Riders in the area around Bonnyville and Cold Lake have a lot to be thankful for. Not only do they have dedicated, well-established clubs that own their own groomers—like the Bonnyville Snowdusters, formed over 20 years ago—they also have plenty of rivers, lakes and cutlines to rip around during the beautiful winter season. As if all that is not enough, snowmobilers with a penchant for fishing can indulge themselves at any number of well-stocked lakes in the area.
Trails of excitement
Terry Coulombe, owner of T&T Power Sports Ltd. in Bonnyville, has been an active member of the local snowmobiling community for over 16 years. He enjoys riding in the region for a number of different reasons.
“There’s lots of cutlines to play in around here, some little hills, and lots of good places to go,” said Coulombe. “As well, we’re only one or two hours away from Saskatchewan and they seem to get the snow, so riders can always go down there if they need to.”
There are three main trail systems in the Bonnyville/Cold Lake area.
“The South Trail is probably our longest route; it’s about two and half to three hours one way,” said Coulombe. “It’s great for families. The North Route is our first trail system, and we just built a brand new cabin there. It’s about an hour and a half to get there from town.”
Coulombe’s favourite spot in the Bonnyville/Cold Lake area is along the north trail system near the Beaver River, where riders can jump down the riverbank and find meadows and cutlines with no tracks. Winter anglers, however, prefer the rail trail, as it leads them to popular fishing spots.
“The rail trail to Bangs Lake is the shortest one around here,” said Coulombe. “It’s about half an hour from town, but it will get you to the Iron Horse Trail if you keep going, or to a couple of good ice-fishing lakes if you want to stop and fish.
Moose Lake is a popular spot on the rail trail and there are plenty of fish to be caught for an eager ice fisher. The lake is full of perch, pike and walleye all waiting in the icy depths for the right piece of bait to cross their path.
Coulombe and his fellow riders are waiting eagerly for the snow to fall so they can get back on their sleds.
“With the groomer and the trail system all ready, we’re just waiting for the snow,” said Coulombe.