Prior to 1951, Williams Lake was accessible only on foot or horseback. The trout fishing was renowned as some of the best in Idaho due to excellent water conditions and the heavy stocking of the lake by Fish and Game. Anglers consistently caught rainbow trout weighing 5 – 6 pounds! Idaho Fish and Game quit stocking Williams Lake in 1984, and instead managed the lake as a wild trout fishery.

In the early 1990s, it became apparent that erosion from roads and leaching from Williams Lake recreational residences had contributed to deteriorating water conditions and fewer trout being harvested. In 2003, Williams Lake homeowners upgraded their septic systems to improve the scenic lake’s water quality and its fishery. Today Williams Lake remains a popular destination for residents to enjoy boating and fishing in the summer and ice fishing in the winter.