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DNR officers urge continued caution on the ice as conditions remain variable

Remember no ice is 100% safe. Have a plan, carry safety equipment and let someone know where you are and when you expect to return. If possible, fish with a partner.

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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, Dec. 5:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) worked on station equipment preparation and patrolled area wildlife management areas and state parks. Lake of the Woods was still mostly wide open on the west side as of the week after Thanksgiving. With more ice should come good ice fishing.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of the youth snowmobile safety classes in Warren and Newfolden. He monitored early ice fishing activity. Enforcement action for the week included angling without a license, no ice shelter license, no lights on an ATV, burning prohibited materials and no license in possession.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking muzzleloader and archery deer hunters and anglers on area lakes. Time was spent monitoring trapping activity and investigating TIP calls. Violations encountered and addressed included possession of northern pike within the protected slot, unattended lines, no ice shelter tag and angling license violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports increased fishing activity on Upper Red Lake. Prachar worked with other local COs and the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office to retrieve a significant number of anglers who blew away from shore on Upper Red Lake. Time was spent working muzzleloader deer hunting and angling activity.


The bear had been denned up in a culvert that started to flow during the recent warmup and became stuck when he attempted to seek drier cover, said a DNR bear project leader.

Warroad North – vacant.

Warroad South – vacant.

Baudette East – vacant.

Baudette West – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) patrolled with COC Paavola for deer hunting and ice angling activity. Time was also spent following up on bear-baiting and trespass cases. Enforcement action for the week included failure to submit a bear tooth sample.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes. Time was spent following up on deer-season investigations.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking ice anglers, small-game hunters, and muzzleloader hunters. Cold weather during the week really made an impact on ice conditions, as many lake have 6 inches of ice or more. Fishing remained slow over the weekend, but some anglers were finding some panfish and walleyes. No limits were seen.

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Contributed/Minnesota DNR

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked muzzleloader deer hunters, spoke to a snowmobile safety class and responded to calls of an illegal deer stand and a deer shot from the road and left to waste with its antlers cut off.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, small game and deer hunting enforcement. Ice fishing activity is picking up on smaller lakes in the area. Remember no ice is 100% safe. Have a plan, carry safety equipment and let someone know where you are and when you expect to return. If possible, fish with a partner. Time was also spent attending annual in-service training.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time checking ice anglers and ice conditions. WMAs and WPAs were patrolled for hunters, including muzzleloader deer and pheasant hunters. Follow up continued on open cases.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) continued working with COC Fox. Time was spent checking pheasant hunters and muzzleloader deer hunters. The colder weather brought ice to some areas that were open water in the previous week. Ice anglers were excited to be out, but should continue to exercise caution when going out on new ice. Violations included illegal-length fish on Lake Lida, fishing without a license and expired ATV registration with machines on the ice. Calls from the public included reports of injured deer.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports following up on hunting complaints, public access issues and calls of injured wildlife. Additional time was spent writing reports and working wetland violations and ice anglers.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) finalized Division training and checked some early ice anglers through the week. Colder weather has favored ice-making the past few days. Plautz monitored trapping, small game and muzzleloader activity through the week.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) checked deer hunters and anglers throughout the week. Big game cases were worked and enforcement action was taken. Anglers report mild success on area waters and unstable ice conditions in spots.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) answered questions about trespass, fish house regulations, snowmobile regulations and deer hunting regulations. A few hard-sided fish houses have been moved out on area lakes. Snowmobile safety class preparation has begun.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued field training COC Anderson. The officers worked ice fishing and continued deer hunting activity in Douglas and Todd counties. Ice fishing activity has increased, with shallower area lakes having sufficient ice to support foot travel. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license, burning prohibited materials, possession of drug paraphernalia and ongoing trespass concerns. A side-by-side ATV went through a popular area lake, highlighting how ice thickness varies.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week working on follow-up investigations, angling and big game enforcement. Assistance to local law enforcement agencies was also given.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) spent time completing various tasks for the Division.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and pheasant and deer hunters. Additional time was focused on wetland violations and investigating a litter complaint. Area ice conditions have not improved much over the past week.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Corey Sura (Remer) checked early ice anglers, as well as a handful of hunters partaking in the muzzleloader season. Annual training was completed, and a shining complaint was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register deer as required.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and hunting activity. Hughes reminds people to use caution when heading out onto the ice.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked deer archery/muzzleloader season, small game hunting and early ice fishing. Activity remained consistent throughout the week, and Cross saw more anglers heading out onto local lakes. Ice conditions in the area continue to range from limited to no ice, to some area lakes having 5 to 7 inches. Additionally, a late-season deer hunt was added to Cross’s station to include deer Permit Area 184, which will be held Dec. 16-18.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked ice anglers. Activity is increasing as the ice slowly gets thicker. The ice is still quite variable, with open water to about 8 inches of ice seen in the area. Mathy investigated an incident where three deer carcasses were dumped. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and angling violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) made contact with anglers out on several lakes. Many anglers were going out for the first time and had a few fish in the bucket. Fishing violations were addressed, with various enforcement action taken. He is still seeing some muzzleloader hunters.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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