Weekender’s Guide for the Northern Lakes
Beginning in January and continuing all year until Christmas you will find an endless array of weekend activities to help fill your craving to get away! Check out the unique activities you may have been missing, all in the North Central region of Saskatchewan.
January can be a little cooler than most months in North Central Saskatchewan, but there are plenty of activities to keep you warm. Pack up the family and head to Chitek Lake for a get-away at Little Pine Lodge where you can nestle into a large modern log cabin after a day spent snowmobiling or cross-country skiing. Or book a quiet stay at Sunset Escape B & B on the Spiritwood Golf Course – for evening entertainment you may wish to plan early for tickets to the Witchekan Lake Wildlife Federation Annual Awards Night & Banquet.
The most-loved activity in North Central Saskatchewan during the month of February is a three-way tie between snowmobile rallies, ice-fishing derbies and curling bonspiels! Weekends are filled with opportunity to visit a curling rink (active in every town in our region!) to sweep your bonspiel team to victory or at the very least, eat some home-made pie…this is the foundation of Saskatchewan camaraderie and one of our best showcases for volunteerism.
Because you cannot possibly do all the winter activities properly in just one month, March is another opportunity to hit up a snowmobile rally (or just get out on the trails) and another opportunity to sneak in one final curling bonspiel. Make a point of entering the Medstead Curling Club’s Open Bonspiel, where the finale is a “barefoot curling” competition. You have to try it to believe it! Also on the roster for March weekends you will find some indoor activities such as Spiritwood Ag Society’s bull sale and several evening entertainment events such as Shell Lake’s Dinner Theatre and Spiritwood’s Grand Old Opry.
What have you been waiting for all winter? That’s right – GOLF! Courses in the Northern Lakes area will open in April, bringing weekends practicing the swing and loosening up for the coming season on the links. Investigate some of the golf get-away packages so you can stay near the course of your choice and get immersed – memberships at local golf courses are very reasonable and booking a tee time is very flexible. Plan a marathon as you travel, with stops at Shellbrook, Shell Lake, Spiritwood and Chitek – golfing all the way along Highway 3!
Victoria Day gives us a long weekend in May, the ideal time to head to one of the Provincial or Regional parks for some early-season camping. The leaves are on the trees and the lakes are clear of ice – what better way to celebrate than enjoying the beauty of nature in Saskatchewan with the sound of loons and the water lapping on the shores as you trade campfire stories with friends. Cabin-owners at the local resorts and resort villages congregate to open up the summer homes and create a buzz in their seasonal communities. With fishing season opening in May, make sure you bring the boat! Can’t wait for the long weekend? Great, we will see you at one of many Mother’s Day Pancake breakfasts or 4-H Club Achievement days.
When you travel to our region in June you will need to plan your weekends carefully as there are more events than time to do them all! Why not plan to attend the Leoville Father’s Day ATV rally or the Spiritwood RCMP Golf Tournament? While you are in the area, check out the Spiritwood Town wide Garage sale or a trail ride in Shell Lake. Have you ever been to a Saskatchewan pow wow – if not, check out the Witchekan Lake First Nation celebration of dancing and music held every July; you will be glad you did! Camping will be in full swing at all the lake resorts, so accommodation will not be a challenge – you will find a well-appointed RV park in most towns as well.
SUMMER HOLIDAYS!!! What better way to spend your July vacation time than getting away to the quiet and peaceful beauty of our Northern Lakes campgrounds? Doing nothing is an activity in itself when you have all day to do it. Spend the day out on the boat catching your supper and the evenings splitting wood for the fire that is the staple of camping. The kids will find swimming lessons at Morin Lake, Memorial Lake and Chitek Lake. If you need to quench your desire for more structured activity from time to time, sneak into a nearby town for a local homecoming parade or small-town Saskatchewan summer fair activities. Be sure to designate one or more days to the self-guided studio art trails and the local music festivals that abound throughout our North Central region.
With beautiful hot, sunny weather there is no better place to be than the Parklands in North Central Saskatchewan during August! Kick the month off at the Timberland Rodeo near Leoville and then fill each weekend with a studio art trail or a street fair in Shellbrook or the Children’s Festival in Spiritwood. All points in between will offer events to help fill your time with auction sales and pancake breakfasts, slo-pitch tournaments and golf tournaments. Camping at the lakes is still in full swing and there is no better way to spend a Sunday than just laying on the beach enjoying the Saskatchewan sunshine!
