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Illegal-length fish, no license in possession among top violations encountered by DNR officers

Violations on Lake of the Woods included possessing an illegal-length walleye, possessing unmeasurable and uncountable walleye/sauger fillets on the ice and angling with extra lines.

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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 Tuesday, Jan. 17.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) patrolled parts of Roseau County after receiving various trespass complaints regarding coyote hunters. Huener also patrolled Lake of the Woods with new COs Tony Hams and Coby Fontes. Violations for the week included transporting a loaded rifle in a motor vehicle, possessing an illegal-length walleye, possessing unmeasurable and uncountable walleye/sauger fillets on the ice, angling with extra lines and minor snowmobile infractions.

CO Tony Hams (Warroad North) spent the week checking area anglers. Violations encountered were no shelter tag displayed, angling with extra lines, no license in possession and illegal-length fish.

CO Coby Fontes (Baudette East) spent the week primarily enforcing ice fishing laws and regulations. He reports that several extra-line and illegal-length fish violations were discovered during his patrols. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity in the area. He responded to calls of injured deer and snowmobile trespass. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, no ice shelter license, illegal-length northern pike and angling without a license in possession.


Based on DNR creel surveys, anglers landed an estimated 15,000 crappies this winter on Upper Red, compared with about 900 crappies, on average, over the previous 10 winters or more.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working angling activity on area lakes and receiving reports from anglers that, for many anglers, fishing has been slow. Time was spent working on closing out a fire investigation from this past fall and deer hunting cases from the deer season. Violations encountered and addressed included snowmobile registration, ice shelter license and identification and angling license violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports nice trail conditions even with the warm weather and lack of snow. Angling success on Upper Red Lake has been inconsistent but most anglers are finding some success. Enforcement action was taken for DWI, open bottle and no angling license in possession.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at two snowmobile safety classes this past week. Time was also spent checking snowmobile operators and anglers. Work continues on some deer case-related follow ups.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent following up on licensing violations from the 2022 firearms deer season.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Area snowmobile and cross-country ski trails were patrolled. A Cross-Country Ski Committee meeting was attended and a deer farm inspection was completed.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working on a background investigation. Landmark also followed up on a TIP call of a possible overlimit.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week learning his new station as well as meeting local officers and DNR staff. Truck and radio maintenance was conducted, as were administrative tasks. Snowmobile activity was high. Violations this week included fishing without a license, ATV registration violations and extra lines.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking snowmobilers and anglers. Many anglers were checked throughout the week, but many reported it was difficult to get the fish to commit. Some anglers had success but really had to work to get fish to bite their lures. Snowmobiling activity also remained high and trails are in great condition.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity, with anglers having fair to good success. Snowmobile activity was worked on area lakes and trails. A complaint of snowmobile trespass was received and investigated. Questions were answered about angling regulations and an injured deer.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) primarily worked snowmobile and ice fishing activity on area trails and lakes. Trail conditions remain good, while angling successes has been hit or miss. Additional time was spent responding to wildlife-related calls and answering general questions from people. With the presence of non-portable shelters increasing on certain lakes, Goodman would like to remind folks to clean up trash and waste frequently. New snow and wind often hides litter violations long after shelters are removed, so if you see an area of concern please report it sooner than later.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time this week focusing on fishing enforcement and trail riders. Plautz conducted a fishing check on a local editor who was fishing with his wife at the time. Upon contact, the editor was on a phone interview with WCCO. Plautz patiently waited for the interview to end and exchanged a nice conversation about area lakes and fishing success. Plautz continues to see a high violation rate of fish houses not displaying proper identification on the fish house. Anglers are reminded they need to have proper ID along and a displayed shelter tag on each fish house that is on a lake.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, snowmobile riders and fish houses. Complaints were received about snowmobiling activity near Battle Lake. The complaints were investigated and enforcement action was taken.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked busy trails and lakes this week. Anglers and snowmobile riders were out in full force with the beautiful weather. Enforcement action was taken on a few anglers for using extra lines and unattended lines and keeping illegal-length fish. Several groups of coyote hunters were also checked.

CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) seeing steady angling activity throughout the station’s lakes. A lot of panfish are showing up in the buckets. Spearing for northern pike remains slow. Various enforcement action was taken on angling violations throughout the week. Snowmobiling activity has picked up in the last few nicer days.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) focused this week’s enforcement efforts on snowmobile riders and anglers. Follow up from the deer season and alcohol enforcement were also worked. She worked with a South Dakota warden on Lake Traverse and encountered numerous violations ranging from no angling license in possession, to extra lines, to overlimits and unattended lines.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) spent time on trainings and work was continued on a background investigation.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent following up on cases from the deer season and investigating litter complaints.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass County lakes and snowmobile trails. Most anglers in the area are reporting a slow bite. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on snowmobile checking anglers and trails. The trails are getting worn with lack of recent snowfall. The most common violations for the week included failure to display snowmobile registration, snowmobile stop sign violations and improper/unmarked ice shelters. A litter case was investigated and resulted in additional violations related to the deer season.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) monitored trapping activity in the area, checked anglers on local waters and patrolled area trails.


CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked trapping, snowmobiling and ice angling enforcement. The weekend was very busy with snowmobilers and ice anglers. Enforcement action was taken for trapping, snowmobiling and ice angling violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and expired registration.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued work on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Some time was spent checking anglers on area lakes. Most anglers report the fishing was slow. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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