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.
Flows on the Chama below Abiquiu have finally come down, and winter tailwater fishing is in full swing!!
Pecos River (35 cfs) Mora River (ICE)
The pecos is low and coild, with lots of ice throughout the river above town. Try Villanueva before heading into the upper river. Small pheasant tails, zebra midges, and eggs nymphed on light tippet in the deeper pools will be your best bet.
Conejos River (12 CFS below Platoro)
Winter conditions on the Conejos have set in. Flows are low and there is lots of ice in the river. Wait until warmer spring temps and some runoff before heading that way.
Rio Brazos (ICE)
Like most of freestones, the Brazos is low and cold. Head across the valley and try the Chama below El Vado!
Rio Chama (102 cfs below Abiquiu, 124 cfs below El Vado, ICE near La Puente)
Flows are down on the Chama and it is fishing great! Sitting at around 100 CFS, conditions are perfect for targeting big fish below both Abiquiu and El Vado reservoirs. Many of the big fish haven't seen well presented flies for months due to unusually high fall flows, so chances of fooling exceptional fish this winter are great. Nymph fishing with craneflies, baetis, annelids, and eggs have proven to be our best techniques since flows came down. That being said, there's always a chance of connecting with a big brown throwing a streamer, especially in low light conditions. The freestone sectino is low and cold, and will only fish tougher as the winter goes on. Try the tailwaters before fishing the upper river.
Rio Grande: 220 at Cerro, 285 at TJB
The Rio is fishing pretty well! Flows are fluctuating some every day with the unusually warm weather we've been having, but some trout and pike are still being caught. Trout fishing is best with poundmeisters, red copper johns, anato mays, and other small baetis patterns. Try a big bunny leech or baby trout pattern for pike!
San Juan River 382 cfs
Navajo Reservoir is turning over right now, which means the San Juan is fairly murky. Because of these conditions, dry fly fishing is more or less nonexitstent, and fish will have trouble finding the tiny midges that most folks are used to fishing in the quality waters. That being said, some of the best brown trout get caught when the water clarity goes down, and you can get away with fishing slightly larger flies and heavier tippets than usual! Try leeches, eggs, and red annelids.
Jemez streams- ICE cfs
These small freestones are low and cold right now. Try a larger river like the Chama, Rio Grande, or San Juan!
Most of the smaller lakes are frozen up for the winter. We haven't had many reports from larger lakes (Abiquiu, El Vado, etc) but these typically fish best during warmer months.
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.