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Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area

Description

The Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area is approximately 9,600 acres and consists of three units: Llano Seco, Howard Slough, and Little Dry Creek. It is located within the Butte Basin, a low-lying area extending from the Sacramento River south and east to the Butte Creek drainage and southward to include the Butte Sink.

Historically, this basin consisted of a braided network of sloughs, channels, and oxbows resulting from the meanderings of the Sacramento River and Butte Creek, and comprised a significant portion of the wetland habitat available for wintering migratory birds. Today it is still considered one of the finest wetland habitat complexes in North America. The Wildlife Area was created to protect and/or restore some of these historical wetlands.

For more information, call the area at (530) 982-2169 or the North Central Region Rancho Cordova office at (916) 358-2900.


Recreational Opportunities

Fishing Wildlife Viewing Deer Hunting Waterfowl Hunting Pheasant Hunting Hunting with Shotguns Disabled Access - call for details

PLEASE NOTE: For information on public use regulations for this area and other Department lands, refer to the link opens in new windowCDFW Public Lands Regulations. All visitors are responsible for knowing and following these regulations.

During winter months the wildlife area may be periodically closed due to flooding. Please check the Wildlife Area Closure Alerts link below for further information.

Activities: fishing, wildlife viewing, bird watching, sightseeing, and hunting

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset. The Wildlife Area is open New Year's Day and closed on Christmas when that day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Wednesday.

Hunting Opportunities

Type A Wildlife Area - Restricted hunter access during waterfowl season. A hunting pass must be purchased in advance and exchanged for an entry permit.

Passes: A Type A daily, two-day, or Type A season pass is required. The check station does NOT sell these. Passes are sold where hunting licenses are sold. There is no fee for junior hunting license holders or non-shooters.

Daily Hunter Capacity

  • Howard Slough: up to 81 adults, with refills.
  • Llano Seco: total of 78 hunters, with refills.
  • Little Dry Creek: up to 96 adults, with refills in free roam only.

At least one hunting blind for the mobility impaired is available on each unit.  A Department of Motor Vehicles ID card is required to use the blind.

Authorized game includes deer, rabbits, waterfowl, coots, moorhens, snipe, dove, pheasants, and fall turkeys. (Fall turkey is open annually at the regional manager's discretion. Please check with wildlife area staff prior to fall turkey season.)

Spring Turkey Hunting Maps:

Waterfowl Hunting Maps:

Dove Hunting Maps:

*Special Closure: Dove hunting on the Little Dry Creek Unit is only allowed east of Little Dry Creek.*

No high shooting or skyscraping - give decoy hunters a wide berth. Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated.

Hunt Permits

Each area fills the quota in this order: reservations, lottery, then first-come, first-served. If a lottery number is called and the hunter(s) fail to show at the check station window, they will be removed from the list. If they show after their number has been called, and still wish to hunt, they will be placed at the bottom of the first-come, first-served list.

Reservations: For information on applying for waterfowl reservation drawings, refer to Reservations & Passes on the Waterfowl Hunting page.

Lotteries: Lotteries are held at all three units. The lottery for both Howard Slough and Little Dry Creek units is held the night before each hunt date. Check station personnel open the station to conduct the lottery. To participate, a hunter must be present with their hunting licenses when the lottery card is filled out. An individual’s name may only appear on one card per day. Numbers are issued between 6pm and 8pm, and a computer is used to randomly determine the order applicants are placed on the list. The station then closes until the next morning, two hours before shoot time.

The process at Llano Seco unit is the same, however numbers are issued beginning at 4am on the hunt day, and the order is compiled at 4:30am. The station closes at 3pm.

First-come, First-served: First-come, first-served (sweat line) lists are established the morning of each hunt day. Hunters that do not have a reservation, and do not participate in the lottery, can ask to be placed on this list.

All hunters must carry their daily permit in the field. Permits must be returned to the check station and hunting results reported before leaving area.

Area History

Over time the Butte Sink ecosystem has been profoundly altered by human activity. Beginning in the mid 1800’s the adverse effects of hydraulic mining were prevalent, and tremendous accumulation of sediment in rivers and on floodplains occurred downstream of the mining. The demand for additional fertile land led to the implementation of large-scale reclamation and flood control projects to protect and enhance private lowlands.

More recently, the majority of lands adjacent to the Butte Sink were developed for grazing and farming. Prior to acquisition by the Department in 1988, some lands that are now within the boundaries of the wildlife area were converted from seasonal wetlands with riparian corridors to agricultural lands predominately for commercial rice production. The Department’s goals were to restore habitat for wetland-dependent species and to develop riparian habitat corridors along Butte Creek. The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1991.


Last update : 2/15/2017 4:11:45 PM


Wildlife Branch - Lands Program
1812 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-0411


Map of Upper Butte Basin WA

Click to enlarge


Location

North Central Region (Region 2)

Butte & Glenn Counties

headquarters is located approximately 11 miles west of Highway 99 on Highway 162

Access:

Llano Seco: From Highway 99 north of Gridley, take Highway 162 west approximately 13 miles to Z Road. Go north on Z Road approximately 7 miles. When Z Road crosses into Butte County, it becomes Seven Mile Lane. The check station is located approximately 100 yards north of the intersection of Seven Mile Lane and Nelson Road.

Howard Slough: The unit straddles Highway 162. The check station is one mile north of Highway 162 on Zz Road.

Little Dry Creek: The unit is between the Biggs-Afton Road and the Gridley-Colusa Highway. Access to the check station is off the Colusa-Gridley Highway approximately 11 miles west of Gridley.

Please observe all road closed signs, drive slowly, and with caution. Park at designated parking lots.

Unit Maps:

CDFW Lands Viewer