DNR Report: May 12
Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) monitored spring beaver trapping and stream trout fishing activities. Fire danger remains high in the area until significant rainfall occurs. Some larger lakes are still holding ice while smaller lakes and ponds are now ice-free.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) saw tributary river activity explode during the week. Area lakes are still ice-covered but wind and heat are doing their jobs. The area is very dry, and windy weather makes for prime spring fire danger.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) was called out to investigate a series of wildland arson fires from north of Lake Winnibigoshish all the way back toward Grand Rapids. If you saw anything suspicious north of U.S. Highway 2 in Itasca County from the late afternoon of April 29 to the early morning hours of April 30, you are urged to call the arson hotline at 800-723-2020. You may be eligible for a reward for information leading to the identification of those responsible. Wildland fires can lead to catastrophic consequences for firefighters and emergency responders, as well as property and homeowners. If you saw something, say something.
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports the North Shore fish and smelt run has picked up. The warmer weather has spiked the river temperatures to optimum spawning run levels. Area rivers were checked with multiple Turn In Poachers reports fielded for various fishing violations. The warmer weather and windy conditions created dangerous fire conditions in the Duluth area. Olson responded to a fire that resulted from failing to put out a previous night's campfire. Surveillance details on area North Shore rivers also conducted.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked smelters and shore anglers. Trout stamp issues were unusually common; anglers were reminded that it is their responsibility to make sure they purchase the correct license and not the responsibility of the gas station worker who sells them a license. Burning violations were located and multiple boats were checked at public accesses during a nice weekend day. Enforcement action was taken for angling, boating and burning violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked area lakes and patrolled area forest roads. Ice is melting and things are looking promising for opener, although some road washouts may be problematic. The officer assisted with ATV safety field day for area students, checked steelhead anglers and issued a possession permit for a road kill bear. A lost ATV operator was guided back to his cabin after being stopped for no registration on his machine. He tried dropping the name of the local officer, whom he didn't realize he was speaking with, before being issued a citation and sent on his way.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked ATVs, trapping and the spring fish run. Enforcement action included allowing illegal juvenile operation of an ATV and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports extreme fire conditions continued over most of the north with a combination of very dry fuels and strong winds. He and local officers spent the week investigating several fires in the region. He also attended training in St. Paul for the state's updated computer dispatching system.
Editor's note: Some conservation officers don't submit reports every week.