Note: The conclusion of Carly Hylen’s two-part recap of fishing in New Mexico’s high-country waters.
“These shirt sleeves are too short.”
“Does anyone in this area sell hip waders? We can only find chest waders.”
Preparations for our fly fishing trip to The Lodge and Ranch at Chama Land & Cattle Company began well before our departure date, and part of that preparation was obtaining the proper apparel for four intense days of fishing. My husband, Philip, and I made the trek to our nearest outdoor department store in search of shirts and pants in UPF, fast-drying fabrics that would protect us from sunburn while keeping us cool. As a woman of above-average height, it’s hard enough finding clothes in a self-proclaimed women’s boutique, but even fewer options exist when it comes to outdoor and fishing apparel.
In addition to shirts and pants, we also needed to bring our own waders and boots for fly fishing in the shallow streams nestled between towering mountain peaks at 10,000 feet. Our chest waders were overkill for water depths that rarely exceeded three feet and would have taken up too much space in our luggage, so we began making calls and investigating various fly shops in search of hip waders. And since we live in a rural area where most fly anglers use chest waders, the task was more difficult than we expected.
Fortunately, we teamed up with world-class fly fishing companies who specialize in resolving the issues that often plague women’s apparel and the need for lightweight hip waders and boots for the technical art of stream fishing.
Apparel: Maven Fly
Once I grew old enough to understand the concept of fashion, I quickly discovered that there are surprisingly few fashionable or eye-catching options in women’s fly fishing apparel. Style gave way to practicality once I discovered the usefulness of shirts and pants in breathable UPF fabrics, but, as evidenced by my department store misadventure, simply finding clothes that fit presented a monumental challenge. I often resorted to men’s shirts and went up on pant sizes for the sake of length. On the rare occasions that I found women’s shirts, I eventually experienced the dreaded sleeve shrinkage after washing them too many times.
Maven Fly has beautifully remedied this much-needed gap in women’s fishing apparel with its attractive Maven Fishing Shirts. These fashionable items combine the functionality expected of modern-day fishing apparel with feminine colors and tailoring ideal for a woman’s body in motion. My mom and I both loved our Maven Fishing Shirts; the fit was clearly tailored for women, stylishly avoiding the boxy shape of men’s shirts.
The sturdy Taslan Nylon fabric offered excellent UPF 50+ sun protection, dried quickly to keep us cool, and provided the much-needed length in the torso and sleeves to match our above-average height. We also appreciated the subtle feminine details, such as the signature Maven Fly pink buttons and the eye-catching Popper Green and Dusty Rose colors. These Maven Fishing Shirts will continue to be my go-to shirt for kayak and stream fishing, both at home and abroad.
For more information, please visit mavenfly.com.
Boots and Waders: Chota Outdoor Gear
Felt-soled boots and comfortable, durable hip waders were required gear to successfully stalk the pristine mountain streams of Chama. Unfortunately, Philip and I quickly discovered that hip waders were considered a novelty in our hometown, as most anglers use chest waders for the local streams and rivers. As for kayak fishing, I wanted footwear that would shed water quickly while keeping out rocks and other debris.
Chota Outdoor Gear made the wader selection simple with their award-winning Original Hippies and Camo Hippies. These breathable, durable, and versatile hip waders easily adjusted from hip to knee to ankle height and stayed firmly in place thanks to an adjustable drawstring and cinch strap just below the knee.
My dad and I both wore the Camo Hippies, while Philip put his Original Hippies into play in the stunningly beautiful Poso Valley. Both versions of the Hippies performed exquisitely, pulling double duty as brush guards while hiking through the tall grass that lined either side of the Poso Creek. The three-ply breathable laminate material was so lightweight that I barely noticed the waders’ presence while hiking at 10,000 feet.
Chota Outdoor Gear also offers a wide variety of felt-soled wading boots, including Philip’s Abrams Creek Wading Boots. The felt soles provided excellent traction and secure footing on the slippery rocks lining the stream beds. He also enjoyed the company’s legendary comfort and ankle support that defines all Chota boots and is already looking for more fly fishing opportunities at home just to wear them again.
I field-tested a prototype pair of the upcoming Chota Hybrid High-Top Felt Soled Wading Boots, which only weigh 14 ounces, and they worked equally well both for kayak fishing on their own and stream fishing in my Camo Hippies waders. The micro-screen side panels drained water quickly while keeping out rocks and algae and also featured a removable insole to accommodate the Camo Hippies. The Hybrid High-Top Felt Soled Wading Boots will continue to serve as my go-to footwear for stream and kayak fishing in our local lakes and rivers.
For more information on Chota Outdoor Gear’s extensive lineup of waders and boots, please visit chotaoutdoorgear.com. The Hybrid High-Top boots will come in felt-soled and rubber-soled versions and have an expected release date of November 2016.
Choosing reliable gear is absolutely essential for such an ambitious cross-country fly fishing trip in the rugged high country of Chama, New Mexico, and the rods, apparel, kayaks, and waders that we used far surpassed our expectations. Now that we’re back home, the only question left is where to go for our next adventure.
If You Want to Go
Northern New Mexico’s Lodge and Ranch at Chama Land & Cattle Company is one of North America’s premier fly fishing destinations. From its numerous high-country lakes to the pristine beauty of the Poso Valley and the headwaters of the legendary Brazos River, there is not a more captivating place on earth to pursue your fly fishing passions.
And all the while you will revel in Chama’s award-winning 27,000-square-foot lodge, with its extraordinary accommodations, amenities, corporate facilities, and cuisine. Owned by the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Lodge and Ranch at Chama is a great place to share with your spouse, your family, your friends, and your clients.
Call 1-575-756-2133, or visit lodgeatchama.com.