The Williams Fork River is best known for its tailwater section, which is released from the Williams Fork Reservoir, and flows into the Colorado River a few miles downstream of its origin. The Williams Fork tailwater fishes best when it has enough CFS to entice fish from the Colorado River to run up it ( lets say between 100-200 CFS). a solid population of midges, Baetis, PMD’s, and caddis exist in the Williams Fork below the dam. Also notable are mosquito’s that develop in this area, they are second only to the mighty mosquitos of Muddy Creek. Bring DEET, cover all skin, and wear bug nets during peek mosquito season. A light nymph rig is the norm for fishing this stretch of water, although strong hatches can produce solid dry fly fishing at times. Streamer fishing can also be good here in the fall.
Nymphs To Try:Mercer’s Micro Poxy Back Stone size 14-16, TDJ Golden Stone size 14-16, Ju-Ju Baetis natural or red size 20-22, Barr’s Emerger PMD or BWO size 16-20, RS2’s size 18-22 grey and black, Buckskin Caddis size 16-18, K's Latex Caddis size 18, Flashback or natural Hare’s Ear size 16-18, Zebra Midge black or olive size 18-22, The Ninja size 18-20, UV Midge black or brown size 20-22, Chocolate Foam Wing size 18-22, Desert Storm red or chartreuse 20-24
Dries To Try: Chubby Chernobyl in black/tan or olive size 10-16, KK’s Henneberry Hopper size 10-14, Matthew's Sparkle Dun PMD or Baetis size 18-22, Black Foam Body Caddis size 14-16, X-Caddis size 14-16 tan, Parachute Adams size 18-22, CDC Morgan's Midge size 18-22, black/grey/cream Brook Sprouts Midge size 20-24
Streamers To Try: Think small to medium when chucking meat here.... Slump Busters, Wooly Buggers, Meat Whistles, Baby Gonga, and leach patterns
The Williams Fork has been fluctuating in flow through out the week, and is currently at about 110 CFS. This flow is a good flow to fish here, but fish could be a little unsettled from the inconsistent water levels recently. Hatches have included caddis, PMDs, BWOs, Tricos, and Midges. Hopper-dropper fishing can be a great technique here when flows are around 100 CFS and below.
The Williams Fork has been flowing close to 100 CFS for the last few days, down form about 160 CFS earlier in the week. This flow is starting to be on the low side of things for this stream, but is still very fishable. Fish can start getting spooky, and heading back to the Colorado river if flows start dropping below 50 CFS, but this is not the case currently. Expect to see hatches of midges, BWOs, PMDs, smaller caddis, Yellow Sallies, and Tricos. Terrestrial insects are also abundant in the fields surrounding the Williams Fork.
A hopper-Dropper Set up can be a great tool for fishing the Fork at its current flow. Use a small to medium sized hopper with a lightweight dropper if fish are feeding near the surface. Otherwise a nymph rig featuring natural imitations of active aquatic insects dropped under an indicator and split shot should do the trick.
The Williams Fork has just dropped to about 140 CFS, and this is just about a perfect flow for fishing here. Trout will have plenty of good holding, and feeding zones thought the entire stream. However angling pressure has been high here, and the mosquitos have been pretty obnoxious. Midges, BWOs, and a few caddis have been hatching higher up the Williams Fork, while more PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and larger caddis are seen more towards the confluence with the Colorado River. Terrestrial bugs are also around in good numbers, and trout have been feeding on them when they are blown into the water.
A hopper-dropper set up can be very effective here when trout are feeding in the upper water column. However a nymph rig is needed on days when hatches are slower, and fish are feeding towards the bottom of the stream.
The Williams Fork has been flowing around 200 CFS for about 2 weeks, which is a great holding level for trout.. Hatches have included Yellow Sallies, caddis, PMDs, BWOs, and midges. There are also abundant terrestrial insects in the surrounding meadows, so hopper patterns can also produce rises here.
