Williams River


Williams River

The Williams River begins on Black Mountain, Pocahontas County, and flows west 33 miles to its confluence with the Gauley River near Cowen, Webster County.

The Williams is an intermediate-sized stream with an average width of 40 feet. Excellent pools and instream cover exist. Stream alkalinity is moderately good and aquatic insects are diverse and abundant. Because the watershed is moderately stable, the stream is slow to become turbid.

At a Glance

Closest Towns: Richwood, WV

General Information


Access to the lower end of the river near Cowen is by Secondary Route 46 and The Williams River Road (Forest Road 86). These roads closely follow the Williams River. The Highland Scenic Highway, Route 150, provides access to the middle section. The Highland Scenic Highway receives no snow removal and can be very dangerous during winter months. The upper end can be reached from Secondary Route 17 off of Route 219.

Maps are available online or for sale from the Forest Supervisors office. The Williams River is located on the Cowen, Webster Springs; Webster Springs SW & SE, and the Woodrow U.S.G.S. Quadrangle maps.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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River and Stream Fishing

The beautiful setting, combined with easy access and good stream habitat make the Williams River a favorite among anglers. The fishery depends on put-and-take stockings although the upper portion of the stream supports a small brown trout population resulting from annual fingerling trout stockings.

The Williams is stocked once in January, twice in February, weekly in March-May and twice in October by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Catcheable size trout are stocked from above Day Run Campground downstream for 22 miles to the Laurel Run coal tipple. The stream annually receives 27,000 pounds of trout.

The most popular section of the Williams lies between the Tea Creek Campground and the Three Forks of the Williams. Large brown trout lure anglers to the "dead water" section between the Scenic Highway Bridge and the Secondary Route 17 bridge. There is also a 1 mile delayed harvest area 2 miles downstream below Tea Creek. The season is March 1 through May 31. General regulations apply June 1 through February 28. For delayed harvest regulations refer to the West Virginia Fishing Regulations.

To fish for trout on any stream in the National Forest a National Forest stamp must be obtained along with a trout fishing stamp and resident or non-resident fishing license. Licenses and bait are available in Marlinton, Edray, Cowen-Webster Springs area, Dyer, and Hillsboro.


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Scenic Driving

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