One final long weekend for camping and then it is back to school in September. This is the perfect time to explore our northern forests on your ATV – whether it is at a rally or just out for the weekend quadding and mudding with friends and family. Hunting season opens up for birds, so be sure to book your accommodations early so you can enjoy your stay. If you are new to our area, check out the websites of our many guides and outfitters to get the most out of your hunting weekend experience. Tap into the tail end of golf season – there are still some tournaments to test the skills you have honed all summer!
Fall Suppers are the long-awaited treat to yourself where you can enjoy a wide variety of menus every October weekend. Mouth-watering dishes prepared with home-grown produce and connecting with old and new friends in a warm community atmosphere are what this province is all about. The best pies in the world are found at these suppers in our bountiful region – why wouldn’t you find at least one Fall Supper every weekend? Various hunting seasons for our trophy-winning big game continues throughout October, and a celebration of all things wild takes place at the Ducks Unlimited Banquet and Auction events in the North Central parkland communities.
Remembering our war heroes in our communities is a time-honoured event and we place as much importance on honouring our veterans as there ever has been. Every school and town has a service, and all are welcome to attend. Subsequent to the main November focus, activities will be geared toward Christmas preparation, with craft sales and trade shows available for the early shoppers. Novemberfeast in Shell Lake has been an event planned by the Lions Club and is always a great event to travel to.
Your December weekends will be filled with Christmas parties and shopping! How would you like a chance to win $hop at Home for Christmas Cash or $1000 from the Lions Club in Spiritwood? Everything you need to surprise and please those on your list can be found in our local stores and you won’t have traffic congestion or expensive parking fees to content with. Check out the main street of any town in the North Central region – you will be amazed at what you find! Stay in a local B & B so you can truly enjoy your weekend events in a leisurely fashion – you will definitely come back.
Plan your day trip to the Hafford area to visit the Crooked Bush – a natural phenomenon located amid a scenic agricultural area. With a picnic area and outdoor plumbing facilities, this is an interesting field trip for the family!
(Photo credit: https://theprosaictraveller.com)
From refurbished train stations to the quintessential prairie farmhouse, the towns and villages in our region have carefully preserved the many artifacts, tools, equipment an vehicles used right from the settling of the territory! Artfully depicting the entire lifestyle of our pioneers, the museum collections range diversely from firearms, farming and ranching, clothing, transportation, sports origins, retail, faith and education.
The museums are organized, operated and funded because of the hard work of local volunteers. Through fundraisers and donated artifacts, visitors can enjoy not only the vast displays but also educational events such as blacksmithing, baking in a clay oven, threshing demonstrations and much more.
A group of Shellbrook and District citizens were interesting in starting a local museum in 1970. Government grants in 1973 provided necessary funds and a former church was relocated in the Town of Shellbrook to house our collection. In 1985, our collection was moved to its current location in the former C.N.R. Station, a heritage property. In 1999, the Rayside Schools #2808 was donated and relocated to the Museum grounds. Open June — September.
Contact: (306) 747-4949
Located north of Spiritwood on Highway 24. Open May to September or upon request. Visit our extensive farmhouse display, artifacts display, agriculture building, schoolroom and church! Free admission — donations accepted.
Located in the old station house. Open weekends during the summer. Watch for activities around the museum and in our new old log house! Follow your nose when you smell freshly baked bread – it will be coming from the outdoor clay oven.
Located in the historic CN train station that now houses the Blaine Lake Wapiti Library along with the local town museum. It was built in 1912 two years after the rail line between Prince Albert and North Battleford was constructed and served the community until 1973.
Within our towns you will find all-season recreation activities, whether you are visiting for a weekend or making your home here there is no lack of opportunity to be involved in events.
