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Where to Fish in Williams, AZ: Best Stocked Lakes

Williams offers a variety of fishing spots that promise a rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. It offers a variety of fish species and well-maintained environments that make it an ideal destination for fishing success.

The local lakes, including, Cataract, Dogtown, and the City Reservoir, as well as some nearby lakes, including the Kaibab, White Horse, and Lee’s Ferry lakes, are stocked annually with a range of fish species, ensuring ample opportunities to catch fish. You can find tiger trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, green sunfish, bluegill, and black crappie in these waters.

This guide will explore the best places to fish in Williams, AZ, and provide essential information on permits, regulations, and other activities to enhance your visit.

  1. Cataract Lake
    • Description: A gem about a mile West of Williams, inside the Kaibab National Forest. Cataract Lake is known for its serene environment and diverse fish population, including some of the region’s best rainbow and brown trout, as well as largemouth bass, and channel catfish.
    • Facilities: Picnic tables, toilet, and garbage bins. Walking trails and a boat ramp are also available.
    • Additional Activities: Enjoy a picnic, a peaceful hike around the lake, or a leisurely paddle in a canoe.
  2. Dogtown Lake
    • Description: Situated within the Kaibab National Forest, at about 7 miles from Williams, Dogtown Lake is surrounded by the lush Ponderosa pine forest and offers excellent fishing for bluegill, largemouth bass, and crappie.
    • Facilities: The Dogtown Lake Campground provides amenities such as campsites, picnic tables, and restrooms.
    • Additional Activities: The lake is great for electric powerboats and Kayaks. The area is also ideal for hiking and wildlife viewing.
  3. Kaibab Lake
    • Description: Located at just 4.5 miles from downtown Williams, Kaibab Lake is a favorite among local anglers. This picturesque lake stocked with rainbow trout, crappie, and bluegill, is ideal for both fly fishing and bait fishing.
    • Facilities: Kaibab Lake Campground offers camping sites, picnic areas, and restroom facilities.
    • Additional Activities: The lake is perfect for kayaking and birdwatching.
  4. City Reservoir
    • Description: The City Reservoir, often overlooked by visitors, is a hidden gem for both fishing and outdoor enthusiasts in Williams. Located within the city limits, this reservoir offers a convenient and tranquil fishing spot for those looking to catch rainbow trout, large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, and green sunfish. The reservoir is well-stocked and easily accessible, making it perfect for a quick fishing trip.
    • Facilities: The reservoir features picnic areas as well as nearby parking, providing easy access for anglers. A small electric boat launch and restrooms are also available on-site for added convenience.
    • Additional Activities: Beyond fishing, the City Reservoir offers scenic views and opportunities for a leisurely stroll along its shores. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful picnic in addition to a great place to enjoy the natural beauty of Williams.
Dogtown Lake Williams Arizona - Where to Fish for a Great Catch!
Dogtown Lake Williams – Where to Fish for a Great Catch!

While not located in Williams, these renowned fishing destinations are worth mentioning.

  1. White Horse Lake
    • Description: Known for its beautiful setting and rich wildlife, White Horse Lake is stocked with trout and is a popular spot for both fishing and camping 19 miles from Williams.
    • Facilities: Campground facilities include campsites, picnic areas, and restrooms.
    • Additional Activities: Hiking trails, mountain biking, and birdwatching opportunities abound.
  2. Lee’s Ferry
    • Description: Lee’s Ferry is a renowned fishing destination situated near the Grand Canyon at 163 miles from Williams. Famous for its large rainbow trout, Lee’s Ferry offers a unique and rewarding fishing experience that attracts serious anglers from all over. The clear waters and stunning red rock surroundings create an unforgettable backdrop for fishing adventures.
    • Facilities: The area around Lee’s Ferry offers a boat ramp, campground, picnic areas, and also restrooms, ensuring visitors have a comfortable and convenient stay.
    • Additional Activities: Beyond fishing, Lee’s Ferry is a hub for outdoor activities as well as scenic views. Visitors can enjoy hiking the surrounding trails, exploring the historical sites, and embarking on river rafting trips through the Colorado River. The scenic views and rich history make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
  3. Ashurst Lake
    • Description: Although slightly further from Williams, 55 miles away, Ashurst Lake is worth the trip for its excellent trout fishing. The lake also supports populations of northern pike and catfish.
    • Facilities: The campground offers picnic areas, restrooms, and also campground facilities.
    • Additional Activities: Boating, hiking, windsurfing, and birdwatching are popular activities here.

Fishing Permits and Regulations

To fish in any of these lakes, anglers must obtain a valid Arizona fishing license. Licenses can be purchased online through the Arizona Game and Fish Department or at various local retailers. Be sure to also check the USDA Forest Service website for specific regulations for each lake, as rules can vary.

Best Time to Fish in Williams

While fishing is excellent year-round, the spring and summer seasons often bring some of the best conditions for a successful trout and catfish catch, as the fish are more active and accessible during these months. However, there are plenty of opportunities to fish during the fall and winter months with lots of rainbow trout supplied by the Arizona Game and Fish Department

Enhancing Your Fishing Trip

Camping in Williams Arizona Near Lakes
Great camping options in Williams

Williams offers numerous camping and RV park options that can enhance your fishing trip. For a comprehensive guide to camping in the area, refer to our detailed Camping in Williams, Arizona article. This resource provides information on campgrounds, RV parks, and other accommodations to help you plan a perfect outdoor adventure.


Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Williams, AZ, has something to offer. From the popular and serene waters of Kaibab Lake to the unexpected City Reservoir, there’s a fishing spot for everyone. Remember to secure your fishing permits, respect local regulations, and enjoy the natural beauty that Williams and its surroundings have to offer.

Happy fishing!

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