Williams Fork River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Williams Fork River

Difficulty Intermediate/Advanced
Ideal Days To Fish 8/7 through 8/10

Weekly Report

Report DateAug. 4, 2022

Sustained higher flows have done wonders as it relates to keeping water temps in check on the Colorado River. While it is hard to say how long this will last, it is reassuring to know that Denver Water is likely working with the CPW to protect one of our most important fisheries. That being said, comparatively higher flows on the Williams Fork have made for tricky fishing. At this point, trout are largely confined to the banks and areas where they are most protected from the strong current. Water clarity is lower, but there is still plenty of visibility. This should work in your favor, however, as trout will be less selective when it comes to your flies and the bump in flow will have stirred up some bigger offerings like stoneflies and worms. Nymphing with searchers/attractors at the lead followed by one or more smaller midge, baetis or caddis imitations will do most of the heavy lifting. However, hopper droppers and smaller streamers have both been highly effective, especially in the early hours of the day. Hatch activity has been strong with midges, PMDs, caddis, red quills, yellow sallies and green drakes all making regular appearances. However, surface feeding has been hit or miss with higher flows. Regardless of how you choose to fish, start by sticking to the banks and slack water and ensure plenty of weight so as to get your flies into the deepest water columns. As hatch activity progresses, don’t hesitate to lighten the load and fish some emergers or dry flies.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region
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Detailed River Info

Background

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. 

Angling

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.