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.
Hi all! Well we are over the hump as far as the temperatures are concerned. All of the forrests are open and the fishing has been pretty good despite the low water flows. The fall fishing should be fantastic as usual! Places like the Pecos, the Rio Grande, Rio Chama and Conejos will really benefit from the cooler conditions. Monsoons are here in full force so please keep an eye out for that befpre you head out for some fishing. You can always give us a call here at the shop for up to the minute conditions and fishing reports. Our very popular Fly Fishing class will once again be hosted by Santa Fe Community College. For those of you wanting to get into the sport this is an excellent way to go. The class fills up quickly so please check in with the college and get signed up. Another great option is to take one of our guided fly fishing trips. Our guides are excellent instructors and are very impatient, they will get you dialed in with your fishing game!
Ivan and the staff at the Reel Life
Pecos River (18 cfs) Mora River (2cfs)
The Pecos has benefitted immensely from the monsoons we have been getting lately. Water temps have cooled and the fish are biting! We are using dries or dry dropper rigs with beatis caddis and hoppers. The water is getting murky with the bigger storms but will clear quickly. Fishing the murky water is a great choice as the fish can't see you approaching. When the water is clear use stealth and dress in very mute colors.
Conejos River (27 CFS below Platoro, 69 below Mogote)
The water is SKINNY and the fishing has been pretty tough on the Rabbit. Long delicate cast are a must right now. That being said there fish are still there and can be caught. Be sure to wear very muted colors and approach the fish very carefully. You will have better luck the higher you get in to the water shed. The fall colors are just around the corner and this place is so stunning that it is worth the drive.
Rio Brazos (20 cfs @ Fishtail)
The Brazos has been fishing really good, especially on the Corkins stretch.
Rio Chama (739) cfs below Abiquiu, 534 cfs below El Vado)
the flows below Abiquiu, have been raised back up. the fishing is slow, but the water is still nice. if the flows stay around this range for a while fishing will improve. flows below El Valdo have been raised as well. this range of flows is ideal for big brown trout hunting. fishing here as been hit and miss however, fishing will improve in the next week or two. Our best flies have been red midge larva, don king emergers, poly wing emergers, yodas, cranefly larva, crane bombs, and caddis nymphs. The water is chocholate milk currently as they have increased the flows again, however it was stocked recently.
Rio Grande: 151 at Cerro, 272 at TJB
The caddis hatch has been epic! Even this far into May, we are consistantly seeing huge caddis and mayfly hatches, with a ton of stonefly nymphs in the water as well, so we will have that hatch to look forward to soon.
San Juan River 600 cfs
This flow is persect for either a float or wade trip at the JUAN. The usual midge fare or larva and emergers and dries have all been producing. Using a beatis pattern below T Hole has also been hooking fish after noon time. This is a great time to fish this gem!
Jemez streams- 22 cfs
The Jemez is still fishing pretty decent and is still being stocked as well as Fenton Lake. I would concentrate at the lower elevations and fish some dry dropper rigs with bwo and midge patterns.
Monastary, Santa Cruz and Abiquiu laskes have all been fishing well. Using wolly buggers has been most productive.
Stop by the shop on your way up north for anything you may need to make a memorible day on the water.We are open at 9am. We have some great new flies and current daily fishing reports.