Rio Grande Bass & Walleye Biting Now!

By: Chris Shaffer

When we met Kris Flores of Muddy River Catfishing for dinner in Elephant Butte Saturday night I could sense he wasn’t excited about our planned outing Sunday. He looked defeated after spending the day on Elephant Butte Reservoir without a nibble. With conditions not likely to change in the next few hours I didn’t want to waste a day and asked Flores to scrap the catfishing if there was an alternate place we could fish and find success.

Flores is a legend in New Mexico. If the catfish were biting he would be catching them. If he wasn’t excited about chasing them in not so favorable conditions – neither was I. Fortunately, Flores was ok with altering the plan and spending a day with us. It turned out to be a blessing. Instead of Flores showing us some of New Mexico’s finest kitties we were able to introduce him to one of our new creations: Fire Dye.


It’s no secret New Mexico is a Pautzke state. We sell more salmon eggs and FireBait here than any other state. Flores, like most locals who fish for trout, grew up fishing with our Green Label. This time we were going to show him (and the fish) something new. Rather than employing live minnows like many do on the Rio Grande, we wanted to show the walleye and bass something they hadn’t seen: live Chartreuse & Blue Fire Dye minnows.


In New Mexico, Fire Dye is brand new. Only a handful of Walmart locations in the state carry it (they just got it) but luckily live bait is available in the area. We purchased five-dozen shiners, dropped them in a small bucket, added the dye and within 15 minutes the minnows were now blue and chartreuse and as lively as they were when we first bought them. Flores was amazed. And so were the fish.

Walking the bank of the Rio Grande downriver of Elephant Butte, Flores took us to one of his favorite spots and armed with spinning rods and size four Owner mosquito hooks we pierced a chartreuse minnow through the upper lip and caught a seven-pound walleye almost instantly. A few casts later we caught a four-pound bass on the same setup. We then caught two more smaller bass before switching spots.


It was already 11am and the sun was strong, which isn’t ideal for fishing (we didn’t start till 9:30 due to having issues finding a place to purchase a license). We migrated downriver a few miles where Flores hooked up with another four-pound bass, this time on a live Blue Fire Dye minnow. By noon we left for lunch.


The afternoon bite was slow largely in part to other anglers clogging many of the holes we wanted to fish. Instead of finding a place amongst the crowds we headed to a popular riverside park in Truth or Consequences and fished from 5:30 to 7 where we caught several smaller largemouth bass and a pile of white bass, all on the blue and chartreuse minnows.


Fortunately, we were able to salvage a day of filming Pautzke Outdoors and show that this new technique works. We ended up having to return to the bait shop to buy more minnows, in fact. They fish chewed far more than we expected.


Editor’s Note: Fire Dye is now available at the following New Mexico Walmart locations: Albuquerque West (Coors Blvd), Albuquerque (Wyoming Blvd), Belen, Carlsbad, Farmington, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho (west), Santa Fe (Cerrillos Rd), Silver City & Truth or Consequence. Please read the instructions on the bottle prior to using.