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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





Fall is finally here! The next few weeks should consistist of cooler weather, lower flows, and more spawning browns! This is the time of year that some truly massive fish start to show up in multiple places on the Chama, and the Rio Grande should only get better as the season continues. While dry fly action is starting to slow down, consistent baetis and cranefly hatches have kept fish feeding aggressively on sub-surface rigs all day. If there ever was a perfect time to target large fish on bigger flies (streamers, cranefly larvae, eggs, and worms) it would be now! Swing by the shop and we can point you towards some of our favorite fall flies and fishing spots.

Tight Lines,



Cow Creek Ranch

(No change the ranch is still fishing excelent)

Cow Creek Ranch continues to fish fantastic. With over 4.5 miles of private stream and 7 private lakes Cow Creek Ranch has it all for the fly fisherman. Lakes and the creek are fishing excellent with some really big fish being caught. Stoneflies, beetles, mayflies, damsels, and caddis are all flying around and the fish are eating hard! Some monsters  being hooked! Fish are being caught all day long as long as you keep changing your tactics. With the arrival of spawning browns in the system, some of the really big rainbows should start making bad decisions and taking eggs on slightly heavier tippet, which increases your chance of landing a monster. If you have never had an opportunity to fish the ranch you dont know what you are missing! Give us a call to make your reservation.


Pecos River (36 cfs) Mora River (8 cfs)

As winter draws closer, the Pecos continues to get lower and colder. Much of the dry fly action is over, but there are still some baetis hatches and the occasional fish that is willing to eat a small parachute adams. Baetis nymphs are key on the Pecos right now, and many fish are getting taken on midges. Just like in our other streams, browns are spawning, so be careful not to walk through the redds and disturb actively spawning fish. However, there are usually a few good fish beneath each spawning area that are happy to eat an egg patern!


Brazos river

While it is approaching the end of season on the Brazos, fish are still feeding! The water is low and clear, so try small baetis and midges on light tippet in the deeper holding areas. Egg patterns are also always a good bet anywhere in New Mexico this time of year, and some of the larger Brazos fish might move to a well presented egg.


Rio Chama (97 cfs below Abiquiu, (79 cfs below El Vado), (43 cfs near La Puente)


The Chama has been fishing great recently! Both the Abiquiu and El Vado sections of water have been stocked heavily, and big browns are starting to show up in both sections. The good fish are looking for big, heavy flies. Sparkle worms, craneflies, woolly buggers, and egg patterns are the key to fooling some of the more jaded fish. More browns push into each stretch every day, and things will just continue to get better on the Chama for the next few weeks. This is a norotiously tough fishery, but there isn't any better time to figure it out than now!


 Rio Grande (488 cfs @TJB) (337 @ Cerro)

Recent precipitation had caused higher flows and poor water clarity on the Rio (again.) The fish are happy and eating well, but finding and presenting to them with these conditions can be difficult. Try big stones and worms. Keep an eye on the flows- it could drop any day and start fishing great!


Jemez Area (6 cfs)

The Caldera is rockin right now. As is the San Antone and the Guadalupe. Terrestrials trailed by a micro may will produce fish.


San Juan River

We have had good reports from the San Juan! Less pressure from anglers and steadier flows have helped fish to settle into better feeding patterns. Chocolate midges, UV midges, and tiny red annelids have been productive in the higher stretches, and there is always a chance of seeing a good baetis hatch down lower. If you see baetis, try a small rs2 trailing a slightly larger baetis emerger.


Cimmaron river (23 cfs)

The flows on the Cimmaron are looking better! While 23 cfs is still somewhat skinny, it is much better than the super low flows we were seeing late summer. I have had a couple reports that it has been tricky, but try small nymphs and egg patterns. The fish should be feeding heavily right now.


Red River (53 cfs)

The Red has been good to great the last few days. Browns are starting to move into the river to start their annual mating rituals. Please start looking for redds and avoid stepping on them. The beatis should be hatching especially on cloudy days. The farther you get away from the hatchery the bigger fish you will find.

The Conejos

The fall colors that the Conejos valley is famous for are here! The veiws are absolutly stunning. The flows were bumped up recently, but this may have improved the fishing (the water was beginning to be so low that fish were spooking very easily.) A great time and place to try for some fall streamer action!

Area Lakes:

Hopewell, Burns, Santa Cruz, and Canjillon have all been stocked with some huge trout. These  are definitly worth a try!


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.

Guided Trips
Full Day Wade Trip
Half Day- Morning
Half Day- Afternoon