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Finding Gold and Related Issues


Tip #1

Look for gold where it has been found before. Doing research in off-peak season times is an excellent way to increase the odds of finding gold the first time out. There is no sense in wasting time looking for gold in an area that is known for NOT having any gold. 


Tip #2

In rivers, gold will concentrate in areas where the water pressure decreases. But, gold moves when the water pressure is high. Therefore, imagine what the water flow would look like AT FLOOD STAGE, then look for areas where the water pressure would decrease. Typical areas would be in front of large boulders, on the insides of curves, along the banks, etc. (Also see Where to Dredge)


Tip #3

Stand at the "upriver end of an inside curve" on the river. Look up river to the previous curve, which should be on the opposite side of the river (but sometimes on the same side). Draw an imaginary line from where your standing to the upriver curve. Look for a line of large boulders that extends from where your standing to the upriver curve. Dredge this line of boulders, checking to see when your in the paystreak.(Also see Where to Dredge)


Tip #4

When dredging a section of the river that has deep bedrock, work the clay layers as if they were bedrock. Generally, gold will be located within the top 6" of a clay layer. If you punch through farther than this, you will have to go to the top of the next clay layer. (Also see Where to Dredge)


Tip #5

Look for areas where bedrock is shallow, and look for areas that will trap gold; cracks, rough or broken bedrock, and large boulders. Always look for places that would have decreased water pressure at flood stage.(Also see Where to Dredge)


Tip #6

To find areas of shallower bedrock (compared to other areas of the river) when exposed bedrock cannot be seen, look up both sides of the canyon for exposed rock jutting out from the surrounding terrain directly across from each other. Draw an imaginary line down one side and up the other, joining the two outcroppings. . Where this line crosses the river is the area of shallowest bedrock. (Also see Where to Dredge)


Tip #7

Due to the weight of gold, it tends to settle "down." So, look down into natures riffles. The cracks in the flat rock which forms the creek or river bottom may be scraped out with a screwdriver, knife, tooth brush and the like.

Submitted By: Panhandler Vance, Territorial Gold mine Virginia City NV.


Tip #8

The "down stream" side of rocks and boulders are where gold will settle out of the current and is a good spot to dig for color.

Submitted By: Panhandler Vance, Territorial Gold mine Virginia City NV.


Tip #9

Weeds also grow out of the cracks in bed rock, so don't forget to pull weeds and wash the dirt from their roots into your pan! Some folks like to collect dirt from such places and take it home to pan later.

Submitted By: Panhandler Vance, Territorial Gold mine Virginia City NV.


Tip #10

Legally, I'm told, you must have a permit to use gold prospecting equipment if it is powered. As it is not considered recreation if you use powered machinery. But anything manually powered is recreation.

Submitted By: Panhandler Vance, Territorial Gold mine Virginia City NV.

Thanks for the above tips, Vance. However, on tip #10, the law varies from state to state. In Washington, you MUST possess a "Gold & Fish Book" produced by the WA Dept of Fish & Game for any recreational prospecting, including panning. Also, ALL prospecting (mineral or otherwise) is now illegal on ALL state lands. Thanks for nothing WA Department of Natural Resources. 

Mark Prewitt

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