Oroville Wildlife Area
Oroville Outdoor Adventurer

Oroville Wildlife Area

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 1/2 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) 538-2236 or the North Central Region Rancho Cordova office at (916) 358-2900.

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.

Interested in visiting?
Start planning your trip with our itinerary builder, and find out about upcoming events by .