Steelhead are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and need your help. Handle fish carefully, keep them in the water as much as possible, and release them immediately. Butte Creek steelhead are limited by the same factors as spring run salmon, low water and impassable dams. Rearing habitat for steelhead and yearling salmon in the low flow section is seriously constrained by low water and high temperature. Steelhead have no problem passing Quartz Bowl in higher flows but are almost completely blocked by Centerville Head Dam owned and operated by PG&E. Juvenile trout migrating down from above Centerville are entrained in the unscreened diversion severely limiting the population downstream. There have been no mitigations for these losses.
Michael Smith holds a Butte Creek beauty! The 2006-07 season was slow at best. Hopefully next year PGE will return the trapped fish from the Centerville flume to the lower creek. Watch the release.
The '05-'06 season is over and there were lots of fish this year when the creek was fishable. In the first two weeks, guide Allen Harthorn landed 11 out of 16 hookups. Most fish have been smaller rainbows but several fish were in the 17-20" range with one 23" leapingThe last two weeks revealed a very different stream after several extreme flow events. Fish were in good shape and well fed. Their appetites changed during the high flows and were keying in on streamers more and more. Here's one (22") more caught on the same streamer as the early one.
The 04-05 season was a big disappointment to most anglers. Numbers were down and size was down. If anyone had good luck please let us know. Some memorable fish were caught like this 20.5 bright, fat fish while giving flyfishing lessons to the Stephens boys. In general, a one fish day was good, especially ones like this.
The 03-04 season had lots of good fishing. Steelhead returns have been good on most rivers and Butte Creek was no exception. (see press release) Several nice fish up to 22" have were recorded. This 18" hog was caught Nov. 18th on a globug.
The 01-02 season, steelhead fishing was generally considered better than 00-01 as anglers learned the techniques and stream characteristics. The largest fish we recorded was a 21" beauty caught on a nymph just above the Skyway by visiting fly fishing guide Tim Hutchins from Yosemite.
The 00-01 (the first year open after six years) record was a 25" buck caught by Russ Collar above the Covered Bridge. The lower shot was of a 20" hog caught in the Helltown area by local guide Allen Harthorn.