Keep in mind that this river sees a lot of angling pressure, especially when it is closer to its average seasonal flows than most of the other rivers in the area which are still considered to be running slightly “high”. Consider downsizing your bugs and tippet sizes if fishing seems tough, and treat it like other highly pressured “tailwaters” such as the Blue River below Dillon Dam, the Dream Stream, or the Taylor River below Taylor Park Reservoir.
The Williams Fork tailwater has been holding near 200 CFS for the last week, which is a perfect flow to fish this stream. Trout have had time to adjust to current conditions, and should be comfortably settled in their lies, and on the look out for food. Hatches have been plentiful here, and have included Yellow Sallies, PMDs, caddis, a few Blue Wing Olives (Baetis), and midges.
Trout are equal opportunity feeders on both Nymphs and adult insects in the Williams Fork, so a variety of rigs could catch fish here. A dry-dropper rig featuring a size 18 bead head midge pattern run about 1.5’ deep has been productive when fished to trout feeding near the surface. A heavier nymph rig will be productive when hatches are slower, and trout are feeding closer to the bottom of the river.
The Williams Fork tailwater is currently declining in flow, and is currently holding near 260 CFS. Our favorite flows on the Fork are between 150 - 250 CFS, so now is a great time to fish this stretch of water. Current hatches include midges, Baetis, PMDs, Caddis, and Yellow Sallies.
The water is very clear and cold here, as most of it is filtered through the Williams Fork Reservoir. Due to the clear water and lower flows we are seeing here, tippet and fly sizes will need to be scaled down to smaller sizes. 4x and 5x tippet, in combination with size 16-22 flies will be the go to set up in the near future here. Trout can be caught both sub-surface and on the surface in the Williams Fork. Since the hike in is almost a mile we often bring two rods with us, one rigged up with dry flies, and one rigged up with nymphs.
The Williams Fork Tailwater has seen a steady decrease in flows all week, and is currently flowing in the mid 400 CFS range. Keep a look out for the time period when flows are in the 150-300 CFS range, as we consider that “prime time” for the Williams Fork. Current hatches include Giant Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, caddis, PMDs, a few Baetis, and midges.
A nymph rig is the most productive set up at the moment. We are usually running a Pats Rubber Leg, or similar stonefly imitation as our weight, followed by smaller caddis, mayfly, midge, and sally patterns. Also look for better dry fly, and dry-dropper action on this piece of water as flows drop.
Currently flowing about 800 CFS the Williams Fork is very high for its average size, but the water is normally clear due to the dam release from the reservoir. Some softer water can be found throughout the stream itself, but the most productive area at these flows is often the confluence with the Colorado River. Nymph fishing under an indicator with imitations of resident aquatic insects is your best bet or the time being. Expect to see Giant Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, PMD’s (medium sized mayflies, BWO’s (small mayflies), caddis, and midges. Streamers can also fish well here at higher flows.
**We are hearing rumors that the hike in from Ute Pass parking lot through the lower entrance of Bar J Lazy Ranch is closed for the time being. So plan on hiking in through the upper field, or from the Colorado River Access **
At 350 CFS the Williams Fork tailwater is a bit higher than our preferred stream flow, but it is still not a bad option for the time being. Higher flows do mean that there is plenty of water for fish from the colorado to move up and hold in. Expect caddis, Blue Wing Olives, yellow Sallies, worms, and midges to be on the menu. A nymph rig will probably buyout best bet for the time being, unless you prefer to strip some small to medium sized streamers, which could also be effective.
The flows on the Williamsfork tailwater have been fluctuating quite a bit recently. Keep an eye out for stable flows between 100 and 200CFS, which we believe are ideal for this stretch of water. Blue Wing Olive Mayflies, Caddis Larva, and Midges have been our go to bugs for the time being. Also keep larger Stonefly patterns in mind if you are fishing the confluence area with the Colorado River.