District 5 — Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports rainy weather has kept most people close to home, with fishing on Rainy Lake and Rainy River being slow over the holiday weekend. People are reminded to leave young animals alone as in most cases they will be fine as the mother will return for them at a later time. A district meeting and training were attended in Duluth. The Wall of Shame was presented to surrounding area 11- and 12-year-old students at an Outdoor Learning Days Event.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) reports a busy week of working OHV, boating, and angling enforcement. Earlier in the week, he assisted in finding a lost morel picker who had gotten turned around in the woods. Luckily, the individual was able to give a fairly accurate description of where he was and was able to find his way out by listening to the emergency sirens sent off by a squad. Zavodnik also spent the day working the T.I.P. Trailer with neighboring conservation officers. Talking points were discussed to local elementary students regarding the importance of conservation and questions were also answered. Fishing success over the weekend seemed spotty with reports of small walleyes being caught. Some violations found over the week included unattended lines, expired boat registration, not enough life-saving devices on board watercraft, and failure to drain water-related equipment before transport.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports angling, ATV use, boating safety, and education were focus areas this past week. Assistance was given locating an individual who became lost hunting for mushrooms. Fortunately, he had the foresight to realize he was lost and had a cellular signal to call for help before darkness set in. A display for a youth outdoor education event was staffed with approximately 100 students passing through over two days. Fishing reports have been mixed but overall reports have been positive.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports wind and rain dampened outdoor activities. Boating and AIS activity was monitored. ATVs were checked and beaver-related issues were tended to. Equipment work continues. Spare time was spent returning phone calls on a variety of topics. A district meeting was attended.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, boating and ATV activity. Anglers still reporting limited success on Lake Vermilion. The walleyes that anglers are finding are still on the small side. Broughten also investigated a complaint of ATVs operating in wetlands. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, boating, and angling violations.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports the past week had a definite increase in walleye-fishing success. Many limits were being taken although some were on the smaller side. Hopkins took enforcement action on registration violations, loud boats, and watercraft safety violations. He worked with CO Broughten on an AIS detail on Highway 53 and a number of violations were dealt with. A group of ATV operators in the Superior National Forest were operating in a wetland. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and boating activity, the state park, ATV riders, invasive species enforcement, conducted a site inspection with the county on an uncooperative landowner on a wetland violation, attended training in Duluth and gave a presentation on duties of a conservation officer to fifth-grade classes in Hibbing. One ATV driver racked up violations of no handgun permit to carry in possession, operating on a public highway, no helmet on a passenger under 18, too many passengers, and operating in a prohibited/closed area on state land. Violations were numerous and varied, consisting of angling without a license, no license in possession, OHV trespass, ATV in public waters, no burning permit, minor in consumption of alcohol, providing alcohol to a minor, several boat registration and no PFD violations, no permit to carry in possession and a number of ATV, PWC, and AIS violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) investigated several fires in the Virginia area. At one of the fires, an interview with a suspect revealed that he intentionally started the fire. He will be cited. Cooler weather over the Memorial Day weekend pushed many people off the lakes and onto their ATVs and OHMs. Unfortunately, some of those riders choose to ride on snowmobile trails. Numerous Virginia-area snowmobile trails are now rutted up from ATV traffic so badly that it will take a long time for them to be smoothed out. Frericks reminds all ATV riders to stay off of snowmobile trails.