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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Get To Know Your Guide: Ivan Valdez

Get to Know your Guide: Ivan Valdez

When did you learn to fly fish?

I learned to fly fish at a very early age. I feel that I was around 10 years old when I picked up a fly rod. My dad started me with dry flies.

Why did you become a guide?

I became a guide because I love being in the outdoors fly fishing, teaching people the sport that I love and taking clients to all the beautiful places Northern New Mexico has to offer. I never take any of these things for granted and I cherish every day I get to be on the water. 

Where are you from and how did you end up guiding for The Reel Life?

I am originally from Las Vegas, NM however I grew up in Phoenix, AZ. I have always loved New Mexico, so when I decide to move back here in 1998 I never looked back! My parents were originally from Northern NM so moving over here was a very easy transition. My first guiding experience was for my current business partner Nick Streit and his father Taylor Streit of the Taos Fly Shop like 12-13 years ago. I think they saw my passion for the sport so when they asked if I would guide for them I was very honored to do so. I also started relationships with the Reel Life a short time later and began guiding for them full time until Nick and I purchased The Reel Life 3 seasons ago.

What is your most memorable experience as a guide?

I can’t nail down one specific experience guiding.  What I do know is that every experience is very different. I have built so many relationships over all these years with clients. Getting to know these folks and showing them my home waters is why I love my job so much. If I had to pick an off the wall experience it would have to be my very first guide trip I ever took. I had three new clients and we ended up going to the Red River. The water was high and I instructed them not to wade in the middle of the river. Well sure enough one of the clients is doing his best Brad Pitt imitation and was tumbling down the river! Needless to say the client lived and a rental fly rod was lost. I thought how in the heck am I going to tell my boss about this!

What is your goal when you take clients on a trip?

My goal is to get everyone a fish when they come out with me. After the 1st fish is caught everything else seems to fall into place! Also showing every angler a great experience is essential. Sometimes folks just need a big break from reality, and what better way to do that than fly fishing.

What is your favorite river to guide and why?

My favorite river to guide has got to be the Rio Chama with the Rio Grande a close second. The Chama can produce monster trout and we can fish it basically year round. There are three different sections of the Chama and each one fishes differently. When the Chama is on there is no better fishing in the country in my opinion.

What are your top 5 “go to” patterns?
     1. Morrish Hopper
     2. Anato Mayfly
     3. Master Yoda
     4. Para Adams
     5. Pats Rubber Legs

What do you love most about fly fishing?

The thing that I love most about Fly Fishing is that it takes me away from my life. Every experience is different, but no matter what I get my chicken soup for my soul every time out.

Where do you want to fish before you die?

I want to go to Wyoming or Montana before I get too old for this! Also fishing the flats is on my bucket list, but being a trout bum I am always looking for that big trout!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not on the water?

I enjoy spending time with my family when I am not fishing. Getting to see my kids grow up is Gods gift to me! Also I am a hardcore Denver Bronco fan!

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