Lake Oroville Recreation

Boats, kayaks, and paddleboarders on Lake Oroville at sunset

Hundreds enjoy 4th of July water activities at the Forebay Aquatic Center in Oroville. July 2017/DWR

Lake Oroville, located roughly 75 miles north of Sacramento and 100 miles south of Redding in Northern California, sits behind the tallest dam in the United States. The lake has more than 167 miles of shoreline and offers camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking, sail and power boating, water-skiing, fishing, and swimming. It's a favorite destination for thousands of visitors each year.

Fishing at Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville is one of the SWP’s premier recreational destinations and one of California’s best fishing spots. The lake provides both warm-water and cold-water fisheries. Some of the fish that anglers can catch include Chinook salmon; spotted, largemouth, and smallmouth bass; crappie; blue gill; and catfish.  Below the dam, the forebay, afterbay, and Feather River offer additional fishing opportunities. Steelhead and largemouth bass can also be found in the afterbay.

Check with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Parks for up-to-date information on fishing license requirements, regulations, and lake access. Sporting goods stores and outdoor outfitters in the town of Oroville are excellent sources of local knowledge and can help get you ready for a day on the lake or find fishing hotspots.

Fish in Lake Oroville include: 

  • Spotted bass these are the most commonly caught fish at Lake Oroville
  • Chinook salmon this popular sportfish is stocked annually in the lake
  • Channel catfish this abundant sportfish can grow to over 10 pounds 

Free Days at Lake Oroville!

Join us for free day-use and boat launching two days each month throughout the summer:

  • May  17-18
  • June 7-8
  • July 5-6
  • August 2-3
  • September 6-7

Lake Oroville State Recreation Area

Explore the drop down menu below to find out more about existing resources around and below Lake Oroville. Some facilities and trails are closed due to construction on the spillway. Please reference the Recreation Closures Map or call the Visitors Center for the most up-to-date information on openings and closures.

Lake Oroville Recreation Partner Agencies

California State Parks manages the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, where you can find up-to-date information on weather, launch ramps, and other activities at the lake, and make camping reservations, at ReserveCalifornia.


California Department of Fish and Wildlife operates the nearby Feather River Fish Hatchery and Oroville Wildlife Area. The hatchery website provides information on visiting hours and fish raised there. The wildlife area website contains information on recreation, hunting, and history of the area. To inquire about a tour of the hatchery, call our Oroville Field Division at (530) 534-2306.


Along with State Parks, we operate the Lake Oroville Visitors Center (also known as Kelly Ridge Visitors Center). It features interpretive displays, an audio-visual room with on-request videos, and a 47-foot viewing tower overlooking the dam and lake.

Related Pages

Recreation Improvement Projects 

The Department of Water Resources is investing more than $30 million in recreational improvements to the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. These projects will enhance visitor access as well as visitor experience through increases in parking, boat launching capacity and improved trailhead facilities. View the full list of projects.

Lake Oroville Shuttle Info

To improve access to available boat launching facilities while construction at the Lake Oroville spillways continues this summer, DWR and State Parks have partnered to offer passenger shuttles service from designated parking areas to operating boat launching facilities. Between mid-May and mid-September, shuttles will run at the following ramps:

  • Two shuttles at Bidwell Canyon
  • Two shuttles at Lime Saddle
  • One shuttle at Loafer Creek.  Note: the boat ramp becomes unusable at Loafer Creek when the lake drops below an elevation of 780 feet, at which time that shuttle will move to Bidwell Canyon for a total of 3 at Bidwell.

Schedules could change and are dependent on visitation and overall demand for shuttle services. 

Oroville Recreation Maps

Oroville Closure Area July 27

 Click map to view expanded version

Contact the Oroville Visitor Center  

(530) 538-2219
917 Kelly Ridge Rd.
Oroville, CA 95966