Lake Oroville Update - June 21, 2024


An aerial view shows high water conditions at the Bidwell Canyon Marina, Bidwell Bar Bridge can be seen in the background, located at Lake Oroville in Butte County, California. Photo taken May 9, 2024.

CAL FIRE Butte County crews monitor a controlled burn in the Thermalito Forebay area to minimize invasive and dried grasses.

Lake Oroville Operations

With warm temperatures here to stay in Northern California, runoff into Lake Oroville from snowmelt has significantly dwindled with outflows currently exceeding inflows. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) continues to meet water delivery and environmental requirements while optimizing water storage to allow for carryover storage into next year.  


Releases from Oroville Dam’s main spillway ceased in May with water being routed through the Hyatt Powerplant for power generation. When the main spillway is not in use, water may still be seen on the main spillway outlet as the seals on the eight radial gates are not designed to be watertight. The gate seals do not play a role in the structural integrity of the gates, which continue to operate as intended. Visitors to Oroville Dam may also notice minor amounts of water flowing from drains built into the emergency spillway. This is normal and expected given the emergency spillway design. The dam and emergency spillway continue to operate as intended.


The information below reflects current reservoir level estimates. Forecasts can change quickly and may affect the estimates provided.


  • Current Oroville Reservoir Level: 895 feet elevation 
  • Current Storage Capacity: 98 percent  
  • Total Releases to the Feather River: 4,500 cubic feet per second (cfs)


Total releases to the Feather River amount to 4,500 cfs with 1,200 cfs being routed down the Low Flow Channel through the City of Oroville. An additional 3,300 cfs is being released from the Thermalito Afterbay River Outlet, located 5 miles downstream from Oroville. DWR continues to assess Feather River releases daily.


As the largest storage facility in the State Water Project, Lake Oroville helps provide water to 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland, while providing flood protection to downstream communities along with environmental and recreation benefits.


Fourth of July in Oroville

Celebrate our nation’s independence on July 4 with a spectacular fireworks show at the North Thermalito Forebay Recreation Area located off Garden Drive in Oroville. This year’s display starts 30 minutes after sunset and has two primary viewing locations: North Thermalito Forebay and the Nelson Sports Complex.


The North Thermalito Forebay Recreation Area opens at 8 a.m. with an $8 entrance fee. Popular for sailing and paddlesports, the North Thermalito Forebay day use area hosts non-motorized boating with a swim beach, a large picnic area with barbecue grills, and abundant shade trees. This area also has restroom facilities and drinking fountains. Open for Independence Day festivities, the Forebay Aquatic Center offers a wide range of rental equipment, from kayaks and canoes, to hydrobikes and pedal boats, which can be rented by the hour or day. North Forebay visitors are required to be off the water by sunset.


The Nelson Sports Complex opens at 4:30 p.m. to reserve a prime spot for fireworks viewing. There is no entrance fee at this facility with festivities including food trucks, music, and vendors. Visitors are encouraged to bring coolers, picnic baskets, blankets, or lawn chairs. However, alcohol, glass containers, and pets are not permitted during Fourth of July celebrations.


DWR and the Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) provide resources and support for this City of Oroville/Oroville Chamber of Commerce event. More information about July 4 fireworks can be found at

Oroville Recreation

DWR, State Parks, and CDFW maintain over 92 miles of trails in the Oroville area. An interactive map of recreation facilities, including open trails and their permitted uses (hike, bike, horse, multi), is available on DWR’s Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. A paper trail map is available at various locations, including most entrance kiosks and the Lake Oroville Visitor Center.


Staffed by knowledgeable guides, the Visitor Center features interpretive displays on Oroville Dam, area geology, wildlife and habitat, hydroelectric power, and cultural and historical artifacts. View videos in the theater about the construction of Oroville Dam, walk or hike along nearby trails, and visit the 47-foot-tall observation tower that provides unsurpassed panoramic views of surrounding areas. Free guided tours for school and community groups are available by reservation. Parking and admission to the Visitor Center are free.


Lake Oroville is one of the State Water Project’s premier recreational destinations and one of California’s best fishing spots. The lake provides both warm-water and cold-water fisheries and is a popular destination for bass tournaments.  The marinas at Bidwell Canyon and Lime Saddle are open daily and provide a variety of services including a convenience store, gas, and boat rentals. Below the Oroville Dam, the Thermalito Afterbay and the Feather River offer additional excellent fishing opportunities.


Upstream migrating fish totals through the Feather River Fish Monitoring Station between January 1 and June 13 are:  

  • Spring-run Chinook salmon: 5,776
  • Steelhead: 876
  • Due to higher flows in the low-flow channel of the Feather River between February 26 and March 18, some fish swam over the monitoring station and were not counted in upstream migration totals.


Current Lake Operations

Lake Oroville is at 895 feet elevation and storage is approximately 3.47 million acre-feet (MAF), which is 98 percent of its total capacity and 127 percent of the historical average.


Feather River flows are at 1,200 cfs through the City of Oroville with 3,300 cfs being released from the Thermalito Afterbay River Outlet (Outlet) for a total Feather River release of 4,500 cfs downstream. DWR continues to assess Feather River releases daily.


The public can track precipitation, snow, reservoir levels and more at the California Data Exchange Center. The Lake Oroville gage station is identified as “ORO.”


All data as of midnight 6/20/2024.