• flyfishing

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Brazos River

The Brazos River

     I don’t know about you but I rarely have the strength of will to follow a river trail until it ends. More often than not I see a particularly juicy run or a too enticing hole through the trees and cannot resist the urge to stop hiking and start fishing. However, early last month I had the opportunity to guide the Brazos River Box and thankfully I harnessed the strength of will to put on blinders as I led my clients down the trail past innumerable picturesque waters. Although, as strong as I thought I was I must admit that at one particularly gorgeous pool I asked them if they were ready to stop and “clear the cobwebs.” My clever way of suggesting that we stop this foolish hiking and start fishing. Thankfully, they were determined to hike to the box and so I led them on, albeit secretly reluctant.

     If you can resist the temptation of perfect waters and make it to the end of the Brazos Box Trail you will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful stretches of trout water in the state. I do believe the old adage that ‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’ but I dare you to make this trek and argue that this river is anything other than one of New Mexico’s finest. After scrambling over rock fields, following scattered cairns which lead you up into the realm of the mountain goat, you eventually scramble back down and are dropped at river’s edge. You step off of a bank covered in wild flowers and into clear waters. You look up at the sheer cliffs of the box canyon rising 2,500 feet above you and see a small strip of perfect blue sky. The river flows around structure composed of boulders and felled trees and it is so fishy that your fingers tremble as you hurry to get rigged. The best news of all is that it is indeed as fishy as it looks.

     In fact, the entire two and a half miles of the Brazos River leading up to the box provides incredibly good fishing. It is owned and accessed through the private holding at Corkin’s Lodge, a rustic and historic community of cabins tucked in the trees at the base of the cliffs. Corkin’s Lodge has been operating for over 70 years and is the type of place where families will vacation generation after generation. Do you want the best news yet? It is affordable. This paradise is not reserved for the super rich but I guarantee that you will feel like you have won the lottery when you pull a wild brown from a plunge pool and release it back into the water while you stand beneath the setting sun blazing off the cliffs above.

     We have guided many clients through these Brazos waters over the years and have discovered that in addition to being both a cozy retreat and a top quality day trip fishing destination, Corkin’s Lodge provides the perfect base camp for a multi-day fishing trip. There are three other rivers in the area that provide diverse yet unparalleled fishing for the region, the Chama, Conejos and San Juan.  All three rivers are accessible for day trips from Corkin’s and each offer the angler something different. Call us at the shop to book!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Patagonia Wader Review

This year Patagonia decided to re-engineer their waders from top to bottom. With improvements such as: 4-layer fabric, a streamlined fit, updated gravel guards and the Wader Task Force specifically created to continually improve design, this new line of waders are on the top of our list.

Two of our guides were given a pair of Gallegos II to put to the test. Here is what they have to say:

Chris Cantrell: The Taos Fly Shop

My first impression stepping into them was that they fit exceptionally well. In the past I have had a hard time finding the perfect fit because I am tall and thin and have had to compromise comfort in the chest with either too much or too little room. Although the suspension system took a little while to get used to I ended up loving it, especially now with the warmer weather approaching I have been wearing them as pants and find that all the features are still accessible even when worn as such. The interior pockets for boxes are well designed as is the fully waterproof interior pocket for cameras and phones. My only critique is that at times the waterproof pocket can be hard to close. The newly designed rock guards are superior. The elastic around the bottom along with the sticky band along the inside grips the boots and make them stay in place.  The kneepads are a bonus and make netting and releasing fish more comfortable for the guide and the merino wool lined booties are warmer, comfortable and they come off easier than neoprene. At the end of the day I feel secure in that they are backed by the Patagonia Ironclad guarantee although I doubt I will need any repairs as I have already put 25 hard days into them without fail. Overall the design, fit and quality is exceptional and I would absolutely buy another pair.

Peter Mosey: The Reel Life

            I have put these waders through the extensive wringer of guiding and professional fishing. First off, I am hard on gear. I am not the weekend warrior and I do not sit in boats. Most trips that I take are in the 3-5 mile range and I traverse brushy, thorny canyons loaded with sharp everything. I expect my gear to hold up and in the case of these waders I was impressed. I could instantly tell the quality when I stepped into them.
            The H2NO waterproofing worked perfectly. It kept me dry and yet they were breathable so I was not sweaty at the end of the day even though I was hiking long distances. The convertible drop down is a great feature. I did find that the straps were a bit cumbersome and hard to get into and out of. The knee pads are awesome, genius really. For those of us that fish spooky waters, this feature is a godsend. The pockets are well thought out and I find that I used them in conjunction with my pack, which is something that I have never done before with other waders. The warranty is the single strongest feature and in my opinion separates these waders from all other waders that I have owned.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fishing High Water

If you have lived in these parts for long you know that it is a fool’s errand to claim that spring has sprung before you turn the calendar to May. April in the rockies is glorious if not temperamental. It is currently 55 degrees and rising, not a cloud in the sky. It’s hard to imagine that one short week ago snow was dumping from that same sky. But these mountains are moody and so it goes. What does this mean for the angler, who is itching to get out and make the most of this long sought for sun? It means high water, everywhere. The run-off game is a long one so here are a few tips for those of you who want to get out and fish even when the waters rage. 

Fish the edges. High water equals faster currents and most fish are going to move out of swift waters into areas where the water is softer. These “seams” or edges of the current can be found along the bank, in eddies or behind structure like rocks and branches that break the current.

