Yellow Creek and Butt Valley Reservoir-Sierra Tahoe

Yellow Creek and Butt Valley Reservoir

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Yellow Creek
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Suggested Flies for Yellow Creek and Butt Valley Resrvoir:

Yellow Creek


Elk Hair Caddis #18-20
Yellow Stimulator #14-16
Clarks Little Yellow Stone #14-16
Parachute Madam-X, Yellow #14
Para Biot BWO #18
Quigley Cripple BWO #18
Para Quill, PMD #18
Parachute Adams #18-20


GB Hares Ear #18
BH Prince Nymph #18
BH Flashback Pheasant Tail #18
BH Deep Sparkle Pupa #18-20
BH Zug #18-20
BH Copper John #18
BH Twenty Incher #14

Butt Valley Reservoir

Hex Flies:

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

Pond Smelt Patterns:
Burke's Hot Flash Minnow
Milt's Pond Smelt #2
Lite Brite Minnow

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

Directions:Directions to Butt Valley Reservoir

From Lake Almanor, take Hwy 89 to the turnoff marked "Butt Valley Reservoir". The road is Prattville/Butt Valley Reservoir and it travels along the reservoir and continues on to the town of Caribou.
Yellow Creek can be reached from Chester on Hwy 36; go SW 2 miles and turn South on Hwy 89, go 4.5 miles to County Rd 307-Humbug Rd. Turn West, and go 2 miles, cross Butt Creek, then go 5.5 miles to Humbug Meadow. Turn Left to PG&E campground. Rough dirt Roads.

Notes:Butt Valley Reservoir
Butt Valley Reservoir (Elevation: 4125 feet) , is known for it's trophy-size Rainbow and Brown trout averaging about 18". A fair population of Smallmouth Bass also exist and will hit most of the leech patterns and buggers. Most of the fishing takes place at the north end of the lake near the estuary. Take the gravel road across Butt Creek and park near the powerhouse. A trail will take youi to the water. A small peninsula extends into the estuary with Butt Creek on one side and the water from the powerhouse on the other. On the west side of the peninsula there are pond smelt that have been traveled through the tunnel and powerhouse from Lake Almanor. Many of these smelt are stunned and crippled. The large Rainbows and Browns hang around the powerhouse waiting for the ejecting smelt. Dead drift the pond smelt pattern on a floating line with a long leader. Twist the body of the pond smelt so that it floats on it's side in the surface film. On the East side of the peninsula, Butt Creek feeds into the Reservoir and the trout like to inhabit it's cooler waters. Park at the bridge a few hundred yards upstream from the reservoir. The creek has a steep gradient and large pocket water. Try using small Beadhead Nymphs with an indicator. To reach the upper sections of Butt Creek, take Humbug road to the bridge that spans Butt Creek. North of the bridge the creek is within a meadow that is heavy with willows and south of the bridge the creek starts a freestone descent to Butt Valley Reservoir.
Another access point to But Valley Reservoir is Ponderosa Flat Campground. An overflow area exists next to it providing access to the water for float tubers or you can camp at this location and use it as your access to the lake. About one mile south of the campground is the Ray Adams Boat Launch. This area has ample parking and provides good access for float tubing. This area has good fishing within the weedbeds but it's better across the lake on the western shore.
For the smallies, go to the end of the lake near the stumps, especially during the early morning and evening hours. A road forks off just before the dam providing parking and access to the water.
A Hex hatch occurs in mid-June through most of July. Nymphs begin to emerge about 45 minutes before dark and will continue into the night. You can fish the hex nymphs primarily but switch to the paraduns when you actually see the hexes on the water. Let the pattern sit for a bit, then strip about 6 inches and pause. Using 3X leaders/tippets is recommended as the strikes can be explosive. Most of the hex hatches occur near the Dam.

