Clubhouse Eats: The fresh trout at Reynolds Lake Oconee will leave you hooked

Grilled trout

A favorite at Reynolds Lake Oconee, the grilled mountain trout is one Executive Chef Darin Moore's specialty items on the National Tavern menu.

John Whittle Photography

Teach someone to fish, and they’ll eat for a lifetime. 

But they still might never try a fish dish as delicious as the grilled mountain trout at Reynolds Lake Oconee, a luxe private golf community in Georgia’s lake country, some 85 miles east of Atlanta. 

Set on 12,000 acres along the body of water for which it’s named, Reynolds Lake Oconee includes among its offerings six golf courses, a wellness center, and ready access to a wonderland of outdoor and aquatic recreation.

The lake itself — the second largest in Georgia — is an angler’s paradise, with abundant populations of largemouth bass, bream, crappie and catfish, and Reynolds has expert guides on hand to help you navigate all the local hotspots. And if angling’s not your thing, no worries. You don’t have to catch a fish to eat one.

Shrimp and grits in a pan
Clubhouse Eats: Sea Pines’ Resort’s shrimp and grits is a winning pairing
By: Josh Sens

At the National Tavern, a cheery, pub-like restaurant at Reynolds Lake Oconee, one of the standout dishes is fresh mountain trout. Though the trout doesn’t come from Lake Oconee’s waters (it is sourced from the mountains of North Carolina), its flavors are so bright and light, you’d swear it did.

Under the direction of certified master chef Derin Moore, the kitchen sears the trout until the skin is crispy, then beds it on a tangle of arugula, black olives, red onions, cherry tomatoes and parmesan shavings. A finishing drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, tinged with honey mustard, gives the dish a just-so twang. One bite, and you’ll be hooked.

Josh Sens Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.