District 6 - Two Harbors area
Conservation Officer Marty Stage (Ely) spent time in the BWCAW watching and checking fishermen who were enjoying incredible walleye fishing. It appeared most fishermen were doing a good job of counting and officers were pleased to see that the word must have gotten out about leaving the skin on the fillets, because that violation was not encountered throughout the week. Please do not leave your fish cleanings in the water at the campsite shoreline, campers get their water from there all summer.
Conservation Officer Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked angling and boating enforcement inland and in the BWCA and ATV enforcement. An 18-year-old and his dad were fishing on Birch Lake when the young angler caught a 33-inch walleye. Dad decided to mount the fish for his graduation present. Enforcement action for the week included taking walleyes by illegal method, unregistered boats and canoes, no navigation lights after sunset, no personal flotation devices, transporting watercraft with drain plug in place, no fishing license in possession, and failure to stop at road crossing on ATV.
Conservation Officer Sean Williams (Ely) reported that although the weather was cool and rainy, many persistent anglers had good luck on many of the area lakes. At the beginning of the weekend some of the larger lakes still had large amounts of ice on them, but they should be completely open by early next week. Violations included: angling without license in possession, expired boat registration, and transporting fish without a skin patch.
Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) responded to several fires in the area, with fire danger being extremely high. In some instances fires from several days earlier were fanned to life by high winds. Enforcement action was taken for failure to obtain a burning permit and allowing a campfire to spread. Lakes finally became ice free in the area and a few anglers were having some luck. Murray also continued to work ATV and fish run activities.
Conservation Officer Brad Johnson (Silver Bay) reported that he accepted a transfer to the Ham Lake Station. While travelling southbound on I-35 to his new assignment, he located a recently reported stolen vehicle from Duluth. A high speed vehicle pursuit ensued when Carlton County deputies attempted to stop the vehicle. Several law enforcement agencies were involved, and stop sticks were deployed to deflate the tires. The suspect was apprehended and booked in the Carlton County jail.
Conservation Officer Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area forest roads and noted state taxpayers will be purchasing many new road signs to replace ones that have been stolen over the winter. Fishing was slow on inland lakes. Lake Superior tributaries were busy and producing steelhead. Anglers and campers were checked at area lakes. Manning helped teach ATV Safety class/field day, assisted with a litter complaint, and took a report of a dead, tagged wolf in Hovland.
Conservation Officer Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers, ATV riders and responded to a litter violation. The officer assisted in teaching in the classroom and the riding part of an ATV safety course. Inland anglers were excited to get their boats into the water after most lakes became ice free. Steelhead anglers were doing well in certain tributaries with some nice loopers seen in the bag.
Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reported a very uneventful week. Most of the lakes in Cook County opened; only a few were reported to have remaining ice. People generally stayed away from the open water. The officer assisted with an ATV field day for young students and attended a pizza party afterwards with the newly certified students. A good time was had by all and a special thanks to the Cook County ATV Club, and volunteer instructors for their support of the kids. Even though the weather hasn’t been cooperating the lake trout have been.
District 8 - Duluth area
Conservation Officer Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reminds boaters and anglers to keep safety at the forefront, as water temperatures are extremely cold due to the late ice out. Most area lakes are now ice-free but the poor weather conditions have left most anglers shore bound. The officer responded to several grass fires throughout the station. Several fires originated where a person doing yard clean up lost control of a recreational fire. Citations and suppression costs are usually given to the responsible party. Several radio and newspaper interviews were given after a story broke about two eagles that had crash landed at an airport. The birds were fighting over territory and needed intervention to be freed from their deadly grip on each other. One eagle was taken to the Rapture Center for recovery.
Conservation Officer Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to work fishing enforcement around the area. River fishing along Lake Superior was busy. Most lakes are now clear of ice and open for boat fishing. Fishing pressure is high in areas that have inlet into lakes. Several nights were worked, with officers looking to take enforcement action on anyone attempting to take advantage of the vulnerable fish by illegal methods.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sergeant Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along the North Shore and the St. Louis River. Smelters are still trying along Park Point and North Shore rivers. Enforcement action was taken for boating violations. Officers Olson and Schmidt attended a question and answer session for the participants of a walleye tournament on the St. Louis River. The officer worked nights with fellow district officers on North Shore rivers and responded to several injured deer complaints, and met with the University Police Department on stream access and trespass issues.
Conservation Officer Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river anglers during a cool windy weekend. Many anglers have found that their favorite spots from years past have changed or altogether disappeared because of the floods of 2012. Property was returned following a court disposition, and a road-killed black bear was removed from a busy traffic area. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
Conservation Officer Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked spring fish run anglers on the shore of Lake Superior. Ter Meer assisted other officers with traditional fishing hotspots. A larger number of anglers were observed as a result of the better weather conditions than existed for the actual fishing opener weekend.