Conservation Officer Report: Cold Opener | Sports & Recreation
The Minnesota DNR provided the following summaries of last week's activities by Conservation Officers:
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported that it was a COLD opener, but that didn’t stop diehard anglers from finding ways to participate and even catching a few walleyes around the area. Even with the cold water conditions a few boaters needed reminders that safety needed to come first and life jackets and other safety equipment is required and could possibly save their lives. A few ATV violations were also encountered. Some time was also spent helping a fisheries crew sample walleye populations on the St. Louis River. Two eagles, that were injured while fighting over their territories, were captured and brought to the Rapture Center for recovery.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working steelhead enforcement in the tributaries along Lake Superior. Many nights were also worked with focus on smelting and other spring fish run illegal activities. Opening walleye/northern fishing was very slow this year. The only open water in the Duluth area was the St. Louis River. Some lakes had open bays that allowed people to fish from shore with small boats. Some reports of people ice fishing were taken, but Officer Duncan was not on the ice checking. Many calls were returned and illegal taking of fish continues to be investigated and worked.
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked the St. Louis River for angling opener. Equipment and registration issues were main violations observed. Mixed results were seen for angling success but overall a rather slow bite. Illegal fires continue to be reported and investigated. ATV complaint areas were worked.
Sgt. Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked smelters along Park Point and the Lester River. Smelters had a few select nights during the week when the smelt cooperated. Opener was spent on the St. Louis River. It was the only open water in the Duluth area. The weather was windy, cool, with freezing rain and snow. The walleye bite was slow compared to past openers. The heartiest of anglers endured the weather. North Shore rivers in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas are taking runs of fish. Nuisance wildlife questions and concerns fielded.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior and on the S.t Louis River. Due to inland lakes being frozen, the St. Louis was the only open water in the area. Cold weather still limited angling activity and the fishing was slow. Fish run activity was monitored in Lake Superior tributaries, and invasive species efforts found high compliance rates among boaters. Enforcement action taken for angling, ATV, and invasive species violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent most of the week at training. He also did some work patrolling fish run areas.