Editor's note: Some conservation officers don't submit reports every week.
Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Area lakes again are slush-covered, keeping angling pressure light. Recent snowfalls dumped more than a foot of fresh snow, making snowmobilers happy to be out on the trails. He took enforcement action for licensing violations.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) found a few trout anglers during the week who were having little success. It turned out well for them, though, as the season for trout did not open until Saturday. Groups he checked said they did not bother to read the regulations before heading out and did not notice the lack of activity on area trout lakes. The actual trout opener arrived with two feet of snow, which made access very difficult. Still, many anglers made the trek.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) found station trout lakes very quiet on the opener. Snowmobile trails were busy with an abundance of snow. He followed up on a few final deer cases during the week. He also took enforcement action for taking a doe without a doe permit, failure to register deer as required, snowmobile registration violations, loud exhaust, failure to stop at road crossings and marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a snow-filled trout opener. Heavy snowfall led to a good deal of slush on area lakes, which caused problems for some anglers and led to at least one portable fishing shelter becoming not so portable. Manning checked sled operators, anglers and fishing shelters and spoke with the local radio station on the importance of the Great Minnesota Ski Pass.
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports a good turnout for the regular inland trout opener. There were mild temperatures and generally very little slush. Success was also generally good, with some limits being checked. Her found violations for angling with extra lines, excessive snowmobile speed and failure to display snowmobile registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked trout anglers this past week. Fewer people were out in some locations due to snow and slush, but slush conditions are improving. Fishing was average and some nice fish were caught.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers during the trout opener on area lakes during a work detail. He assisted in the search and rescue of four snowmobile riders who were wet, cold, lost and stuck in a swamp off a backcountry trail. All parties made it out safely. He took enforcement action for possession of drugs and paraphernalia, as well as angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a busy weekend of winter activities in Cook County. Multiple snowmobiles were seen on the trails and lakes. He cited one operator for a juvenile helmet and safety certificate violation. Hill took part in a detail with other officers during the opening weekend of the winter trout season. Anglers from all over the state were in the area, and they caught some nice fish. Some anglers easily obtained their limits, while others used every trick in the book just to get a mark. He handled a few license violations. Hill and other officers assisted Cook County with locating four stranded snowmobilers on a remote swamp after one of their snowmobiles got stuck. Aside from wet feet and a few signs of hypothermia, the parties were in good spirits and were thankful the officers were close by when the call came out. A reminder that it is a necessity to have survival equipment handy when riding snowmobiles in remote areas of the state. Things can go wrong at any moment, even on shorter rides. The riders were extremely lucky they had cell phone coverage.
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked trout lakes over the weekend in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. The recent snow has area trails in good condition, and they are busy. Olson investigated a crashed and abandoned snowmobile along the North Shore Trail in the Two Harbors area during the week. He reported violations for loud mufflers and registration issues.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked inland trout anglers on the trout season opener. Deep snow required people to expend extra efforts all along the Gunflint Trail and North Shore. He checked snowmobile riders. Common violations were for safety training requirements and modified exhaust systems. He took enforcement action for angling and snowmobile violations.