Editor's note: Some conservation officers don't submit reports every week.
Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling, trapping and snowmobile activity during the past week. Area lakes continue to be problematic for anglers with areas of slush. Most snowmobile trails are in good shape with a high volume of users. Murray also assisted with a fur registration station in Two Harbors.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) trout opener last week; slush is very deep in many areas due to mild temperatures and heavy snow. Time was spent with wildlife complaints and snowmobile complaints.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a two-day detail on Mille Lacs Lake with CO Lerchen. The lake was very busy with a high violation rate. Assistance was provided with fur registration in Tower, deer cases were worked, and lakes and trail were patrolled. Enforcement action included trapping without a small-game license; taking a doe without a permit; no fishing license; extra lines; unattended lines; illegal-length walleyes; overlimit of walleyes; marijuana/drug paraphernalia; and expired registration on ATVs and snowmobiles.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked anglers and snowmobilers primarily. Manning worked a detail with fellow officers for the first trout-fishing opening of the season on lakes entirely inside the BWCAW. Slush is challenging on area lakes for both sleds and folks on foot.
Manning also rang in the new year by being berated by a would-be skier upset about needing a Minnesota ski pass to use an area trail system. Manning explained the expenses involved in maintaining and grooming the outstanding ski trails — paid for in part through the funding provided by the passes — but the skier opted to skip buying a pass and went elsewhere.
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) checked a good number of trout anglers attending the BWCAW trout opener. Slush and snow conditions were tough, and some groups camping in the BWCAW reported it taking seven hours to travel less than 2 miles. Violations included angling with extra lines, possessing live bait on a designated trout lake and taking trout without a trout stamp.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Slush conditions are bad and fishing was slow all week. Snowmobile trail conditions are very nice other than lake conditions, which should be improving later next week with the decreasing overnight temperatures.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week in the BWCAW during the trout opener. Overall, the ice conditions were decent with some deep pockets of slush. He also monitored snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for taking fish out of season, live minnows on a designated trout lake and multiple snowmobile violations.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports tackling a multitude of different winter activities throughout the past week. Hill took part in a BWCAW trout detail with area officers. Multiple anglers were contacted and a few different species were seen in the bag. One angler was spoken to about using game fish as bait.
Snowmobiles are out in full force as the holiday season is behind us. A few registration violations were handled and a party was cited for an illegal exhaust. Hill hit the ski trails and contacted cross-country skiers. Unfortunately, ski pass compliance was very poor and multiple tickets and verbal warnings were issued.
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked snowmobile enforcement in and around the Duluth-Two Harbors areas. Olson reports registration and safety certificates were the most common violations found. He checked anglers along the North Shore and on inland lakes, where some crappies were seen in the buckets of anglers.