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



Hi Reel Lifers,


Sorry for such a long delay on the report! As everyone may have heard New Mexico is having some issues with wildfires. With these wildfires has come closures of the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests. While this does affect some of the areas that we guide and fish, it does not mean that everything is closed up. We are still doing guided fly fishing trips and the fishing is starting to get good. Rivers and streams up north are still a bit high, but they are coming down in flows. Be sure to write or email your local officials and let them know that you do not agree with blanket closures of the forests. I believe that there definitely needs some restrictions, such as no camping, no smoking, no ATV/ off road usage, and no fires of course! Don't get me wrong, I do understand the need for precautions, but small businesses have suffered enough these last couple of years. Pray for rain!!!!!

Chama River Freestone Section- Water levels have dropped pretty low and the water has started to freeze over. I would suggest looking elsewhere.  

Below El Vado- fishing has been ok below the dam. The flows have leveled out after the construction and the unseasonal major release. Leech patterns, midges, and crane fly larva are the suggested bugs.
Below Abiquiu- Flows have been all over the place below the Q but they have been maintaining for about a week now. It still hasn't cleared up and NMGF hasn't stocked below the dam in what feels like months. If you are going to go hunt for big browns, walk slow, mend well, and fish leeches, midges, and small baetis.
Rio Grande- The Rio's flows have started to drop after the irrigation bump. As this happens, the fishing should pick up. The Rio Grande can be a tricky place to fish in the winter but no doubt it's produced some of our favorite winter days. Look for warmer temps and fish the late mornings till dark. Midges and baetis in the mornings and hopefully you'll find yourself in an afternoon of BWO dries.
Pecos River- The canyon has started to freeze up. Look to fish the Villa Nueva State Park sections. Baetis, eggs, and midges.
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. 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.