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Trout Tales at Spillian | A Mythic Catskills Weekend
April 26-28, 2019

Whether you’re a beginner looking to find out more about fly fishing Catskill streams, or you’re one of the “charmed circle” of fly fishermen, join us for Trout Tales at Spillian, our fifth annual celebration of all things trout.

A superb opportunity to dive deep into the streams and forests of the Catskills, its evocative stories, and its extraordinary cuisine, with lodging at the historic Spillian estate, and the event that birthed a regional celebration of fly-fishing, Catskills Trout Tales.

We will wander the streams with one of the Catskills’ best fly fishing guides, celebrate local flavor, and in the spirit of the 19th Century fishing lodges, gather on Saturday evening for the now-famous trout feast and story telling contest. Competition is brilliant and fierce, with the best tall fishing tales you’ll hear (or tell!) anywhere. Winner gets bragging rights for a year, and the chance to display the highly-coveted silly porcelain trout at your home or workplace, with the promise to come back to defend your title the next round…

Trout Tales at Spillian. It’s mythic. Local. Real.

Lodging for the weekend is sold out…please join us for the Trout Tales Feast and Storytelling Contest on Saturday Night!

Register Now!

Mythic Catskills Weekends

Spillian’s Mythic Catskills Weekends are an intersection with the essence of the Catskills: the forests, the mountains, the people, the deep stories that make this place so compelling.

Each weekend celebrates a facet of this gem-like place: its food, its fish and streams, its ringing summer, its snow-spangled winters, its flowing creative life force.

Come for a weekend of grand adventure. Feast. Explore. Hear the great stories and share your own.  Revel in the mythic possibility of the Catskills and find where it sings in your life – and then bring that song back home with you.

Trout Tales at Spillian: A Mythic Catskills Weekend | What’s Included


  • 6 PM: A robust farm-to-table charcuterie, including local meats, cheeses, spring greens, house-made hummus, relishes, chutneys, tarts, and more from our neighboring farmers and food producers; as well as our house-made carmelized onion, leek, and goat cheese tarts; trout rollmops; and our famous house chocolate bark.
  • 7:00 PM A tasting with Richard Rogers, brewmaster (and beard meister) of our friends at Roscoe Beer Company, creators of Trout Town Ale.
  • Tales of the Catskills as the birthplace of American fly-fishing in front of the blazing fire.


  • 9 AM: A classic Spillian Catskills breakfast featuring eggs from Spillian Farm’s ridiculous chickens and house-made cocoa bread from an historic Fleischmanns Yeast recipe.
  • 10 AM: For those who’d like to hunt the mighty trout, a guided tour with the acclaimed fly-fishing guides from Esopus Creel.
  • 10 AM – 4 PM: For those who’d like to do their hunting in other ways,  we have several self-guided adventure itineraries so you can explore the Catskills on your own:
    • explore local shops for special finds, from antiques to hand-crafted art
    • explore several of the area’s nearby craft distilleries and breweries;
    • or simply explore the back of your eyelids by the fire at Spillian.
    We’ll have lunch out at around one for those who’d like to settle in.
  • 2 PM: A hike on the Spillian 33 acre wooded estate and forage early spring herbs for dinner and cocktails.
  • 3 PM: Reground yourself with a moving meditation with Spillian co-founder Leigh Melander, going deep into images of the mountains and metaphors of streams and forests.
  • 5 PM: Cocktail hour featuring the Spillian Trout Tail cocktail (with vodka from Union Grove Distillery and maple syrup from Tree Juice Maple Syrup, and the Spillian Old Fashioned Campfire, with wild-crafted pine simple syrup, Prohibition Distillery bourbon, and a house-made maraschino cherry…smoked!
  • 6 PM: The Trout Tales Feast around Spillian’s feasting table accompanied a seven course dinner from our chef Christian Van Etten.


  • 9 AM: A Spillian Catskills breakfast.
  • 10 AM: A cooking class, smoking trout over the open fire at Spillian’s bonfire pit in our meadow.
  • 11 AM: A chance to savor your culinary genius before you wander back to reality.

The Trout Tales Feast

The crowning glory of our Trout Tales at Spillian celebration…

A family style feast around our extraordinary mahogany dining table. This table is a true place of convivium, where tales are topped, ideas are birthed, and friendships created. And it is here where the fish tales roll out, so get your story telling chops prepared!

