About the Park
Lake Oroville was created by Oroville Dam, which the State Department of Water Resources completed in 1967 after 5 years of construction. Lake Oroville conserves water for distribution by the State Water Project to homes, farms, and industries in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The Oroville facilities of the project also serve to provide flood control and smog free generation of electric power in addition to recreation.
When the Lake is at its maximum elevation, it includes some 15,500 surface acres for recreation and 167 miles of shoreline. Recreation areas are spotted around the Lake and boaters can land at any point to explore the surrounding country.
The three hundred acre Thermalito Forebay is a day use area. It has planted turf and is regularly watered and mowed. Shade trees from many parts of the world dot the area, including European Sycamore, Olive, Valley Oak, and Zelkova. Ramada's provide shade for picnic sites. Each site contains a stove and one or two picnic tables. Three large group areas are available by reservation through park headquarters. Drinking water is provided by faucet and drinking fountain.
The two hundred yard sandy swimming beach has men's and women's dressing rooms and flush toilets. The turf and beach areas of the North Forebay and Loafer Creek are closed to dogs. The North Forebay is reserved exclusively for sailboats, canoes, and other non power driven boats. The area has a disabled accessible fishing pier. The North Forebay has frequent trout plants. The North Forebay also has an en-route campground. This campground is designed for one night stays for self contained vehicles only.
Thermalito Forebay South has a parking lot, four lane boat launch ramp, picnic tables, a sandy beach, and chemical toilets. There is no shade or drinking water available. Power boating and fishing are the main attractions here. A visitor center complex atop Kelly Ridge overlooks the lake and dam. It features interpretive displays, an audio-visual room where films about the dam and surrounding area are shown throughout each day. The visitor center displays feature a history of the Dam construction and State Water Project as well as a historic view of the Native People that inhabit the Lake Oroville Area. A 47-foot viewing tower allows the visitor the opportunity to have a panoramic view of the dam and beautiful Lake.
Lake Oroville volunteers are an important part of the visitor center operation. Looking for an opportunity to contribute your time to an important cause? Check out the many volunteer opportunities at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. For further information call the Visitor Center at (530) 538-2219.
Clay Pit Off Road Area
Lake Oroville State Recreation Area features an off road vehicle area know as Clay Pit. This 220 acre facility is open daily 8 a.m. to sunset. All vehicles must be registered and the green sticker or license plate clearly displayed. All motorcycles must be equipped with a U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrester and adequate muffler.
Fishing can only be described as outstanding at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. Largemouth and Small Mouth Bass aren't the only type of fish you'll find in the lake. Chinook, Catfish, Mackinaw, Sturgeon, and Brown Trout can all be found in great quantities and great qualities. Nineteen pound Mackinaw have been reeled in as well as 3 pound White Crappie.
Fishing is permitted all year long but remember, a California sport fishing license is required. Check at the park for "slot limit" regulations for black bass.
Also Worth Seeing
Spectacular Feather Falls on Fall River is a scenic highlight of the area and well worth a trip up the Middle Fork of the Feather River. Feather Falls is 640 feet high and is especially beautiful during the spring run-off. When the lake is at its maximum elevation, you can boat within a quarter of a mile of the falls. The Feather River Fish Hatchery across the river from the city of Oroville is a 20,000,000 egg capacity salmon and steelhead hatchery built by the Department of Water Resources and operated by the Department of Fish and Game. Underwater windows permit close up viewing of the fish.