• 945 Oro Dam Blvd W, Oroville, CA 95965
(530) 538-2236
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The Oroville Wildlife Area is over 11,000 acres of ripar­i­an wood­land habi­tat along the Feath­er Riv­er and grass­lands around the Ther­mal­i­to After­bay.

Pop­u­lar activ­i­ties include fish­ing, wildlife view­ing, hunt­ing, and shoot­ing range.

Warm water fish species (large­mouth bass, bluegill, green sun­fish, chan­nel cat­fish, and black crap­pie) can be found in the numer­ous dredger ponds and the Ther­mal­i­to After­bay. Salmon, steel­head, shad, and striped bass can be found in the Feath­er River.

Wildlife abounds with reg­u­lar sight­ings of coy­otes, deer, dove, quail, water­fowl, bad­ger, fox, bob­cat, por­cu­pine, osprey, white-tailed kite, egrets, wood­peck­ers, and warblers.

It’s a great loca­tion for explor­ing some of Butte Coun­ty’s wide-open spaces.


Access is via High­way 162 to the head­quar­ters entrance, about 12 mile west of High­way 70, or at Larkin Road. Access for Ther­mal­i­to After­bay Unit is Wilbur Road at Hwy 162. The Ther­mal­i­to Unit is five miles west of Oroville, east of High­way 99. Shoot­ing range access is via Rabe Road. 


Hours & More Information

Hours: one hour before sun­rise to one hour after sun­set, except for at des­ig­nat­ed camp­ing areas

For more infor­ma­tion: call the area at (530) 5382236 or the North Cen­tral Region Ran­cho Cor­do­va office at (916) 3582900.

A Brief His­to­ry of the Oroville Wildlife Area

Wildlife has always been abun­dant in the Oroville Wildlife Area, which attract­ed fur trap­pers, some of the ear­li­est explor­ers to the area.

From 1848 to 1857, min­ers worked the riv­er allu­vi­um (deposits clay, silt, sand, and grav­el left by flow­ing streams in a riv­er val­ley or delta, typ­i­cal­ly pro­duc­ing fer­tile soil). The near­by loca­tions with allu­vial deposits were suit­able for live­stock graz­ing, and oth­ers engaged in per­ma­nent agri­cul­ture with small orchards and irri­gat­ed pastures.

Agri­cul­ture end­ed in the area in 1898, when gold dredg­ing oper­a­tions began. When dredg­ing end­ed in 1952, the land was now unus­able except for small amounts of fish­ing and hunt­ing afford­ed by the ponds and their ripar­i­an edges.

Two diver­sions were con­struct­ed in the area and then removed when con­struc­tion of the Oroville Dam elim­i­nat­ed the need for them. In 1963, the process of remov­ing mate­ri­als for the con­struc­tion of the dam began.

Dur­ing con­struc­tion, Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Fish and Wildlife biol­o­gists were influ­en­tial in pre­serv­ing wildlife val­ues and cre­at­ing habi­tat with poten­tial val­ue such as ponds, lakes, and islands.

In 1968, the prop­er­ty was offi­cial­ly des­ig­nat­ed as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission.