Williams Fork River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Williams Fork River

Difficulty Intermediate/Advanced
Ideal Days To Fish 3/17, 3/19 & 3/20

Weekly Report

Report DateMarch 16, 2023

At the end of the week, flows on the Williams Fork dropped slightly but have since held steady and are sitting below ideal levels for this time of year. Water clarity is good and trout are on high alert so you are going to need to be cautious when moving about the water. Sight fishing has been highly effective as of late. Trout are stacking up in the deep and slow water most of the day and given that flows are on the lower end, there are fewer holding places which has confined trout. With this in mind, if you see one trout there are likely more lurking around so don’t move on too quickly. Take your time picking apart the water and really focus on honing in your depth and presentation as this will dramatically improve your odds of success. While we saw glimpses of spring, winter weather has returned and the next few days are expected to be no different. The mornings have been and will continue to be slow given sub-freezing overnight and day time temps. As such, trout will be sluggish most of the day, but especially so in the early hours. For the best results, hit the water between 11 am and 3 pm as this is when trout will feed most heavily. Nymphing with smaller midge imitations will do most of the heavy lifting. A midge larva at the lead, or first fly, position to one or more pupa will generally be the most effective, but if you really want to hone it in go with double or triple larva patterns in the morning and mix in some pupa as things warm up. Otherwise, smaller searchers/attractors will produce as well. Hatch activity has been consistent, but fairly minimal as of late. However, if you come across rising trout you might consider rigging up some dry flies.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region

Detailed River Info


The Williams Fork River a.k.a Willy's Fork, is a two mile tail water below the Williams Fork Reservoir that feeds into the upper Colorado River. The most common access point to the river requires a 20 minute walk but trust us, the serenity and beauty is well worth the hike. The Willy's Fork provides a more peaceful outing compared to the other tail water options in Colorado.The Cotton Wood Tree lined river consists of deep runs, pools and pocket water. If you're looking to spend some time on the river make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and beer. 


Let us start off by saying this is hands down one of the most beautiful rivers that we've ever fished. A bad day on this river (which isn't likely), is still an amazing day because of the scenery. The Willy's Fork provides anglers with a wide variety of fishing options due to its abundance of deep runs and pools as well as pocket water and undercut grass banks. If you're fishing for numbers, targeting the banks will be your best bet. If you're searching for the 20 - 24 in. trout, add some weight and get down deep in the pools and runs. Besides the typical Caddis and Mayfly hatches, the Willy's Fork experiences a solid Stonefly hatch similar to the Colorado River. The most common trout found in this stretch are Browns and Rainbows. 

River Access

The tailwater section of the Williams Fork is located in the town of Parshall, CO. Anglers can access the river from two locations. You can park at the Williams Fork Division of Wildlife parking lot located at the intersection of county road 3 and county road 36. Parking at this location will require a 20 minute hike to the water. If you're looking to fish from the confluence, park in the town of Parshall off of Highway 40 and wade across the Colorado River.