Get down deep. When the waters rise be methodical and adjust your depth until you find where the fish are, start shallow and progressively go deeper. Use heavier nymphs and an easily adjustable indicator.

Throw big bugs. When currents move so do rocks and branches. Currents churn the structure and often will unleash the bugs that cling to it. This can send bigger bugs down river so choose larger profile nymphs.

Go red. High water tends to kick up mud which turns the river cloudy. Time after time we have found that a red worm pattern or a red bodied nymph gets the attention of hungry trout in murky water. 

Be prepared. Make sure to wear wading boots with good traction as the swift water and moving rocks can compromise stability. We suggest boots with studs. Make sure to wear a wading belt and take a wading staff to assist you as you cross the river and to help judge depth in areas where the visibility keeps you from being able to see the river bottom. 

So if you long to feel the sun on your face and a trout at the end of the line don’t wait till the raging waters subside. Get out there now and make the most of springtime in the rockies. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Reel Life guide Ricardo Salazar with some happy clients on a recent trip to Cow Creek Ranch. Ala waders!!! These are some of the biggest fish to come out of here this year and the fishing just keeps getting better and better! Give us a call if you would like a guided trip on this fantastic water.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sportsmen's Expo!

Sportsman’s Expo, Sale and Holiday Party!!!
December 13th  
The Reel Life- Inside the De Vargas Center
*Exhibits by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited and more! 
*Fly Tying and Fly Casting Demonstrations.
*Elk and Turkey Calling Demonstrations. 
*Huge Sales on Patagonia, Orvis, Winston, Scientific Anglers and more!

Join us at The Reel Life following the demonstrations for food, drink and Huge Sales!

Fly Sale!  buy 2 dozen get one dozen free!!!

Orvis Super Sonic Convertible Waders
Retail: $279
Sale Price: $179!

Patagonia TorrentShell Jacket
Retail: $129
Sale: $59!

And Much More!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

This Memorial day weekend has been a wet one!  Well over an inch of rain has fallen across much of NM and most of our waters are high and muddy.  There has been some decent fishing however, and it shouldn't be long before all rivers start to clear and drop.  

The even better news is that this rain (and and overall wet april/may) will help ease our ongoing drought.  Fingers crossed, we should be able to get through fires season this year much easier than years past.  And the forest service does not anticipate any restrictions or closures at this time!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

        Fly selection can be a tough nut to crack for the begging fly angler.  It seems that now-a-days, every other fish bum with a pick-up truck and yellow lab has got a few flies named after them.  And with fly companies competing to introduce the latest and greatest fly patterns every year, there are now literally thousands of different patterns to choose from.  Gone are the days when all a fly fisher need were a few Grey hackles, Renegades, Adams’ or Prince nymphs.

        And while the old standards will catch plenty of fish, there are new flies out there that can sometimes work better.  But to understand which fly you should have at the end of your line, you should have a basic understanding of what the fish are looking for.  Knowing what bugs are hatching, and which ones the trout are eating, will help you when choosing a fly from your box.
From a simplistic point of view, there are several different groups of insects that trout fisherman should be able to identify.  While my run down of these bugs may not hold up in an entomology class, I think it’s a good start.

        As far as a bugs go, a Mayfly is a handsome insect.  As an adult, they have tall wings and a long three-forked tail.  The mayfly nymph will spend a year or so crawling around in the rocks of the stream bed.  When the feeling is right, the will emerge to the surface, shuck their nymph exoskeleton and hatch into adults.  The adult will then sit atop the surface of the water as it dries of its wings and prepares for its first flight.  At this time, the Mayfly is in the Dunn stage and it will resemble a small sailboat afloat on the currents of the stream.  During the emergence and the Dunn stage, trout will feed on the insect both underwater and on the surface.

       Mayflies come in different shapes and sizes.  Blue Winged Olives (BWO), Pale Morning Dunn’s (PMD), Tricos and Drakes are all different types of mayflies.  Once you have identified that the bug on the water is a mayfly, try to match the size and color to something in your fly box.  And it’s important to take note of what stage of the hatching insect trout are feeding on. 

      There are two main types of Stoneflies that anglers should be aware of.  The Salmon Fly is the common term for the large (2 inches long!) prehistoric looking creature that is found on some of our waters in the spring.  The other is the Yellow Sally, and is a much smaller and lighter colored version.  While certain aspects of their life cycles are similar to Mayflies, trout get most excited about eating adult stones when they return to the water to lay their eggs.  A Stimulator is a great Stonefly pattern, and if you match size and color, you should be able to fool a few trout.

Caddis adults will look like small moths as they fly around the brush alongside the stream.  On the water, their profile is commonly described as tent like, and they have two long antennae.  Fish are happy to eat caddis nymphs or dries, and the biggest Caddis hatches will happen in the spring.  As with Stoneflies, Caddis will also be vulnerable to trout when they return to the water as egg layers. 

Terrestrials are bugs like Grasshoppers, Ants and Crickets, and are great sources of trout food, especially when other bugs are not hatching.  Not much mystery here, if a Terrestrial falls into the stream, a fish will eat it, and fishing with one is always a good idea in the warm months. 

Midges are very small insects that are usually only relevant in cold tail waters or lakes, or when fishing in the wintertime.  For anglers fishing the Taos area, Midges rarely are a factor. 

      Local Fly Shops  will always be the best source of information on current hatches and best flies to imitate them.