From Lake to Table – Catching, Cleaning, & Cooking at Lake Carlyle – 5* Pix

I recently visited Carlyle Lake, Illinois’ largest man-made lake.  There are many experiences to be had there, including biking, hiking, sailing, camping, picnicking, and the most traditional excursions, fishing.  I had a chance to see the full cycle of the lake to table process, from those fishing, either from the boat or the banks of the lake, to the cleaning station where fillets were made, to fiery grill on the last stop before eating.  I understand, from one fishermen that the catch of the day was white bass.  Hope you enjoy the 5* images from this outing. (be warned, some of the images are close views of fresh catch).


  • It’s My Birthday! Carlyle Lake is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and commissioned this large scale sand sculpture to commemorate the event.  This detailed work leaves no doubt on what are perceived as top valued activities at this lake — boating and fishing.  This work by renowned sand sculptor Dan Belcher welcomed visitors to the Carlyle Lake area.


  • Out on the Boat:  Yes, there was fish to be had from the banks, but surely there are more near the center on the West Dam portion?  Inquiring minds, and in this case, intrepid boaters, want to know.  Reels – check.  Life jackets – check.   Fish?   Takes patience!




  • It’s a Family Affair:  There were a number of groups stationed along the bank or in boats, fishing on Lake Carlyle.  I loved this father and son standing together on the bank.


  • The Fight is On! We watched this woman for several minutes, as she struggled to reel in her catch.  She had gotten, she said, “some good bait” from one of her fellow fishers, and had used it for an earlier catch.  This image captures the ultimate struggle for survival – you can see the reel is heavily bowed, and the woman is focused and holding strong, and reeling it in.



  • Fish Cleaning: At several points in the park alongside the lake, there are fish cleaning stations.  Our group stared intensely while this man grabbed his fish by the gills, using an electric knife to sever the body from the head, and proceed to filet the large white bass.  Riveting look at how fish get from lake to table.


  • Fruits of My Labor: Once his fish were cleaned, this man used a zip lock bag to store his fillets.  You can see thru the bag just how nicely filleted they were.  I loved this close up of the fisher’s hands fastening the plastic bag, with the drops of water on the top edge, and a clear view on the cleaned fish.


  • Picnic on Carlyle Lake: The ultimate in fresh fish is to get it out of the lake, clean it at the cleaning station, and run right over to your nearby grill, fired up and ready!  In this image, you can see the waves of heat from the flaming hot coals rising into the air.

Carlyle Lake offers the ultimate “lake to table” experience and based on these images, at least one group really took advantage of the opportunity.  As for me, I don’t fish, but my late brother loved to fish – I believe he would have had a FABULOUS time there.  I know I enjoyed walking around the lake, and watching the activity.  Hope you enjoyed these 5* images from my trip.

See more outtakes from the trip by following me on Instagram @eyevpointofview.

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