Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending April 20, 2021. The complete report is available at

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working sport fishing, ATV, and fish run activities. Water temperatures were rising through the first part of the week. The surface water temperature in a lot of areas lakes is in the mid-40s. Some anglers were having success with crappies, but for the most part it was still difficult to find crappies in shallow areas. Swedberg also worked a TIP complaint with CO Landmark on early bowfishers along the Pelican River. The COs were able to make contact with two groups of bowfishers who did not realize the season starts in two weeks (April 24). Enforcement action for the week included angling without a license, bowfishing out of season, illegal operation by a youth on an ATV and OHM, operating an OHM on a county highway, and expired boat registration.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) continued training COC Nicholas Baum this week. Sullivan and Baum instructed a firearms safety class at Pequot Lakes Middle School. Sullivan and Baum patrolled the Rainy River and observed violations including no license in possession, no noise making device, throwable lifesaving device, and fire extinguisher, failure to renew watercraft registration, angling with an extra line, and angling without a license. Sullivan and Baum patrolled the Baxter and Pequot Lakes area for recreational vehicles and observed violations including no helmets on youths, failure to renew ATV registration, no ATV safety certificate, allowing illegal operation of an ATV, and operating motor vehicles on a posted closed road.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSAR) reports checking area lakes for fishing and boating activity throughout the week and weekend. Several anglers were reminded that the designated trout lakes are closed for every species until the opener of trout fishing. Fitzgerald patrolled the park for illegal ATV and closed trail issues. Park passes were checked and many outdoor law-related questions were fielded. Several calls about injured animals were taken and assistance was given to park staff on some SRA-related issues.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, boating, ATV, trapping, and AIS enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. Time was also spent closing out open investigations and conducting equipment maintenance. Several questions regarding new angling regulations and nuisance-animal complaints were fielded and handled, as well.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers, ATV riders, and fire activity. Activity was relatively low due to the cold and wet weather. Mathy investigated a report of littered snow goose carcasses along a roadway. Mathy also assisted at an ATV accident in the Paul Bunyan State Forest. Enforcement action was taken for an angling violation and driving on closed forest roads in the state forest.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity and attended training this week. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating a suspect who fled into the woods. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and arrests were made for outstanding warrants.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking local fishing activity, ATV activity, working invasive species enforcement and following up on forest-product-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for illegal ATV operation.

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the majority of the week working trapping enforcement. Beaver trappers have been reporting a decent amount of success. Area rivers and streams were patrolled for fishing activity and forest roads were patrolled for ATV activity.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked anglers along the North Shore and also at accesses along Lake Superior. Angling success has slowed in the past week but some boats are still having some luck. River anglers have been getting out despite the weather and are having some success for steelhead. ATV complaints and closed area issues were worked. He also spent time on invasive species enforcement at accesses. Injured- and nuisance-wildlife complaints were handled, as was equipment maintenance and preparation of watercraft.


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