Cold, rainy weather has hampered spring fishing, turkey hunting activity, DNR officers say

Most sturgeon anglers checked on the Rainy River were using a minimum of 10 ounces of weight to stay on bottom.

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Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, May 2:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) demolished a fishing shelter left out on Lake of the Woods. The law and ethics portion of the firearm safety training was given to the Warroad Class. Anglers were checked on the Warroad River and turkey hunters around Roseau and Marshall counties. Enforcement contacts included anglers fishing without licenses.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) continued preparation and maintenance on boats and attended a Keep It Clean (Lake of the Woods) Committee meeting. Another week of high, fast, dirty water and less than ideal weather conditions made angling success for sturgeon pretty low throughout the week. Most anglers checked on the river were using a minimum of 10 ounces of weight to stay on bottom. Some better success was found for anglers fishing in Four-mile Bay. Reminder that the sturgeon “keep” season is open through Saturday, May 7, and sturgeon fishing is catch-and–release only through May 15.

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) continued to monitor turkey hunting and ATV activity. He spoke at a firearm safety class, and an injured eagle call was handled.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) issued a permit for a car-killed deer and a permit to take nuisance beavers. He continued to monitor turkey hunting activity and conducted follow-up on ongoing cases.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) monitored turkey hunting activity this week. Watercraft maintenance was conducted in preparation for the walleye opener, and nuisance animal calls were handled.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports monitoring spring fish run activity and area ATV trail activity and seasonal trail closures. Time was spent assisting with Officer Water Survival training at Camp Ripley for the MSP academy and assisting instructors with the Blackduck ATV Safety class/field day. Enforcement action for the past week was taken for operating Class 2 ATV in the ditch of a state highway road right-of-way.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports wet conditions are keeping most sportsmen indoors currently. Time was spent preparing for open water fishing season and AIS (aquatic invasive species) enforcement.

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Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending a firearms safety class in Plummer. A possible wetland violation was checked. Angling activity was monitored on area lakes and creeks.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored area streams for spring fish run activity. Incidentally caught otter were seized and donated to the Minnesota Trappers Association fur project. Officer spent a day on the Rainy River checking sturgeon anglers. The current remains strong and the bite was slow. A complaint of an individual burning prohibited materials was investigated, and closed Forest Roads were patrolled.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports investigating TIP calls on possible deer killed out of season and an ATV operating illegally south of U.S. Highway 10. Several calls of dead deer found were taken along with dead swans and eagles. All the swans appeared to have struck power lines, and there was no immediate cause of death for the eagle. Calls were answered about posting of private lands and what to do with illegal stands located on a person’s private property. CO Vinton attended the Vergas firearm safety class.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking the last of the area ice fishermen this week. Rain and warmer weather has started to open up some of the lakes, but some ice remains. Use extreme caution if you are going out on ice still. CO Swedberg also assisted with water survival training for the Minnesota State Patrol Academy.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked ice anglers, monitored ice conditions, worked a slow bow fishing opener and handled calls about bears and incidental trapping kills.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, spring turkey hunting and ATV enforcement. A law and ethics presentation was given to an ATV safety class in Ada. Time was also spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife calls.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) monitored area rivers and streams for fish run activity. WMA and WPAs were patrolled for activity. Lakes were checked for ice conditions and angling. ATV and off-road vehicle activity was worked.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking angling and turkey hunting activity. CO Landmark assisted other neighboring COs with a possible overlimit complaint. CO Landmark also seized an incidental otter and issued a possession tag for a road-killed otter. Time was also spent assisting with the Pelican Rapids firearms safety class, where 21 students were certified.

Bagley – vacant.


Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) observed many area lakes become clear of ice throughout the week. Some of the deeper and more wind-protected lakes will need some sunshine to completely be ice-free. Goodman worked turkey hunters and shore anglers, with both groups reporting minimal success as they battled shifting winds and rain. Additional time was spent investigating waterfowl taken out of season and speaking at two firearms safety classes.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked fish run activity, turkey hunters and spoke to a firearms safety class on laws and ethics. Plautz awarded two volunteer safety instructors with their 40-year awards for teaching firearms safety to youth. Congratulations to Lance Wohlend and James Seelhammer of Deer Creek on their awards. Your work is much appreciated!

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked turkey hunters and fish spawning areas. Cool weather has slowed some spawning fish but it will be picking up soon. A bowfished carp was found in the middle of a county road intersection in Douglas County. Please have a spot to dispose of your rough fish rather than the roadway or road ditch.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) patrolled around the Alexandria and Osakis areas, mainly monitoring panfish fishing activity. Ice-out occurred on most area lakes this week, so a few boats were seen on the water, and some shore anglers were also contacted. Water temperatures are still very low and panfish are not fully active yet. Bowfishing activity has been minimal with the cold/rainy weather. A firearms safety class was spoken to and open-water station equipment was readied for the busy season.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week focusing on angling and small-game enforcement. Water levels are still extremely high and parking lots at the dams are flooded. Wood also assisted CO Douvier with a firearms safety class.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working fishing and turkey hunting enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for burning without a burn permit.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, boaters and spring beaver trappers. Additional time was spent checking ATV operators and turkey hunters. With area lakes being free of ice, station equipment was prepared for open-water use.

Osakis – vacant.

Elbow Lake – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) responded to a loon that accidentally landed in a parking lot. The loon was safely returned to the water.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) investigated a TIP on trapping-related case and spent time patrolling state forest lands in the area for turkey hunting activity and operation on closed trail violations. Bow fishing opener was much slower than past years, with many lakes in the area still ice covered.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for angling activity throughout the week. CO McGowan also maintained station equipment, and completed division trainings.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) responded to a trapping and litter complaint in the Lake George station. Mathy also took a call about a sick deer and answered questions about bear hunting regulations. Some turkey hunters were out and a few anglers were checked. Enforcement action was taken for a trapping violation.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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