Welcome to Santa Fe’s premier Fly Shop and Guide Service! We specialize in guiding public and private waters throughout northern New Mexico. Our full service fly shop is conveniently located inside the De Vargas Mall and stocks everything you need to make your next fishing trip a success.

Our staff of patient and professional instructors can help you maximize your time on the water, all the while improving your Fly Fishing skills. We guide full and half day trips on the Pecos, Chama, Rio Grande, Brazos, Jemez and more!

In March of 2014 The Reel Life was purchased d by Nick Streit and Ivan Valdez and the store was moved to its current location inside the De Vargas Mall at 526 North Guadalupe. Both native New Mexican's, Nick and Ivan have extensive expireince fly fishing and guiding in the Santa Fe area.

Nick also owns the Taos Fly Shop and has built a reputation as one of New Mexico's top guides. When he was 17 he was on the Junior US Fly Fishing team that placed 2nd in Europe. Nick has guided and fished all over the world, cutting his teeth on rivers from Alaska to Argentina, not to mention the salt flats of the Caribbean.

Fishing Reports

09/16/2021

 

Hi Reel Lifers,

 

Well fall season is upon us and we are still in a heat wave! However, things are looking to cool down next Monday and the fishing will get better and better! The fall is one of the best times of year to be out on the water in Northern New Mexico. Once the air temperatures come down next week the Rio Grande will be great. The emergence of the fall beatis hatch will also start up when the temperatures drop too. I have been getting asked quite often when the Rio Chama below Abiquiu will start to fish well. I often say that when you see the trees starting to change colors get out! When the river is still pretty murky use bigger flies like crane fly larva, big stonefly nymphs, leeches, and streamers. When the water clears up more start using the smaller beatis and midge patterns. The El Vado stretch is still fishing really good so get out there! The Pecos has also been pretty fuego and it will only keep geting better throughout the fall season. Come by the shop and we would be more than happy to get you dialed in, or book a guided trip and let us show you what it is all about!

Tight lines,

Ivan

 

 

Chama River Freestone Section- Water levels have dropped pretty low and the water has been warm. I would suggest looking elsewhere.  

Below El Vado- fishing has been good below the dam. Game and Fish has been stocking this section and with that you will see more anglers. Soon the bigger fish will be getting into the system so get out and get some of that action. Wolly buggers, cranefly larva, hares ears. Perdigons, and streamers will produce fish. Remember that the flows will crank up Friday mid day to 500cfs throughout the weekend to accomodate rafters. 
 
Below Abiquiu- Flows have been all over the place below the Q. If you see the flows maintaining for a couple of days it might be worth a shot. I would wait until a couple of more weeks to fish this stretch.
 
Rio Grande- The Rio is staring to get better and better. The smallmouth bite is still on and the trout fishing is picking up! Flows are in the mid 200's making the wading very accessible in most places. Tossing wolly buggers and stripping them along the shore lines will pick up smallies. The trout are in the riffle and pocket waters. As the water temps continue to cool the fishing will get better and better. Use tungsten soft spots, red butts, yodas, and hares ears for the trout. 
 
Pecos River- The flows have been great (47cfs) and so has the fishing on the Pecos. Weekends are still getting crowded, so if you choose to fish the weekends get away from the parking lots to find some solitude. Beatis are starting to hatch. So having both dry fly and nymph beatis patterns will be key. Yodas, Parachute adams 16-18, anato mays, bigger rs-2's have all been producing for us on or guide trips. All of the tributaries have been great as well. 
 
Santa Cruz Lake- Be sure to check with BLM for the lakes ever changing opening and closing times. Fishing has been fair. Use a full sink line to get your streamers down to the fish. Work the many points you see out on the lake. 
 
San Juan River- Not much change here, the Juan has been pretty good lately. Lots of people out there as usual. Get out and Fish on the weekdays so you can thin out the crowds. The standard San Juan fare has been producing as always. San Juan worms, eggs, red larva, Midge pupa, Midge emergers, chocolate foam backs, and rs2's have all been producing. The streamer bite is on up there as well.
 
Brazos River- water levels are great on the Brazos, especially up at Corkins. Yoda lane is now open to fishing, however is is closed to guiding. With that being said the Game and Fish does not appear to be stocking down there. Pretty lame, avoid it as the water levels are not optimal and the fishing will be pretty slow. Up at Corkins there are alot of plunge pools and holes so it will fish alot better. 
 

 

Tight lines,

Ivan

5059958114

 

5059958114