Fishing the Dolores River

JMorgan fishing

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Upper Dolores River, US 145:

From the top of Lizard Head Pass, the Dolores River flows 241 miles until it empties into the Colorado River. The Dolores travels down in a canyon, past the old mining town of Rico and into McPhee Reservoir near the town of Dolores. Below the Reservoir is the Dolores River Canyon, averaging 1,110 feet in depth for over 40 miles with a northward flow. The major fishing areas are the feeder streams, the river above the Town of Dolores, and the stretch below McPhee Reservoir. Colorado has established fishing regulations, which are noted in each river section below:

Fishing side canyons above Dolores:

Bear Creek- elevation 8,612 feet
Fish: Cutbow and Cutthroat Trout
Boating: na

Roaring Forks Creek- elevation na

Fish: Cutthroat & Brook Trout Access: Difficult
Boating: na

Stoner Creek- elevation 7,838 feet
Fish: Cutthroat
Access: Difficult
Boating: na

Fishing in the town of Dolores:

Dolores River, Joe Rowell Park- elevaton 6,927 feet
Fish: Kokonee Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout
Access: Medium
Boating with non-motorized boats.
Kokanee regulations apply: kokanee snagging only from September 1
through December 31.

McPhee Reservoir:
elevation-6,927 feet

Note: All Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass from 10-15 inches in length must be returned to the water upon catch. Walleye has no bag or possession limit. Kokanee snagging only from September 1 through December 31
Fish: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Carp, Crappie, Yellow Pearch, Walleye, Kokanee Salmon, Bluegill, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating with motor boats allowed.

McPhee Reservoir

Base of McPhee Dam to the Bradfield Bridge (11 miles of water):

Fishing only is with artificial flies and lures.
For Channel Catfish, Largemounth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Green Sunfish, Bluegill, Bluehead, Yellow Perch or Crappie there is no bag limit or posession limit.
All Trout need to be returned to the water upon catching.

Dolores River:elevation-6,469 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Snake River Cutthroat Access: Medium
Boating: non-motorized
Groundhog Reservoir- elevation 8,724 feet
Fish: Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Hand Launched
Additional Info:
-Groundhog & Nash Creeks: from the Groundhog Reservoir upstream for 1/2 mile, fishing is prohibited from April 15 through July 15.

Bradfield Bridge

Lone Dome State Wildlife Area:
Location: From Cortez, 21 miles north on Hwy 491 to CR-DD; east 1 mile to CR-16; north 3 miles to access road; 3 miles to the Bridge
Acreage: 1,662 Acres
Colorado Parks Wildlife:
Durango: 970-247-0855

Dolores River Below Rico

  • Water Level: 2.57 ft


Dolores River At Dolores

  • Water Level: 2.01 ft