Derby endured another frustrating night, failing to score for the third consecutive game as Bolton continued their climb up the table.
In a game of few clear chances, Derby were the more creative side but could not break down a well-organised Bolton defence – although substitute Conor Sammon could have won it in injury time but fired his shot at Adam Bogdan.
Bolton had won their last three games but it was Derby, without the injured Will Hughes in midfield, who started with greater purpose and Chris Martin had a low shot from the edge of the area saved by Bogdan in the 17th minute.
Martin, back in the side after a one-match ban, was foiled by the keeper again a minute later when Jeff Hendrick crossed from the right, though an offside flag had already been raised in any case.
Mark Davies got behind Derby on the left only to waste the cross and Andre Moritz had a shot from 20 yards which Lee Grant beat out after Bolton worked the ball neatly down the right.
Derby were close to scoring in the 37th minute when Simon Dawkins held the ball up inside the box and set up Jamie Ward for a shot from 15 yards which beat Bogdan but whistled inches wide of the right had post.
There was a moment of danger for Derby when Neil Danns turned cleverly and ran at the defence but his shot was too high.
Andre Wisdom was just off target with a low drive from the edge of the Bolton box in first-half stoppage time.
Derby’s movement had been impressive and they buzzed around the Bolton area at the start of the second half, with Craig Bryson forcing Bogdan into a sprawling save in the 53rd minute after good link-up play with Dawkins.
Bolton broke quickly in the 63rd minute, with substitute Liam Trotter giving Lukas Jutkiewicz an opening on the right edge of the Derby area, but the striker’s shot lacked the power to trouble Grant. Craig Forsyth was then only just off target with a 25-yard shot that Bogdan was relieved to see go over.
Danns brought a diving save from Grant in the 75th minute with an athletic volley from 20 yards but Derby were doing most of the attacking and substitute Conor Sammon headed wide when Johnny Russell crossed to the back post in the 83rd minute.
Russell headed over a minute later but Grant had to beat out a cross-shot from Jutkiewicz when Bolton broke dangerously in the 87th minute.
There was a good chance for Derby in stoppage time when a Bryson back-heel set up Sammon but he shot straight at Bogdan and the game finished scoreless.