Camping and Accommodations
|Chamakese Resort||(306) 984-2330|
|Chitek Lake Campground||(306) 236-7688|
|Little Pine Lodge||(306) 984-2332|
|Memorial Lake Regional Park||(306) 427-2281|
|Lac La Peche Resort||(306) 226-4225|
|Morin Lake Regional Park||(306) 724-4955|
|Shady Bay Beach||(306) 824-4538|
|Meeting Lake Regional Park||(306) 824-4812|
|Chitek Lake Inn||(306) 984-4478|
|Spiritwood Carlton Inn||(306) 883-2112|
|Hillside Cabins||(306) 883-2208|
|Inn on the 10th||(306) 883-2139|
|Timberland Motel||(306) 469-4888|
|Classic View Resort||(306) 469-5728|
|Elizabeth House B & B||(306) 427-2101|
|Pine Ridge Cottages||(306) 427-4499|
Hunting and Guiding
Saskatchewan has an abundance of game species that offer a wide range of hunting opportunities to resident and non-resident hunters each year. Hunting is also an important tool used to manage wildlife populations.
Buy a hunting, angling or trapping licence through HAL – the government’s hunting, angling and trapping licence system.
|Timberlost Outfitting||(306) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Northern Saskatchewan Wilderness Hunts||(306) email@example.com|
|Otter Creek Outfitters||(306) firstname.lastname@example.org|
Fishing is a great way to enjoy a vacation and the region has an abundance of great fishing lakes! Just kick back and relax as you cast your line.
Saskatchewan offers a range of fishing environments, widely diverse from north to south. The rolling plains and parklands of the south and central regions contrast sharply with the wilderness of Saskatchewan’s spectacular north.
Northern pike, walleye and yellow perch are the most common species in south and central fishing zones. Walleye and northern pike are also found in abundance in the north, along with lake trout and Arctic grayling.
A reliable outfitter can offer advice and assistance in planning a fishing adventure that is guaranteed to be among your fondest and most memorable experiences. For angling regulations and licensing information, visit the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment website at environment.gov.sk.ca. For more information, visit FishSask.com.
|Big Shell Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Burbot|
|Birch Lake||Northern Pike, Perch|
|Birch Lake||Northern Pike, Perch|
|Botchy’s Lake||Rainbow Trout|
|Bug Lake||Northern Pike, Whitefish|
|Chitek Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Whitefish|
|Clarke Lake||Northern Pike, Whitefish|
|D’Amour Lake||Walleye, Pike, Perch|
|Deer Lake||Rainbow Trout, Splake|
|Delaronde Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Dore Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Whitefish, Perch|
|Doucette Lake||Northern Pike|
|Emerald Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Fur Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Whitefish|
|Hackett Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Hearts Lake||Northern Pike|
|Huard Lake||Northern Pike, Perch|
|Iroquois Lake||Perch, Northern Pike, Walleye, Whitefish|
|Island Lake||Northern Pike, Perch|
|Lac La Peche||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Larson Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Perch|
|Little Loon Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Little Shell Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Burbot|
|Little Pelican Lake||Northern Pike|
|Martins Lake||Pike, Perch, Walleye|
|Meeting Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Memorial Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Perch|
|Miko Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Mistiwasis Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye, Burbot|
|Morin Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Nesland Lake||Rainbow Trout|
|Ness Lake||Northern Pike|
|Nesslin Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Olson Lake||Rainbow Trout|
|Otter Lake||Northern Pike|
|Poplar Ridge||Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout|
|Pratt Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Reserve Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Savard Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
|Shell Lake||Northern Pike, Perch|
|Slideout Lake||Northern Pike|
|Top Lake||Northern Pike, Walleye|
Community Events & Activities
|Annual Events & Activities||Locations|
|ATV Rally||Leoville, Big River|
|Sports Day||Blaine Lake|
|Trail Rides||Shell Lake|
|Swimming Lessons||Morin Lake, Memorial Lake, Chitek Lake, Shellbrook|
|Studio Arts Trails||Blaine Lake, Medstead, Glaslyn, Spiritwood|
|Slow Pitch Tournaments||Leoville, Spiritwood, Witchekan Lake FN, Shellbrook|
|Snowmobile Rally||Leoville, Chitek Lake|
|Curling Bonspiels||Leoville, Medstead, Spiritwood, Shell Lake, Blaine Lake, Shellbrook|
|Ice Fishing Derby||Chitek Lake, Memorial Lake|
|Hockey League/Tournaments||Leoville, Spiritwood, Shellbrook|
Contact Northern Lakes Economic Development for more information on annual events and the 2016/17 schedule for exact dates.
