Fish Mesa Verde Country:
A Year-Round Paradise

From small mountain streams to McPhee Lake, the second largest in Colorado, Mesa Verde Country is one of the premiere fishing areas in Colorado. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has called McPhee Lake "the best fishing spot in the San Juan Basin." No matter where you decide to drop a line, the one thing you won't find in Mesa Verde Country is crowds – so relax, enjoy, and maybe you'll catch that big one! See below to download maps of our fishing areas.

Adults and children 15 and older must have a fishing license in Colorado for lakes, streams and reservoirs. Many local sporting goods, hardware, and convenience stores sell fishing licenses and provide information on fishing conditions. There are several varieties of resident and non-resident licenses, including 1-day and 5-day passes, so make sure you purchase just what you need.

The season is open year round. The Colorado Division of Wildlife (970.247.0855) provides free brochures with information about gold medal waters, baits and restrictions, possession limits and other pertinent information. Or, between April and the end of September, you can call 303-291-7539 to hear a recorded message for fishing information on Southwest Colorado.



Know Before You Go

  • Certain areas are designated catch and release or have specific bait or general fishing restrictions
  • Check local restrictions before fishing
  • Catch & Release Tips: don’t play the fish to exhaustion, keep fish in the water if possible as you take out the hook, avoid squeezing the fish, re-acclimate the fish by gently facing it into the current, if a hook is swallowed, cut the line as close to the hook as possible and leave the hook in the fish

Main Attractions

  • Dolores River
  • Mancos River
  • McPhee Reservoir

Amenities & Services

  • Colorado Division of Wildlife

Getting There

Download fishing maps as a single download, or in sections as described below: 

  • Part 1: fishing areas, species of fish, overview map
  • Part 2: Mancos Area, McPhee Area, Jackson, Summit, Puett, Jo Moore, Narrguinnep and McPhee Reservoirs
  • Part 3: Dolores River, Groundhog Reservoir, West Fork of the Dolores River.

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Biking From single tracks that wind past cliff dwellings to beautiful climbs in the San Juans, to mountain biking in Phil's World, Mesa Verde Country offers some of the most unique rides in the Southwest. Explore More
Hiking Mesa Verde Country has some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Colorado, from beautiful red-rock canyons, to the cool San Juan National Forest, and spectacular 14,000 foot peaks. Explore More
Western Adventures Whether you're looking for a once in a lifetime experience working on a real cattle ranch, a horseback ride or a pack trip into our incredible backcountry, Mesa Verde Country is the place! Explore More
Birding With its diverse landscapes and mild climate, Mesa Verde Country attracts a wide spectrum of migratory and resident birds. Spring migration and early nesters attract birdwatchers from far and wide. Explore More
Wildflowers Mesa Verde Country is home to over 2,000 species of plants that range from dwarf alpine flowers, to fields of mountain sunflowers, to carpets of high desert peas. Explore More
Golfing Conquistador Golf Course, a USGA sanctioned, par 72, 18 hole public course. The course sits at 6,200 feet, with views of Mesa Verde, the La Plata Mountains, and the Sleeping Ute Mountain. Explore More
Hunting Big game hunting in Mesa Verde Country is legendary. According to American Hunter, the best bet for mule deer is in Montezuma County, which makes up a large part of Mesa Verde Country Explore More
Skiing Cross-country options include skiing above Ancestral Puebloan sites, or into spectacular, remote mountain country. Trails range from well-maintained double tracks to trail-breaking opportunities. Explore More
Snowmobiling Hundreds of miles of Forest Service trails, bowls, and meadows await the snowmobiler in Mesa Verde Country. All trails follow the standards for signage and are marked with orange diamonds. Explore More