ATVing and fishing in Saskatchewan’s backcountry

The lure of the wild is strong with Trevor Schell, who regularly spends his spare time out exploring his local trails


This small lake is Trevor's quiet summer getaway.

This small lake is Trevor Schell's quiet summer getaway. — Photo courtesy Trevor Schell

Give Trevor Schell a quad and a fishing rod, and you won’t see him until the sun sets. He started riding around Saskatchewan in July 2006, and hasn’t stopped since. He spends most of his time north of Narrow Hill's Provincial Park, near Little Bear Lake.

“I had access to an older quad there, and I would drive around in the resort,” he said. “When I bought my own, I started to go out into the trails. There are quite a few up there.” The trails he rides in the summer are the same snowmobile trails he rides in the winter. Most are wide and well-groomed because they are a part of the trans-Canada system.

Taking the Scenic Route

As he’s gained experience over the years, he’s started to venture off the main trails for day-long trips. “There are so many different trails that branch off,” he said. “And there’s long stretches of old logging roads you can ride on.”

Saskatchewan offers a mixture of scenery and terrain. “Everything is very curvy and hilly,” he said. “They call it the rolling hills. That’s the part I like. It’s all boreal forest you’re riding in. Some of the trees are so tall, and you look up and just see trees. That forest is just beautiful.” Other areas have a soft sand base and open views. “It’s just so beautiful,” Schell said.

Trevor Schell's current ride is a Polaris 800 Sportsman ATV.

Trevor Schell's current ride is a Polaris 800 Sportsman ATV. — Photo courtesy Trevor Schell

He’s acquired all of the proper safety gear, including a GPS and a Spot tracker because he rides into the wilderness solo. “If there’s someone around I will go with them, but if not I just go on my own,” said Schell. He retired recently, so he has plenty of time to explore the wilderness even though he currently lives in Regina. “I go on pretty long drives. My rides will be over eight hours some times. I’ll drive 160 kilometres or more.”

Despite his long journeys, Schell rides slow along the trails. “I’m not a speed rider. I just go at a pace that I can enjoy what I see,” he said. “I always have my camera with me. It can depend on the sky, how sunny it is or the time of day. You come around a corner and the view is breathtaking. I stop and take a picture.”

To keep himself occupied through the winter, Schell took up snowmobiling as well. He knows the trails well enough from riding the area spring through fall. On one trip in 2017, he put 1,600 kilometres on his snowmobile. The wilderness is breathtaking for Schell, regardless of the season. Being outdoors is the best part about riding, he finds.

Fishing at Cora Lake

“My favourite spot is Cora Lake,” Schell said. He packs up his ATV, heads down an old logging road, then down a steep off-road section to get to his favourite fishing hole. He credits his experience riding with being able to bring his quad into this remote spot. “You just have to creep along. You learn how to go into the right places so you have very little tilt.”

Trevor Schell takes his ATV and his fishing rod to Cora Lake as often as possible.

Trevor Schell takes his ATV and his fishing rod to Cora Lake as often as possible. — Photo courtesy Trevor Schell

Cora Lake is stocked with fish, but isn’t frequented by many visitors because of the challenge to get there. Usually, Schell just fishes off the dock, but he once brought his inflatable boat and motor to fish from the middle of the lake. “With my boat, I brought sonar around there too. The deepest was 48 feet, which is hard to believe because it’s such a small lake.” Cora Lake is so small that the opposite bank is always in sight.

Schell described the setup he’s made for himself. “I built rocks up to have a fire there. There’s a little table there. There’s rod holders on the dock. I always bring a lawn chair!”

While the fish in the lake aren’t that big, and the most he’s caught is five rainbow trout, the wildlife around the lake is quite the sight. “There’s a lot of wildlife out there,” he said. “You see deer, moose and bears. I’ve seen an eagle flying over the lake. He took a nose-dive and caught a trout with his claws.”

His advice for others hoping to embark on similar ATVing and fishing days: invest in a good GPS, be prepared and “always bring a camera because you never know what you’re going to see!”

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