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.
Unseasonably warm weather has brought with it higher flows at this time in Northern NM. I would look into fishing alot of tributaries and if you are fighing the high water concentrate on the edges while you are out. One thing that high water does is keep alot of people off of the water. Be dilligent and you will catch fish! Remember that they need to eat even in the high stuff.
Pecos River (240 cfs) Mora River (95 cfs)
Pecos is running high but fishing pretty decent. Not much has changed since the last report. Pat's Rubber Legs, Sparkle Worms, and San Juan Worms have all been effective. Most fish are near the edges of the pools (don't just wade right in and start casting to the middle of the river!) With the water clarity significantly limited, meticulously nymphing likely spots is far more effective than working everything quickly. Tributaries are a great option if the river isn't producing. Places like the Mora, Jack's Creek and Windsor have been very productive lately!
Conejos River (722 cfs Mogote)
Water is high but very fishable! Be sure that you are using enough weight to get your flies down quickly. If you drive up to the meadows the river is only 100 cfs. In the big water use worm pattern, pats rubber legs, and 20 inchers. Up in the meadow have some floss worms and beatis patterns.
Running high but fishing well. Fish heavy stones, worms, and beadhead nymphs (ideally with tungsten heads.) The key will be getting flies down deep in a very high-gradient stream with deep pools and lots of water. Be careful wading!!! The Brazos is the toughest wading in the state at low flows, and pretty dangerous now if you aren't being careful.
Rio Chama (1850 cfs below Abiquiu, 2500 cfs below El Vado, 2100 cfs near La Puente)
The Chama is huge right now, and water quality isn't great. Freestone stretch near La Puente will fish great when runoff begins to fade, but as right now it is essentially unfishable and looks like it's only getting higher. I would go somewhere else the next few weeks.
Rio Grande: 1350 at Cerro, 2010 at TJB
We had a little window for the caddis hatch, but that has come and gone. Just not good conditions right now!
San Juan River 484 cfs
Fishing has been great! Red annalids, rs2s, chocholate foam backs, and ju ju beatis are great fly choices. Fish 6x fluorocarbon with long leaders to minimize refusals and avoid spooking fish. A streamer (little black leech or similar) is always a great bet as the light gets longer in the evening! Griffith's gnats and other midge clusters are a good bet when presenting dries to a rising fish. I would give the bait waters a shot if you get up there, it is fishing really good right now!
Jemez streams- 210 cfs
No recent reports from the Jemez. The fishing should start getting good realy soon. Get ready for the stonefly hatch next month!
My best bets would be to try Monastary and Santa Cruz lakes in the Santa Fe Area. Smaller streamers imitating minnows, damsels, and leeches for your subsurface patterns, Beatis and caddis for your dries!
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.