Yellow Creek was a special project undertaken by CalTrout, DFG, PG&E, and the Dye Creek Cattle Company to restore wild trout habitat, starting in 1976. Yellow Creek was known for large Brown trout in the ‘30’s through the ‘60’s. The fishing declined in the ‘70’s and was thought to be in poor shape through cattle use within the creekside areas. Split-rail fencing was erected throughout most of the Humbug Meadow in 1984-85. As a result, trout populations grew by more than 600% but the size of the trout remained small, possibly due to River Otters that moved into the valley after the cattle were removed. Most of the fish within the stream above the campground are Browns as the creek is rather skinny and meanders through the meadow. The creek is fed from mineral rich waters at Big Springs and the creek deepens below the campground eventually becoming a freestone stream as it enters the canyon below the meadow and has pocket water. This area usually hold rainbows. The nutrients from Big Springs create an abundant weed bed environment causing many types of hatches to occur. Hatches are prolific with mayflies, caddisflies and little yellow stoneflies. Blue Wing Olives hatch mainly in April and May, PMD's in June and July, Caddis from June through Sept., and Little Yellow Stoneflies in Sept. to October. In 2001-02, all cattle were removed and most of the cedar fence has also been dismantled. However, by 2003, Whirling disease was detected affecting all of the Rainbows. The population of Brookies expanded and the Browns were noticably reduced in size. As of 2019, most Browns and Brookies are in the 3-6 inch range. Most of Humbug Valley was granted to the Maidu Tribe in 2018 as a settlement with the PG&E bankruptcy. The tribe wants to return the creek to a native-only stream which means just Rainbow trout. Recommended flies are Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#16-18), Caddis patterns (#18-20), Parachute Adams (#18) , Ant and Grasshopper imitations for mid-summer, and Yellow Stoneflies in Sept/Oct. Yellow Creek has special regulations with a 0 fish limit since fish populations are low. Only artificial lures or flies may be used with barbless hooks. Season: Saturday preceding Memorial Day through the last day in February.

Heading south on Seneca Road from Lake Almanor, your first access to the NF Feather River is at the Seneca Bridge. The fish in this area are rainbows and browns in the 8-12 inch class. The river consists of pools and riffles, going either upstream or downstream, the fishing gets better. There are some Browns up to 20 inches in this area. Past the bridge, Seneca Road ends at Butt Valley Dam and a dirt road (27N26) connects Seneca Road to Belden Forebay at Caribou. This is also the location of Belden Forebay which covers about 40 acres with heavy overgrowth along the shores. The section of the NF Feather River between Belden Forebay and Lake Almanor is open from the First Saturday of April to Nov. 15th with no restrictions and a five fish limit. Belden Forebay was built in 1958 with a dam across the NF Feather. It serves as an afterbay for the Caribou powerhouse that empties into it. Within the forebay are Smallmouth Bass and Rainbow trout. Dept of Fish and Wildlife stocks the forebay with rainbows during the early part of the season. A fishing trail follows the river upstream from Caribou #1 Powerhouse. The first pool, immediately upstream of the powerhouse, is known to have some large rainbows.
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.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

North Fork Feather River from Lake Almanor to Belden Bridge:

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

Butt Creek:

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30th. 5 trout, no gear restrictions. Summer only angling to protect Spring and Fall Spawning.

Butt Valley Reservoir:

Open all Year. 2 trout per day, 4 trout in possession, no gear restrictions.

Butt Valley Reservoir powerhouse outfall, from the powerhouse, downstream to a marker adjacent to Ponderosa Flat Campground:

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. 2 trout per day, 4 trout in possession, no gear restrictions. Spring closure to protect spawning.

Yellow Creek from Big Springs downstream to the marker at the lower end of Humbug Meadow:

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through the last day in February. 0 Trout. Artificial lures with barbless hooks. Spring closure to protect spawning..

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


Butt Valley Reservoir at Ponderosa CG Upper NF Feather Lake Almanor Upper Butte Creek Quincy NF Feather BUtt Valley Reservoir at Cool Springs CG Yellow Creek Yellow Creek CG Rodgers Flat Three Lakes Silver Lake Gold Lake