North Fork Feather River-Sierra Tahoe

North Fork Feather River

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North Fork Feather River
Sierra Tahoe Hatch Selection

Suggested Flies for North Fork Feather River :

Royal Wulff
Elk Hair Caddis #10-16
Stimulator #14-16
Parachute Madam-X
Royal Trude #6-12



GB Hares Ear #12-18
BH Prince Nymph #12-18
BH Flashback Pheasant Tail #12-18
BH Deep Sparkle Pupa #14-20
BH Zug #14-20
BH Copper John
BH Twenty Incher
Kaufmann's Stone
Black Rubber Legs #6-12

Hex Flies:
Burk's Hex Nymph #4-6
Milt's Hex Para-dun #6


Woolly Bugger, Olive or Brown, #4-10
Krystal Buggers #4-10
TS BH Bugger, Hex #8
Mohair Leech #8-10
Marabou Leech #6-10


Take Hwy 70 north from Lake Oroville. The Hwy 70 follows the North Fork of the Feather to the confluence of the East Fork Feather and, then, Hwy 70 goes east along the East Fork of the Feather. Out of Lake Almanor, the North Fork of the Feather can be accessed by Seneca Rd. which follows the river until it swings over to Butt Valley Reservoir. From there, you can take a dirt road, 27N26, to Caribou Road at the Belden Forebay and follow the river down to Hwy 70 at Belden where the river meets the East Branch of the North Fork. From Belden, the river follows Hwy 70 all the way to Lake Oroville.

Notes: North Fork Feather above Rock Creek Reservoir
Downstream from Belden Forebay, the next 7 miles of the North Fork Feather river is very popular and is heavily stocked near the campgrounds. Most large pools hold large browns and holdover rainbows. This section of the river has numerous pocket waters allowing for short-line nymphing techniques. The shoreline has heavy overgrowth, so it is better to wade up the stream. The North Fork Feather meets the East Branch of the North Fork Feather at Gansner Bar, 7 miles from Caribou, and continues onto Lake Oroville. This entire area is heavily stocked by DFG with rainbows. 4.5 miles below Gansner Bar is Rock Creek Dam which was built in 1950. From the dam, an 8.9 mile pipeline diverts the NF Feather water to the Rock Creek Powerhouse. The diversion produces low flows and warmer temperatures, particularly in the Summer months. Some mitigation occurred in 1998 when the dam came up for relicensing, the new license establishes specific minimum flow ranges based on season, whether the year is a wet or dry one, and recreational flows. These flows are progressively adapted over a 15-year minimum period, with monitoring to ensure that resources are adequate, improving and healthy. There are rainbows within this section below the dam. In the early part of the season, the best fishing is during the warmest part of the day. Fish the deep pockets by tight line nymphing with micro stonefly nymphs and beadhead nymphs. Some have good luck fishing an attractor dry with a beadhead nymph dropper.
In May and June, the Golden Stoneflies and Salmonflies start to hatch with the Yellow Sallies hatching by the end of May and continuing through July. During June, July and August, there is generally an evening hatch of caddis. PED's and Eporeus Mayflies can also show up in July. August will often be a mixed bag of evening hatches with midges, Mayflies, and Caddis. September will show some baetis hatches, particularly on cloudy days and these will continue into November. In October, the isonychia hatches will begin as well as BWO in the late afternoon around 4pm to dark and continue through November. Throughout the season, stonefly nymphs and mayfly nymphs will work by tight line nymphing the deeper pockets.

East Branch of the North Fork Feather River starts at the confluence of Indian Creek and Spanish Creek near Paxton. It is a short segment being only ten miles long before joining the North Fork Feather. There are no dams on the East Branch and it tends to be warmer and siltier due to the flows from Indian Creek. Much of this silt accumulates behind Rock Creek dam. The best access is at the Paxton bridge where the East Branch originates, Twain, Hallsted Campground, Rush Creek, and the confluence with the North Fork at Caribou. During snow melt, the river flows over 300 cfs but by the end of June, the flows will be closer to 50 cfs and the river looks more like a creek. The East Branch has riffles, pocket water, runs, and pools. The East Branch has Rainbows, Browns, and Smallmouth Bass, mostly in the 8-10 inch range. Most of these fish are wild since there is no fish stocking within this section. Spawning has been a problem here due to the multiple culverts from both the highway and railroad that run along the sides of the river. Some fish ladders have been constructed. Concentrate on the tributary inlets as these areas provide cooler and cleaner water.

Bucks Lake Wilderness: This area is named after a settler named Horace Bucklin who came to the area in 1850. He had a ranch, "Bucks Ranch", at Bucks Lake that was a popular wagon train stop as new settlers came over the Beckwourth Trail. Within the wilderness is the Three Lakes dam which consists of a rock-fill dam with a structural height of 30 feet and a length of 584 feet. Three Lakes Dam impounds the flow of Milk Ranch Creek, forming Upper Lake, Middle Lake, and Lower Lake, collectively known as Three Lakes Reservoir. A pipe conduit brings the water stored at Three Lakes to Lower Bucks Lake. Three Lakes contains Brookies. Gold Lake used to have Brookies but they have been removed for the Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog (SNYLF) restoration project. Silver Lake at 5800' elevation contains Brookies and stocked with about 1000 rainbows and 2000 brookies each year. It's a popular destination for fishing. No float tubes or physical contact is allowed in the lake but boats and canoes are allowed. A campground is present.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

North Fork Feather River:

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through the last day in February. No restrictions. 5 fish limit. Ten in Possession

North Fork Feather River from Belden Bridge downstream to Cresta Powerhouse (excluding reservoirs):

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through the last day in February. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout.


© 2021 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.


North Fork CG NF Feather from Belden Bridge Rock Creek Reservoir Rodgers Flat Three Lakes Silver Lake Gold Lake East Branch NF Feather Silver Lake Gold Lake Gasner Bar Rock Creek Reservoir Belden Bridge Rodgers Flat Three Lakes MF Feather Quincy High Lakes Yellow Creek