Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Dolores River - Below McPhee Reservoir - Colorado

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midges Morning #18-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Stoneflies Afternoon #16-22 Nymphs, Pat's Rubber Legs
February Midges Morning #18-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Stoneflies Afternoon #16-22 Nymphs, Pat's Rubber Legs
March Midges Morning #18-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Blue-Winged Olives Afternoon #18-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
April Midges Morning #18-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Blue-Winged Olives Afternoon #18-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
Caddisflies Afternoon #14-18 Dry Flies, Pupae
May Blue-Winged Olives Afternoon #18-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
Caddisflies Afternoon #14-18 Dry Flies, Pupae
Stoneflies Evening #6-14 Dry Flies, Nymphs
June Caddisflies Afternoon #14-18 Dry Flies, Pupae
Stoneflies Evening #6-14 Dry Flies, Nymphs
Mayflies Evening #16-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
July Mayflies Evening #16-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
Caddisflies Afternoon #14-18 Dry Flies, Pupae
August Mayflies Evening #16-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
Caddisflies Afternoon #14-18 Dry Flies, Pupae
September Mayflies Evening #16-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
Caddisflies Afternoon #14-18 Dry Flies, Pupae
October Midges Morning #18-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Blue-Winged Olives Afternoon #18-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
November Midges Morning #18-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Blue-Winged Olives Afternoon #18-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs
December Midges Morning #18-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Blue-Winged Olives Afternoon #18-22 Dry Flies, Nymphs

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Dolores River, below McPhee Reservoir, offers some of the best spots for fly fishing. Enthusiasts will find a variety of species, including Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Cutthroat Trout.
  • The Bradfield Bridge: A BLM recreation area that provides direct access to the river. The river here is known for its excellent streamer fishing.
  • Dove Creek Pump Station: This is another great fishing spot with reliable aquatic insects. You’ll find plenty of Brown and Cutthroat Trout here.
  • Slick Rock Put-in: The river around Slick Rock Put-in is teeming with Rainbow Trout and is great for those who enjoy dry fly fishing.
  • Gypsum Valley: A famed spot for catching Rainbow Trout and Cutthroat Trout. This area has a mix of private properties and public lands, so be aware of trespassing issues.
  • The Bedrock Store: Located right on the river, the area around the stor is perfect for hatches and large trout.

Best Access Points

The Dolores River below McPhee Reservoir is one of the premier fly fishing spots in the region. The best access points with respect to fly fishing enthusiasts are:

  • Bradfield Bridge: This provides not just shore based access for fishing but also is the starting point for boating. This point can be accessed by heading north on County Rd 521 from Highway 160.
  • Dove Creek Pump Station: Located near the town of Dove Creek, this access point is particularly good for wade fishing. Prospective anglers can reach there by turning north onto Rd 11 from Highway 491 to Dolores.
  • Slick Rock: Located in the namesake town of Slick Rock, this access point is popular among native trout fly fishing enthusiasts. Access requires a four-wheel drive vehicle along the fourbyfour Slick Rock Trail.

Local Fish

  • Brown Trout: This species is the most commonly targeted on the river and can be found in high numbers in various sizes.
  • Rainbow Trout: Known for its beautiful coloration, Rainbow Trout are a favorite amongst fly fisherman on the Dolores River.
  • Brook Trout: Typically found in smaller sizes, Brook Trout offer a fun catch for anglers, especially in the upper sections of the river.
  • Cutthroat Trout: Present in both pure and hybrid forms, catching a native Cutthroat is a special treat.
  • Colorado Pike Minnow: While not traditionally targeted on a fly, the Colorado Pike Minnow is often caught on the Dolores River below McPhee Reservoir.
  • Razorback Sucker: This endangered species is occasionally caught by anglers practicing catch and release.
  • White Sucker: Often considered a nuisance by some fly fisherman, the White Sucker nonetheless offers a unique challenge.
  • Mountain Whitefish: An underrated species, Mountain Whitefish can provide a good day’s catch especially in colder temperatures.

About The River

The Dolores River, Below McPhee Reservoir, is intricately woven into the rich tapestry of Southwestern Colorado’s history. Originally named Rio de Nuestra Senora de Dolores by Spanish explorers, it translates to ‘River of Our Lady of Sorrows’. This charming river winds its way through breathtaking canyons and verdant forests, offering a peaceful escape.

Let’s refresh our memories with some crucial highlights:

  • In the 1800s, the Dolores River served as a pathway for European and American exploration.
  • By the early 1900s, the river had become a significant source of irrigation for the region’s flourishing agricultural sector.
  • McPhee Reservoir, completed in 1985, is now the second-largest body of water in Colorado and regulates the Dolores River’s flow.
  • These days, the Dolores River is a favorite hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts, drawing in white-water rafters, hikers, and nature photographers.

In essence, a journey along the Dolores River is a remarkable, continuously unfolding history lesson!

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