Boaters launch on Lake Superior for start of open water season – Duluth News Tribune


District 5 — Sector Eveleth

Conservation Officer Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports spending the past week training at Camp Ripley and working on the Rainy River. A lot of people were on the Rainy River last weekend. Simonson would like to remind people to check boat registration before getting in the water for the first time this open water season and to make sure you have the correct number of personal flotation devices and a disposable type IV on your boat.

Commander John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that fishing activity has turned to the Rainy River with large numbers of people arriving in the area to take advantage of the first open water opportunities. Slatinski has heard several reports of dogs on the loose in the area. He also underwent annual training at Camp Ripley.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring of area lakes, public access sites and local logging roads. Fishing activity remains minimal with little activity observed. The equipment works are in progress. There is still plenty of snow in the woods and sheltered areas. The use of ATVs has been on roads or lakes given the depth of snow in the woods.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) trained throughout the week at Camp Ripley. He also spent time patrolling his station for snowmobiling and angling activities.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked in ATV enforcement and angling. Time was also spent on training and organizing upcoming spring and summer events. Little activity was seen throughout the week as we transition from cold to warmer weather. Anglers continued to report a slow panfish bite on local lakes.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week watching fishing and ATV activity. Anglers reported moderate success this week. The ice is slowly deteriorating as temperatures remain low. ATV riders are reminded that it is their responsibility to check the condition of the trails before using them. Broughten also fielded calls about trespassing, ATVs on snowmobile trails and goose hunting.

District 6 – Two Ports Area

Commander Sean Williams (Ely 1) signals cooler, wetter weather for slow angling activity for most of the week. The few hot, dry days saw a fair amount of anglers although success was limited. ATV closures have also gone into effect on the Taconite and Prospector trails through May due to seasonal thaws.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) trained at Camp Ripley.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time at Camp Ripley arming the division’s handguns. He checked a few snowmobilers on their last run and a few anglers were checked along Superior.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) helped with the annual conservation officer training at Camp Ripley. Manning also attended the Cook County Public Schools Career Expo and checked Lake Superior’s tributaries for rainbow trout anglers.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) followed a training. Angling activity over the weekend was very high and many crappie fishermen were checked. Contacts with law enforcement have been made for snowmobile and ATV registration violations.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) Worked area snowmobile activity in the Finland region while checking boaters and anglers on Lake Superior this week.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports attending annual training at Camp Ripley throughout the week. Hill has also been monitoring the rivers and noticing accelerated melting, which only means tributary angling is imminent. Preparation was made for the upcoming testimony in court.

CO Don Murray (two ports) worked MTB and litter complaints during the week. The North Shore streams became ice free over the weekend as the warmer weather allowed fast flowing water to flow into the streams. Division training was also conducted at Camp Ripley for part of the week.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northhome) checked anglers, patrolled for illegal birch pole-cutting activities, and responded to wildlife-related calls.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and checked fishermen, ATV riders, and small game hunters. Many questions about game and fish have been answered. It also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

Commander Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked on anglers, monitored trapping activity and responded to calls to feed deer. Fairbanks and her K-9 partner, Si, also met with local elementary school children this week. Enforcement action has been taken for licensing issues.

Commander Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling as the winter and ice conditions continued. Some holes have started to form on the lakes in the area near the landing stages, so caution should be exercised when adventuring. Enforcement action was taken for failing to keep proper taxidermy records. Measures have also been taken for angling without a proper 2022 fishing license.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling and ATV activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent tracking aquatic invasive species permits from the lake service provider. Holt worked on open cases and assisted in the inspection and maintenance of division-issued firearms at Camp Ripley.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) Enforcement efforts focused on sport fishing, ATVs and commercial enforcement in surrounding areas. Several nuisance wildlife complaints have been filed and addressed. Van Asch also underwent divisional training.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) efforts concentrated on fishing and trapping activities. Ice conditions in the area remain good overall, but are starting to deteriorate near the shore. Be careful if you venture to ice fish late in the season.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) conducted training at Camp Ripley this week for the serving division. Appeals regarding regulatory issues were handled and a whistleblower appeal was followed up.

CO Andy Schmidt (West Duluth) attended annual continuing education at Camp Ripley. He has been involved in numerous nuisance animal complaints and one trespassing complaint. Time has been spent on anglers along the North Shore and trail closures.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) attended the Law Enforcement Division Continuing Spring Training at Camp Ripley. Fieldwork around the Duluth area consisted of tracking a past hunting infraction, checking anglers along the north shore of Lake Superior, and checking tributaries in the area.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) patrolled Moose Lake and Jay Cooke State Parks and Fond du Lac State Forest for spring road and trail closures. Humphrey attended division training at Camp Ripley midweek.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) followed an annual continuous training and controlled the fishermen along the North Shore. Two harbors and the McQuade public access have recently been opened up enough to launch small boats. Boat anglers target and catch coho salmon with the occasional lake herring in the bag. A lot of people were just happy to be back in open water.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked on anglers and boaters when access was finally cleared of its ice. Anglers eager to get in the water found willing lake trout, but not many salmon. A few icebergs had to be moved by boats near Duluth to get away from the ramp. A gun safety class was taught and seasonal maintenance items were handled. Enforcement action has been taken for angling and recreational boating offences.


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