Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Dec. 28, 2020. The complete report is available at

CO Mike Cross (Lake George) worked primarily ice fishing and trapping activity throughout the past week. Ice conditions still vary greatly, with anywhere from 4 to 13 inches on lakes in the area. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, fishing without a license, and expired ATV registration. Remember all Minnesota regulations books can be downloaded as a PDF to your smartphone for quick reference in case you do not have the book.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued to train a conservation officer candidate. He patrolled Upper Red Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, the Whitefish Chain and local lakes. McGowan investigated a big-game violation and a complaint of an angler on a designated trout lake. Enforcement action was taken for a felony arrest warrant, traffic, fishing, ATV and snowmobile violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice fishing activity over the past week with numerous people out and about over the beginning of the Christmas break. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession and burning prohibited materials.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the fisher and pine marten season came and went with extremely low activity despite Hill seeing decent critter sign leading up to the season. Cross-country ski enthusiasts were out in force taking advantage of the nice weather and trail conditions throughout the holiday weekend. Ski pass compliance was overall pretty good, but a fair number of people took to the trails without buying their pass. Hill expects the skiing activity to ramp up after the new year and suggests people get out early in the day to avoid large crowds and cramped parking. Snowmobile activity is beginning to rise and enforcement action was taken for registration and safety certification violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. Ice anglers were out in large numbers over the holiday weekend. The ice conditions continue to improve, and ATVs and snowmobiles are being seen out on area lakes. Success is mixed and the best bite continues to be in the evening. He checked snowmobilers out in the ditches and on the lakes. Violations for expired registration and no youth safety certificate were found. ATVs operating in the closed Pillsbury State Forest were reported. Small-game hunters were also out.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking several calls about suspicious activity in fish houses on area lakes. Ice conditions remain variable across the station, with typical thicknesses ranging from 6 to 10 inches. A report of a shelter through the ice on Otter Tail Lake was taken, but it was stated the house was removed and people attempted to mark the hole with branches. Some light snow in the area brought out snowmobilers but trail conditions were poor. Snowmobilers are reminded their registrations may have expired in June and they should check them prior to riding.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked angling activity on area lakes. Ice angling activity continues to increase as ice conditions improve. He spent time working on Upper Red Lake, which has been very busy. Angler success was mixed.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) reports spending time patrolling on Upper Red Lake and investigating a TIP report with several area officers. Violations encountered included no fish house/shelter license, fishing without a license, possessing dressed/filleted fish on special regulation waters, fishing with extra lines and possession of marijuana.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked ice fishing activity this past week as ice continues to thicken. Ice conditions are still widely variable, with some areas freezing over within the past few days. Angler success is good with panfish and some walleyes being caught as well. Possessing illegal substances, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, and expired ATV registration were a few of the violations detected.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time this past week checking fishing activity. She reports ice thickness of 9 to 12 inches in most areas. Several fish houses were on the move over the weekend getting out onto area lakes. Fishing seems to be slower, but not for lack of trying by anglers. Anglers are reminded that identification and a shelter tag must be displayed on the outside of a fish house.


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