Fishing Season: Year Round (Prime: June 15 - October 20) Winter is slow.

Dolores River - CO

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:

55

Telluride Fly Fishers's Tip of the Week

We are now closed for the Season. Will open May 1, 2022 Thanks For your business!

Directions open in app

Map of Dolores River

Water Flow Data

Tidal Conditions

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby

Telluride Fly Fishers

5-Day Outlook as of 12/2/21

We are now closed for the Season. Will open May 1, 2022 Thanks For your business!

Techniques & Tips as of 12/2/21

We are now closed for the Season. Will open May 1, 2022 Thanks For your business!

Local Species Available Year Round (Prime: June 15 - October 20) Winter is slow.

  • Fish Icon

    Trout

Telluride Fly Fishers's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Bead Head Prince green/brown 12
Schroeder's Hi-Vis Hopper tan 12
Spotlight Caddis Emerger olive 12-14
Orvis CJ Nymph green, 18
copper wire emerger 16 copper 16
mayhem emerger 18 black 18
Orvis CJ Nymph red, green 18-20
Orvis CJ Nymph red 16
wd 40 size 18 brown 18
Doculater orange 12

Bead Head Prince

Image Not Found

Telluride Fly Fishers's Recommended Gear

Description: About Dolores River

The pristine Dolores River in the southwest corner of Colorado starts as a series of small feeder streams at 10,200 ft near Lizard Head Pass. It runs through the town of Rico all the way to Dolores, over 48 miles in all where it is then dammed up at McPhee Reservoir. The Dolores is classic, small stream pocket water with occasional pools and rocky runs. It has varied mayfly, stone fly and caddis activity with the latter being pre-dominant. Terrestrials are also prevalent with grasshoppers and beetles working well from spring through fall. Streamers, mainly wooly buggers, can be effective in the high water of June and early July. Five species of trout are available ranging from rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat and cutbows. Also present are sculpins and kokanee that run into the river from Mcphee. The Dolores has state designated stocked sections, but there are an abundance of "wild" fish. From Rico up to the headwaters the river is mostly public. From Rico on down, much of the river is private but there are still many sections not posted that are open to the public. Dry-dropper rigs work well from spring to fall with top fly sizes in the 10 to 14 range depending on time of year and water levels. Droppers in size 16 work well early and range on down to 20 as the season progresses. Popular dry flies include elk hair caddis, stimulators, parachute adams, royal coachman (and Wulfs) and all types of grasshoppers. Most bead-headed droppers will work including copper johns (all colors), pheasant tails and hare's ear nymphs. Emergers work well from late summer into fall. Hatches due occur, but are difficult to cue on due to the fast flowing, gradient nature of the Dolores. Many of the tributaries, including the West Fork, the East Fork and Bear Creek are also worth exploring. Winter fishing is slow to non-existant due to low water and ice.

Nearest Airport:

Montrose Airport

Best Time to Fish:

MORNING

Best Stretch:

Below Rico to Dolores, Above Rico to Lizard Head, Below McPhee Dam

Best Access:

Anywhere that is public