Friday, July 10, 2015

Great Fishing at a Great Park! And win a Great Parks parking permit.

I had the opportunity a few days ago to try fishing at Lake Isabella, located just of I-275 near Montgomery and Loveland, one of the Great Parks of Hamilton County parks system.

The setup is great for a day -- or a weekend -- of family fishing.  Great Parks stocks the lake multiple times each spring and summer with trout, bluegill, catfish and perch starting in March with the final stock of trout released in November.  You can find the schedule here.

I chose Lake Isabella because it was the closest of the fishing lakes (the others are Campbell Lakes, Miami Whitewater Forest, Mitchell Memorial Forest, Sharon Woods, Triple Creek, and Winton Woods) to my home, and it was a happy choice.  The lake feels surprisingly rural, even though I-275 rolls right past it just out of sight.  Once I wound around the drive, I felt as if I were out in the country instead of just inside the beltway.  Trees and picnic tables surround the lake, and there's a well-stocked shop with bait sales and equipment sales and rental.  The staff were great -- sold me some red wigglers, gave me a refresher on hook-baiting, showed me how to find a good spot, and told me a lot about the lake.  I caught a bluegill!  Very exciting.

The parks system runs multiple events for fishermen throughout the year -- contests, classes, and fishing camps for kids who want to learn to fish.  Lake Isabella offers Friday Night Grillouts throughout the summer -- families can catch dinner and grill it right there on site.  On Saturday August 8th from 8am - 4pm, they're holding their annual Market Trade event, a kind of flea market for fishing enthusiasts to sell or trade used fishing gear.

I threw my bluegill back in -- he can grow and become a bigger meal for someone else -- but if I'd had a mind to clean and filet him, here's what I'd have done:

Bluegill Parmesan
Serves 4

1/4 c butter, melted
1/2 c dry bread crumbs
1/3 c grated Parmesan
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
1 t salt
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t basil
1/4 t pepper
1 pound bluegill fillets
1 lemon, cut into wedges.

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 13x9" baking pan.

Place butter in a shallow bowl.  In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan, herbs and spices and mix well.  Dry fillets, then dip into butter and then in breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides.

Bake, flipping once halfway through, for approximately 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Great Parks gave me a couple of 2015 parking permits to give away -- leave a comment here, and I'll randomly draw two winners on July 17th.  Either check back to see if you won or include your email so I can notify you!


Amanda H. said...

Congrats on the bluegill catch! That lake is super close to me as well, perhaps we will have to visit it after this post. Thanks!! :)
Acountrywifemom @

Anonymous said...

Also great spot to rent for a party. Twice my husband and I have wanted to celebrate an occasion that would not be comfortable at our small house. Riverside Lodge at Lake Isabella is affordable for a small to medium group with kitchen and fireplace. I am not a fisherman so I can't comment on that. Recipe looks delicious!