Golf courses open in April – Chitek Lake, Spiritwood, Glaslyn, Shell Lake, Shellbrook
You can’t ask for a better place to golf! Wide open spaces, plenty of sunshine, long summers, beautiful sunsets and amazing people. The following is a list of local courses in our region that you are sure to enjoy.
|Big River Golf Club||Big River, SK|
|Canwood Regional Park Golf Club||Canwood, SK||http://www.canwood.ca/tourism/canwood-golf-course|
|Chitek Lake Golf Course||Chitek, SK|
|Martin’s Lake Regional Park Golf Club||Blaine Lake, SK|
|Memorial Lake Regional Park||Shell Lake, SK|
|Shellbrook Golf Club||Shellbrook, SK|
|Spiritwood Golf Club||Spiritwood, SK||http://www.spiritwoodgolfcourse.ca|
|Sunshine Fairways||Debden, SK|
Arts & Culture
The Northern Lakes Region is home to several self-guided Artisan tours – check the links below for guides to different highlights on this years’ trails.
Parkland Artisan Tour & Sale, June annually
PINK TREES MARK THE TRAIL
BLUE MOONS MARK THE TRAIL
Northern Horizons Journey of Creativity, July 30 & 31
YELLOW HORIZONS MARK THE TRAIL
12-40 And Beyond – An Adventure in Rural Life, July annually
RED GRAIN ELEVATORS MARK THE TRAIL
Thickwood Hills Studio Trail
Tour the Region
Saskatchewan Highway 3
Highway 3 is a major provincial paved undivided highway in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It runs from the Alberta border, continues west as Alberta Highway 45 to the Manitoba border, and then continues east as Highway 77. Highway 3 is about 615 km long. Major communities that Highway 3 passes through are Prince Albert, Melfort, and Tisdale.
The Saskatchewan portion of the route begins in the northwestern area of the province 27 kilometres north of Lloydminster- the border city. This area also marks the northern most area of the Missouri Coteau, which has produced the Thickwood Hills feature here.
Hwy 3 proceeds east just to the south of the North Saskatchewan River. The river crossing is 2 kilometres west of the Hwy 684 junction. Travel proceeds to the northeast from here. Hwy 797 north provides access to Frenchman Butte and the Fort Pitt Provincial Historical Park, off Hwy 3. There is still evidence of the North-West Rebellion, Battle of Frenchman’s Butte when the Cree and Major General T.B. Strange met on May 28, 1885 here. Paradise Hill, a village of about 500 people, had post office names of LeClair, Diggs and Archie before adopting the moniker Paradise Hill officially for the hamlet in 1928. Oil and gas plants provide the main employment to the area, followed by agriculture and farm machinery dealerships. A red river cart and ox statue are seen at the outskirts of the village commemorating the Carlton Trail which passed through this area en route between Fort Edmonton, and Fort Garry. The Trans Canada Trail is a walking or hiking trail crossing Canada and it makes its way here as well.
Turtleford is a town at the junction of Hwy 3 and Hwy 26 and is located along the Turtle River. In 1983, Turtleford became a town with 500 residents, and built the nation’s largest turtle. Ernie, a roadside attraction, is 8 feet high. Hwy 3 arrived in Turtleford from the north west and takes a V turn and leaves to the north east. After traveling 4.6 kilometres, Hwy 3 turns and continues its route east.Then, 2.5 kilometres from Turtleford, Hwy 26 north provides access to Livelong.
Glaslyn is located southeast at the Hwy 4 concurrency. The concurrency is 1 kilometre along the north east side of the village. The main economy of Glaslyn and area are agriculture, forestry, ecotourism, fishing, hunting and trapping. Glaslyn was a Welsh community, which originally settled on the Meadow Lake – Battleford Trail. Turtle Lake, Meadow Lake Provincial Park and Jackfish Provincial Park are all popular destinations near this access point.After Glaslyn the highway continues on its route to the southeast. Little Loon Regional Park is located 2 kilometres south of Hwy 3. Cater and Belbutte area both unincorporated areas within Medstead RM. Hwy 696 north provides access in 46 kilometres to Chitek Lake Provincial Recreation Site.
