Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Williams Fork of the
Colorado River Colorado
The Williams Fork of the Colorado River joins the main
river at Parshall, Colorado. The river begins far above
the Williams Fork Reservoir but it's the mile and a half
tailwater that's famous for its wild brown trout. The
tailwater flows into the Colorado River. Fly fishing the
Williams Fork requires a little effort to reach but it's well
worth it. This is a sleeper Colorado trout stream that is
mostly fished by knowledgeable locals.

There's lots of brown trout and some rainbows in this
stretch of water. Probably the best thing going for it is
the hike that's required to reach the tailwater. Although
its only about thirty minutes long, the hike prevents
many anglers from testing its water. It is approximately a
mile hike. You can walk along the shoreline in most
places so access is fairly easy.

This river begins near the Continental Divide near
Berthoud Pass. It runs almost parallel with the Blue
River.  The Williams Fork is free-flowing for most of its
length. You can fish the river through the Arapaho
National Forest land. The river is over forty miles long
but the gem of the stream is its tailwater section.

The dam is subject to change the water flow. It is run by
the Denver Water Board. Special regulations only permit
catch and release and you can only use artificial lures
and flies.

The freestone and tailwater sections of the Williams
Fork both have large populations of aquatic insects,
crustaceans and lots of terrestrials. Matching the hatch
is often a basic requirement. There are several species
of caddisflies, mayflies and stoneflies. Sculpin are very
plentiful. Streamers work well at times.

We have taken samples of the larvae at various times
and developed a hatch chart for it. Give us a call or
send us an email and we can help you with your fly

The browns are not pushovers and neither are the
rainbows but if you match the naturals well, you can
catch your fair share. That is where Perfect Fly flies
have an advantage. The more the fly looks and acts like
the real things the trout feed on, the more likely they are
to be successful.

Although it is small, this is one of the best tailwater trout
fisheries in the state of Colorado. Fly fishing the Williams
Fork of the Colorado River can be very rewarding.

Year Round
March into April before the Spring runoff is a good time
to fish the river. Runoff is from late April or early May
until sometime in early June.
Summer is a very good time to fish. The water stays cool
due to the releases from Williams Fork Reservoir.
Fall is an excellent time because the brown trout spawn
in the Fall.
As long as you can get to the tailwater, you can catch
trout. The water doesn't freeze below the dam.

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Type of Stream

Brown Trout (Wild)
Rainbow Trout (Wild)


Central Colorado

Nearest Towns


Good but hiking required

Non-Resident License
State of Colorado

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
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Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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Fishing information
including descriptions
access, location,
species of fish, a fly
fishing guide, a fly and
recommended trout
flies, fly fishing gear
and equipment, USGS
stream data, local
weather and much,
much more
U.S.G.S. Real-time Stream Data:
Below Williams Fork Reservoir