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Locations: Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville as a fishery, is unique in so many ways. For one, Lake Oroville is a two-story Fishery, hosting an active warm and cold water fishery in the same body of water. In fact, Bassmaster Magazine declared Lake Oroville to be the "best bass fishing spot in California." Lake Oroville is also the only body of water in the State that allows the take of Coho salmon, a fish that is bred at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in the town of Oroville.

Spotted Bass


If you're looking for bass, the most common species caught at Lake Oroville is the spotted bass. There are also large populations of largemouth, red-eye, and smallmouth bass, as well as black crappie, blue gill, and green sunfish. And if you're looking for catfish, Lake Oroville has both channel and white catfish.

Largemouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass
Photo by René Reyes, Bureau of Reclamation

Red-Eye Bass

In addition to the thousands of pounds of Coho salmon planted each year, there are also rainbow and brown trout, and an occasional Kokanee are caught.

Coho Salmon

But don't ignore the Feather River, which offers opportunities for fall-run Chinook (King) salmon, steelhead, American shad, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and white sturgeon. There is excellent river access throughout the Oroville Wildlife Area.

There is also excellent fishing available at the Forebay and Afterbay as well. The Forebay hosts all four species of bass available in the lake, as well as brook, brown, and rainbow trout, and Chinook salmon. The Afterbay also has largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, and both channel and white catfish, and common carp. To get up to date local fishing information, visit any of Oroville's local sporting-goods and outfitter stores.

Channel Catfish

Rainbow Trout

Brown Trout

Local Fishing Regulations:

Within Lake Oroville only, you may keep bass under 12 inches or over 15 inches. However, you must release bass between 12 inches and 15 inches in length. The bag limit on bass is five (5) per day.

Outside of Lake Oroville (Feather River, Forebay, Afterbay), bass need to be over 12 inches to keep.

All current catch limits and regulations are posted at and apply according to the California Department of Fish and Game. You should always check current regulations at Lake Oroville and the surrounding bodies of water, as they are subject to change. You are responsible for knowing and complying with these laws at all times.

The following is a list of record catches at Lake Oroville, and are current as of the summer of 2011:
Chinook salmon 19 lb 11 oz 1987
Coho salmon 10 lbs 4 oz 2005
lake trout 11 lb 0 oz 1992
brown trout 15 lb 0 oz 1979
rainbow trout 16 lb 0 oz 1990
largemouth bass 14 lb 15 oz 1998
smallmouth bass 6 lb 2 oz 1992
spotted bass 8 lb 2 oz 1997
red eye bass 3 lb 4 oz 1983
white crappie 3 lb 4 oz 1993
black crappie 2 lb 10 oz 1983
channel catfish 25 lb 0 oz 1992
white catfish 27 lb 4 oz 1992
Sacramento pikeminnow 13 lb 12 oz 1995
carp 14 lb 5 oz 1983
White sturgeon 97 lb 0 oz 1989

People Fishing