DNR Report: Jan. 19
Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a frigid trout opener with other officers in the Grand Marais station. Lake conditions were generally good with only a few slushy areas. Fishing success on most lakes was slow, but some determined anglers caught a few fish.
Enforcement action included licensing violations and possessing live minnows on designated trout lake.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the trout opener this weekend. Cold weather may have played a role in the lack of anglers compared to years past. Time was also spent on beat-up snowmobile trails. While there is snow, the trails remain very rough.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy week of deer cases, trapping cases and angling and snowmobile enforcement. Trails have improved greatly with the new snow. Trout anglers were slowed a bit by the frigid weather on opener. A search warrant was executed for deer hunting violations, with over-limit of deer being the primary violation.
Other enforcement action included expired snowmobile registration, illegal snowmobile operation, no trout stamp, angling prior to the trout opener and unmarked fish house.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time checking anglers and snowmobilers over the busy trout opener. The snowmobile trails are in great condition with the recent snowfall. Enforcement action was taken for angling, snowmobile and ATV violations.
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports very good fishing success was reported in the Ely area. The 20 degrees-below-zero weather deterred many anglers from attending the winter trout opener, with only about half as many anglers seen. Most who did had at least some success, with some anglers checked leaving with limits.
Violations included angling without a license and taking trout without a trout stamp.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) traveled into the BWCAW for work details. Officers encountered a 100 percent violation rate for the fishing parties contacted on one day. The trout opener was good, even though nearly a foot of snow had fallen, making lake travel more difficult. There is slush beginning in many areas as well, so be prepared.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked anglers with other officers during the opening of the winter trout season. Estimates by officers showed the very cold temps reduced participation by about 50 percent. Cold weather usually doesn't have that much of an effect on the opener outside the BWCA, but add that to Vikings mania, and many anglers decided to sit it out. Some anglers mentioned that they were only going to fish Saturday and head home for the game on Sunday.
Only one father was checked by Fagerman fishing with kids. When the conservation officer mentioned the man didn't need a license because of Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, the man stated that he never heard of it and wanted to show his license anyway.
Angling and snowmobile registration violations were encountered.
CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) continued follow up on deer cases from the fall. The officer worked a cold and busy trout opener. Snowmobile trails were also busy during the long weekend. Manning assisted a volunteer ATV safety instructor in teaching a class at the local school and students are looking forward to the field day.