Here’s what chef Christian Van Etten is thinking for a spring stream and forest menu, featuring the exquisitely fresh trout from our neighbors at Beaverkill Trout Hatchery.

  • Trout Caviar with Crème Fraîche & Wild Spring Herbs
  • Watercress, Candied Pear, and Goat Cheese Salad with Hard Cider Vinaigrette
  • Smoked Trout Mousse with Carmelized Shallots and Charred Ramps
  • Pan Seared Trout with Maple Glaze and Wild Garlic Mustard Chimichurri
  • Farro Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Greens
  • Spring Peas with Miso Butter and Mint
  • House-Made Carmelized Celeriac Ice Cream


Saturday Trout Tales Feast & Festivities: $45 per person
Join us for cocktails, the feast and and the best fish story contest anywhere. Cocktails begin at 5 PM, dinner at 7 PM. Cash bar, tax and gratuities not included.

Trout Tales at Spillian Weekend For One: $495
Per person, single room occupancy. Weekend fee includes all sessions at Spillian, all meals; tasting; moving meditation; cooking class; and lodging at Spillian. Guided fly-fishing is $200 additional per person. Evening cash bar, tax, and gratuities not included. Click here to learn more about our splendid guest rooms!

Trout Tales at Spillian Weekend For Two: $595 until April 5! $695 after that.
For the couple, double room occupancy. Weekend fee includes all sessions including  all meals; tasting; moving meditation; cooking class; and lodging at Spillian. Guided fly-fishing is $200 additional per person. Evening cash bar, tax, and gratuities not included. Click here to learn more about our splendid guest rooms!

Saturday Fishing Expedition with Esopus Creel: $200
Per person. A half-day adventure on Catskills streams with Esopus Creel guide service. They can provide rods, and you can rent waders from them if you need them. Once you’ve registered, they’ll be in touch with details about how to purchase a day’s fishing license, and sizing needs for rental waders. Tax and gratuities not included.

What to Bring With You
We’re fairly casual here in the mountains! If you’re going fishing and/or hiking, make sure you bring layers of comfortable clothes and decent hiking boots. If you need waders to go fishing, you can rent them on the registration page. If you’re up for a moving meditation class, please bring something you can easily move in. Being in the mountains can bring cooler temperatures, so make sure you bring layers with you! Other than that…a camera if you’d like, and a willingness for adventure.

Register Now!

About Esopus Creel | Todd Spire

Todd is the founder of Esopus Creel, and a NYS licensed fishing guide and instructor. A lifelong fisherman, Todd relocated to the Catskills in 2008 and has been fishing the Esopus Creek for over 10 years. Todd offers fly fishing instruction for beginners as well as advanced casting techniques to experienced anglers. Skilled in dry and wet fly presentations he also specializes in tight-line nymphing in the traditional Catskill style. He is a board member of the Ashokan-Pepacton Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and served as its Secretary for several years. His photography has been featured in Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine, and recently won the Orvis 2017 Fly Fishing Photo Contest. In 2012, he wrote a column for the Poughkeepsie Journal entitled Healthy Rivers about issues surrounding post Hurricane Irene clean-up and the future of protecting cold water trout fisheries. The turbidity that followed Irene inspired the design of his fly The New American, a modernized hybrid of the traditional Pheasant Tail with Gordon Hill’s popular fly, the Nymphomaniac. The New American is included alongside several classic Catskill patterns in the Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection in Phoenica, NY. Since founding Esopus Creel in 2017 he been featured in Edible Magazine, And North and Escape Brooklyn. Learn more here. 


About Leigh Melander

Spillian co-founder Leigh Melander has a doctorate in cultural mythology and psychology, and an extensive background in the performing and creative arts. She’s studied, performed, and taught movement classes around the US and in Greece, Mexico, and Romania. Leigh’s moving meditation sessions are an engaging way to explore how our bodies understand place and story through yoga, pilates, and guided imagery. Leigh served for five years on the Board of Directors of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, has been published in both scholarly and popular publications on myth and story, and hosted a weekly radio show, Myth America, for three years. She guides the programming at Spillian, and offers workshops on imagination, creativity, and story here and around the US.

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