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DNR Report: March. 7

District 6 Two Harbors area

Conservation Officer Sean Williams (Ely) reports that he, along with other DNR officials, attended and testified at the Wildlife Research Institute hearing in St. Paul. Williams was made aware of a possible incident in which a barred owl attacked a resident. The story could not be confirmed as no one involved had yet stepped forward. Violations included litter, operating an unregistered snowmobile, and failure to display snowmobile registration.

Conservation Officer

Marty Stage (Ely) ran the lakes checking for fish houses in peril and assessing ice conditions. There were places beyond description. It’s bad. The public is advised to be careful. The trails are fantastic, but beware of creeks and lakes. There is so much snow on the ice that conditions are similar to “overflow” which the officer experienced on the rivers in the Alaskan arctic. After being stuck many times and being soaked from the slush, the officer stresses the extreme importance of traveling in groups and staying away from the back bays and other usual bad spots. Those choosing to go off- trail are urged to bring a shovel, rubber boots, extra gloves, and a long rope.

Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) took several calls and talked to people about the slush conditions on area lakes. Snow is very deep on many lakes and slush can come up fast after holes are drilled. The officer advises the public to carry snowshoes to facilitate walking on snow-covered lakes. With knee deep snow, walking any distance becomes a greater challenge. It is also best not to travel alone. Let people know where you are going and when they can expect you back. It is recommended to cut fishing days short; being stuck in the slush is bad, but being stuck in the slush in the dark is even worse. There is no greater stress test than the workout you get when digging your snowmobile out of the slush.

Conservation Officer Mary Manning (Hovland) attended a conference for training officers. Manning also patrolled snowmobile trails and area lakes and took calls regarding cross country ski passes and deer on Lake Superior’s ice.  

Conservation Officer Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) testified in court and worked with the St. Louis County attorney’s office on other cases. Snow conditions are great, but temperatures remained bitterly cold making for a slow week of snowmobile activity. Ice houses were monitored for removal and litter. Enforcement action was taken for failure to transfer snowmobile ownership, failure to stop at a road crossing and failure to display a trail sticker. The public is reminded to purchase the 2014 fishing license, as the 2013 licenses are now expired.

Conservation Officer Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time on his patrol snowmobile working trails and checking backcountry trout lakes. Time was spent in the vacant Silver Bay station as well. Mandatory online training was completed and lesson plans for the upcoming in-service were prepared.

Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week and responded to several car-injured deer calls. Deep snow along the North Shore has increased deer activity along area roads and trails. Areas of deep slush have again reappeared on area lakes making lake travel a challenge for anglers.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Conservation Officer  Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers along the North Shore and inland lakes. Fish shelters were being worked on for the upcoming deadline for removal.

Conservation Officer Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on Lake Superior. A wide ice shelf in front of Duluth has allowed access for anglers that hasn’t been seen in a few years. Anglers need to remember, however, that a change in the wind can turn a fun day of fishing into a life threatening float on an iceberg. Some anglers are struggling to remove their ice houses in the Duluth harbor; this deadline is going to be important as the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder is scheduled to begin breaking ice on Tuesday. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

Conservation Officer Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers fishing the ice of Lake Superior. Lots of anglers were taking advantage of the ice there. Some ATVs and snowmobiles were seen on the ice. The public is reminded to use caution as some ice has moved from the shore, giving a few anglers wet boots as they returned to their vehicles. The bait shops did a good job of reminding most anglers to purchase a new license on March 1st as the license year changed at the end of February. A few anglers spent time trying to access their ice houses on Superior Bay to get them removed before the deadline. The officer also spent time on reports and follow-up. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
(218) 834-2141