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 (18 cfs) Mora River (ICE)
The pecos is low and cold, 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 (33 cfs below Abiquiu, 99 cfs below El Vado, ICE near La Puente)
Flows are at levels that I have never seen before below Abiquiu. With that being said the fishing has been decent at best. Game and Fish is only stocking at the picnic tables it seems so that is where all the anglers are as well! If you are willing to battle the crowds than the fishing ok. My best advice is to get out on the weekdays, to be able to find some room. Fishing down river has been pretty fickle. Those fish do not have much cover so they are not feeding hard at all. Our best flies have been red midge larva, don king emergers, poly wing emergers, yodas, and cranefly larva.
Rio Grande: 347 at Cerro, 495 at TJB
About the same as last week. The Rio is fishing slow for trout and fair for pike. We have had a few guided trips for pike in our private waters that has been pretty awesome lately. Pike hunt by feel so be sure to change things up with not only flies, but how you retrieve them. Pike fishing is not a numbers game on the Rio, sometimes all you will get are some follows. Be diligent and persistent and you will start getting some results!
San Juan River 382 cfs
The Juan has turned over and visibility is about a foot. I think that this is the easiest time to fish the Juan as the fish are not quite so picky and you don't have to use 6x! Use flies like red annelids, red hots, disco midges, and ufo's. Also using good ole eggs and worms will bring fish to the net! G and F stocked over 12000 fish in there this week so I would look for places that the can't get their stocking truck to so that you can pursue the bigger fish.
Jemez streams- ICE 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.
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.