Feather River Wildlife Area


The Feather River Wildlife Area is approximately 2,800 acres of dense riparian overstory of valley oaks and cottonwoods, with an understory of wild grape, pipevine, and California rose. This riparian habitat supports a wide variety of wildlife, including coyotes, river otters, ash-throated flycatchers, warblers, phoebes, and numerous waterfowl species. Abbott and O'Connor Lakes are within this area. The area includes six units: Abbot Lake, O'Connor Lakes, Star Bend, Nelson Slough, Lake of the Woods, and Shanghai Bend.

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

Recreational Opportunities

fishing  Boat Ramp Wildlife Viewing Deer Hunting Waterfowl Hunting Turkey Hunting Quail Hunting Hunting with Shotguns Bow Hunting

Activities: fishing, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and seasonal hunting

Some areas are only accessible by boat.

Hunting: Game species include deer, rabbit, tree squirrel, waterfowl, wild turkey, pheasant, quail, and dove.

Type C: Feather River Wildlife Area including the Abbott Lake, Lake of the Woods, Nelson Slough, O'Connor Lakes, Shanghai Bend, and Star Bend Units do not require the purchase of a hunting pass for entry. Entry permits and/or passes or special drawing may be required for hunting on some Type C wildlife areas.

Facilities: None

NOTE: Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations pertaining to the use of Department lands.

Refer to the Public Uses on State and Federal Lands section of the Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF) booklet for both statewide and property-specific regulations.

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You may not operate a drone on CDFW Lands without a Special Use Permit.

Area History

The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1991.

Lake of the Woods Unit – The property used to belong to the State Reclamation Board. In 1974, Valley Land and Cattle Company filed suit over the loss of several acres of pear orchard. The contention was that seepage under the levee from excess agricultural water draining into the north borrow ditch was causing root rot. The next year, a new drainage ditch was constructed and the Lake of the Woods and the north borrow ditch no longer held water as well as they once did. In 1988 it was noted that the acreage in question was still not dry enough to grow an orchard. A letter was sent to Valley Land and Cattle requesting that they join with the Department to improve the damaged wetlands.

Star Bend Unit – Prior to 1988, the property was open to vehicle access and a major trash dumping site. Trash and abandoned vehicles were removed from the property and a barricade was built to prevent vehicle access.

Nelson Slough Unit – According to past landowners, the Department of Water Resources cleared portions of the area for flood control purposes up to about 1964. In 1979, the landowner cleared a stand of mature riparian habitat and leveled it for rice. The area of this upstream of the easement canal received so much flood damage and silt shortly after it was cleared that agricultural use was abandoned. Portions of the area downstream of the canal grew rice as late as 1988.

Abbott Lake / O’Connor Lake Units – Two parcels had a well-developed Great Valley Cottonwood Riparian Forest / Great Valley Mixed Riparian Forest in 1984. According to a former owner, one of these parcels had been farmed up to about 1975. The other had never been farmed. Another parcel, purchased in 1985, had recently been cleared for orchard development.

Map of Feather River WA - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


North Central Region (Region 2)

Sutter and Yuba counties

10 miles south of Marysville and Yuba City on the Feather River

Access: Access from Star Bend fishing access on Feather River Blvd.

Unit Maps: Abbott Lake, O'Connor Lakes and Star Bend (PDF)(opens in new tab) | Lake of the Woods (PDF)(opens in new tab) | Nelson Slough (PDF)(opens in new tab)

Topographic Maps: Abbott Lake (PDF)(opens in new tab) | O'Connor Lakes/Star Bend (PDF)(opens in new tab) | Nelson Slough (PDF)(opens in new tab) | Lake of the Woods (PDF)(opens in new tab)

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