Oroville Outdoor Adventurer Fishing

Cast a Line: The Best Fishing in Butte County

Butte Coun­ty is locat­ed close to Sacra­men­to and is an awe­some place for North­ern Cal­i­for­nia fishing. 

Nes­tled in the foothills of the Sier­ra Nevada’s, it has beau­ti­ful scenery, great weath­er, and a long local tra­di­tion of incred­i­ble fish­ing, hunt­ing and oth­er out­door recre­ation­al activ­i­ties. In fish­ing, it offers diverse oppor­tu­ni­ties in type, loca­tion and skill lev­el that are easy to access, whether you’re head­ing out on your own or hire one of the local pro­fes­sion­al guides. Butte Creek, Lake DeSabla, Par­adise Lake, Philbrook Reser­voir, and the Sacra­men­to Riv­er are pop­u­lar loca­tions for a morn­ing near the water, whether by your­self or with friends and family.

But if you’re look­ing for your chance to catch The Big One,” my rec­om­men­da­tions are Lake Oroville and the Feath­er River.

Lake Oroville

The ever-pop­u­lar Lake Oroville is a great place for fam­i­lies to spend time togeth­er fish­ing for bass and land­locked king salmon. In par­tic­u­lar, the land-locked King Salmon fish­ing has improved tremen­dous­ly recent­ly and is now extreme­ly con­sis­tent. They grow quick­ly due to an abun­dance of food; reach­ing five pounds and more, they are strong fight­ers and deli­cious eating.

You can also enjoy the oppor­tu­ni­ty to catch 20 or more bass for a bonus out on the lake. With species that include small­mouth, large­mouth, and spot­ted, bass enthu­si­asts on Lake Oroville have plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to enjoy 20 – 40 fish days. You can catch bass year-round, but it’s superb March through May. It’s not unheard of to catch over 50 fish a day (catch and release). Dai­ly lim­its are five salmon and five bass per person.

Feath­er River

A trib­u­tary to the Sacra­men­to Riv­er, the Feath­er Riv­er pro­duces excel­lent Cal­i­for­nia salmon and steel­head fish­ing as well as striped bass and shad — and it’s pos­si­ble to catch sev­er­al of those all in one day. Every sea­son, the area around Oroville teems with anglers of all types try­ing to catch these mag­nif­i­cent fish. If you like to riv­er fish, it’s one of the best rivers and it’s great from either a boat or the bank.

Boat fish­ing on the Feath­er Riv­er is a real treat, with con­sis­tent num­bers of salmon show­ing by mid- to late-August. Also along the Feath­er Riv­er, the Ther­mal­i­to After­bay out­let is the deep­est, largest hole on the riv­er. It attracts huge num­bers of fish, and while the hole is now closed to salmon fish­ing for safe­ty rea­sons, the sur­round­ing area pro­duces excel­lent salmon fishing.

The Feath­er Riv­er has one of the largest King Salmon runs in the state and is open from July 16 through Oct 31. In the fall, the salmon run on the riv­er is the largest, with fish­ers com­mon­ly catch­ing 20- to 30-pound (and even big­ger!) salmon. By mid- to late-Octo­ber, spawn­ing salmon attract steel­head trout, which feed on the salmon eggs. Acro­bat­ic, quick, and weigh­ing two to eight pounds, the steel­head are a fun addi­tion to the fish­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. For skilled fish­ers, float trips are the ide­al way to reach the rif­fles and runs where the steel­head wait.

Oth­er fish­ing on the Feath­er Riv­er include shad in ear­ly sum­mer; with large schools, catch­es are com­mon­ly 30 to 40 fish. Try­ing to hook striped bass makes for anoth­er fun excur­sion, as they are aggres­sive, tough fight­ers, yet easy to catch.

What­ev­er catch you’re look­ing for, you’ll find a spot to call your own and cast a line in Butte County.

Trip Tips

  • A sport fish­ing license is required for any per­son 16 years of age or older
  • You can pur­chase a Cal­i­for­nia fish­ing license online at wildlife​.ca​.gov/​l​i​c​e​n​s​i​n​g​/​f​i​shing
  • You can also pur­chase them in-store at local retail­ers through­out the coun­ty, including:
    • Fins, Furs, and Feath­er Sports, 1520 Bad­er Mine Rd., Paradise
    • Mac’s Mar­ket, 550 E Gri­d­ley Rd, Gridley