. Enforcement action was taken for no PFDs, no fishing license, and possession of northern pike within a protected slot length.