Thing to Do

Fish Butte Lake

Two women fishing from a row boat on a lake backed by a lava flow and a volcanic peak.
Two women fishing in Butte Lake in 1941.

NPS History Collection / George A. Grant

Butte Lake is located in the remote, northeastern corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park at 6,053 feet of elevation. The lake appears strikingly blue against the black lava that lines most of its shore. Often the water is crystal clear from top to bottom. The lake is not stocked, however fish stocking did occur in the park through the early 1990s. Today, rainbow trout are the most common fish caught in Butte Lake. Learn more about fishing in the park.


 A California State fishing license is required. Visitors are responsible for knowing all fishing regulations prior to fishing in the park. Non-living bait is not permitted in Butte Lake.


Kayaks, canoes, waders, and float tubes are commonly used. Only non-motorized boats are permitted (boats may not carry or use a motor). All watercraft must be launched from the boat launch to prevent damage to the shoreline. 

Recommended Gear

Fish in Butte Lake tend to be on the smaller side, with the occasional 12-inch to 14-inch fish. Lures are a good alternative to non-living bait. Panther-Martin style lures are good for rainbows and browns. For fishing with a rod and reel it is recommended that clear six-pound test line or smaller be used. At times the lake is crystal clear, and fish can see heavier line. A light spinning reel and nimble rod are a good choice for casting long distances and a sporting fight. For fly fishing, a six- weight rod is recommended with a length of 9 to 10.5 feet. Most flies will work, however a few popular flies that work throughout the park are:

  • Callibaetis (#16-18)                  
  • Damsel Nymph (#14)
  • Parachute Adams (#14-20)
  • Traditional Adams (#16-20)
  • Callibaetis Cripple (#14-16)
  • Carpenter Ant (#14-16)
  • Bouface brown (#10)
  • Monroe leech, olive (#10)

Fly-fishing and rod and reel fishing.

Pets are limited to the parking area. Learn more about visiting the park with a pet.

Additional pet regulations:

  • Pets must be on a leash less than six feet long at all times.
  • Pets can be left unattended in vehicles. However, if hazardous conditions exist, such as hot weather, owners can be cited for endangering an animal.
  • Pets can not be left unattended AND tied to an object, except in designated areas or under conditions which may be established by the superintendent.
  • Please clean up after your pet and take responsibility for its behavior.

An entrance fee or valid pass is required to enter Lassen Volcanic National Park. There is no fee to fish in the park.

Butte Lake is located in the remote, northeast corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The day use area is a 45-minute drive from the Northwest Entrance and Manzanita Lake Area and is accessed via the 6-mile-long Butte Lake Road south of highway 44. Butte Lake Road is closed due to snow in the winter months, approximately November through May.

There are no reservations for park entrance or for fishing.

The day use area is accessible in the summer months, approximately June through October. 

Accessibility Information

ADA parking spaces are available in the Butte Lake day use area. Access to the lake is sloped downhill on dirt. A loop provides access to the boat launch, which is slightly sloped, hard-packed dirt. Service animals assisting a person with a disability everywhere visitors are permitted. A service animal, as described by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) performs a specific task for a disabled person.

Last updated: April 20, 2021