The town of Spiritwood is in an agricultural community based in the north – central parkland area. Grain growing, ranching and tourism increase the traffic here. Mildred is a small, unincorporated area which belongs to Spiritwood RM. The Village of Shell Lake, the oasis of the parklands, is accessed 1.6 kilometres northeast of Hwy 3. The physiographic region is within the Saskatchewan plains region, more specifically the Saskatchewan River plain. The features include deep, terraced river valleys, as well as hillockyglacial debris. The RM of Canwood provides civic governance to Hawkeye and Ordale, both located just north of Hwy 3. Shellbrook is located southwest of Shell Brook, at the junction of Hwy 240 and Hwy 3.
Crutwell is a part of Shellbrook No. 493 RM south of the Hwy 55 – Hwy 3 concurrency. This concurrency at 43 kilometres is the longest of the route. The city of Prince Albert, Gateway to the north, is the third largest in the province and is located on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Highways 55, 302, 2 and 3 all meet here. Agriculture, forestry, mining, and tourism are the largest employers in this sector. Waskesiu Lake in the Prince Albert National Park is located 88.6 kilometres north of the city on Hwy 2. This city centrally located along the highway demarks the transition area between the shield boreal forest to the north and the prairie agricultural lands in the south benefiting from the best of both vegetative regions.
Muskoday First Nation has reserved for itself the 9,686.8 hectaresthrough which Hwy 3 travels from north west to south east. The South Saskatchewan River divides the reserve almost in half from north to south and also intersects with Hwy 3. Departure from the reserve is due south along Hwy 3. The town of Birch Hills, A Tradition of Pride and Prosperity, is located at the junction of Hwy 25 southwest. Travel from Birch Hills continues due east. At the junction with Hwy 778, Hwy 3 turns southeast. Kinistino, a town of 649, is located at the junction of Hwy 778. The Fort à la Corne Provincial Forest and the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers are both located within the RM of Kinistino. The village of Beatty, first named Stoney Creek, is located at the junction of Hwy 368.
The City of Northern Lights, Melfort is home to 5,192. The Agriculture Melfort Research Station is centered here along with many other agriculturally based industries. The Tiger Hills Uplands ecozone provides rich soil to grow a diversity of crops. The concurrency of Hwy 3 and Hwy 6 is a 3.2 kilometres long concurrency at the Hwy 41 junction. Hwy 3 continues due east from Melfort. The town of Star City is north of the Hwy 681 junction. The village of Valparaiso, one of the few Spanish settlements of the province is just north of Hwy 3.The town of Tisdale is surrounded by lakes: Barrier Lake, Marean Lake, Tobin Lake and Greenwater Lake Provincial Park. Agriculture and manufacturing are the dominant industries in the area. Besides the major provincial highways 35 and Hwy 3, both the Canadian National Railway (CNR) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) serve this town. Over 11,000 vehicles per day travel the two highways through Tisdale. At the intersection of Hwy 35 and 3 is the world’s largest honeybee at 6 feet high.
Hwy 3 continues due east until the junction with Hwy 23 at the hamlet of Crooked River. The Hwy 23 concurrency is 3.5 kilometres in a north -northeast direction. At the end of the concurrency Hwy 3 continues due east. The hamlet of Peesane is located at the beginning of the Hwy 679 concurrency, which is 0.8 kilometres in length. Mistatim a village which is Proud of its Past ….and Planning for its Future, has an economy based on agricultural mixed farming, hunting, trapping and forestry. Mistatim is located south of the Pasquia Forest Reserve, and north of the Porcupine Forest Reserve.
Hwy 3 continues southeast from Mistatim for 6 kilometres, then turns due east for 39.5 kilometres when there is a short stretch traveling northeast. Prairie River of the Porcupine No. 395 RM lies to the north of this stretch of highway. Hwy 3 traveling east arrives at the junction of Hwy 9 at Hudson Bay. The Hwy 9 concurrency around the northwest edge of the town is 1.3 kilometres long. Hudson Bay is Moose Capital of the World due to the high presence of western moose. Forestry is a main concern of the area served by Wizewood – MacMillan Bloedel – Weyerhaeuser for years. The highway continues east as Highway 77 after the Manitoba – Saskatchewan border.