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Whereto Dredge

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This section will give you an idea of what to look for in a dredging site to get the best chance of finding good gold.


Gold Is Where You Find It.


Everyone has probably heard that old saying. But gold, being 19 times heavier than water (see Gold Facts), is predictable in it's movement. It takes a LOT of water pressure to move gold, and any condition that decreases that water pressure is going to "drop" the gold at that spot.


Gold, especially larger pieces, "crawls" along the bottom of the river. The combination of the high specific gravity and agitation of surrounding materials drives it to the bottom. The bottom may be bedrock, or it may be a dense clay layer not churned up by the current. 


Gold tends to move in a straight line. It's not going to be "blown around" in the water. Of course when the river curves and changes direction, it will push the gold with it, but the gold will not be pushed around like regular rocks. 


As stated above, gold only moves when the water pressure is high enough to move it. Therefore, when looking for a place where gold tends to concentrate, you must consider how the river or creek looks at flood stage. Not just an average rain storm rise in the water. I mean a 100 year or more flood. 


If possible, get above the river and look down to see large portion of the river, and imagine what it would look like during that 100 year flood. Make a note on where the curves are in the course of the river (once again at flood stage). Look at the insides of two curves and draw an imaginary line connecting the two. This is the GUT of the river. The gut of the river is a good place to find gold.


Gut of the River.gif (108120 bytes)  

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The PAY STREAK of gold generally begins at the downriver side of an inside curve, and "fans out" on either side of the straight line drawn above. The closer you are to the curve, the narrower the pay streak will be. The farther away from the curve, the wider it will be. When dredging in a pay streak, you should monitor your recovery often to ensure you have not moved too far right or left of the pay streak.


Pay Streak.jpg (19728 bytes)

Click on picture to enlarge


Another good indication of just where the pay streak might be is looking for a line of boulders extending from one inside curve to another.


Take up a good vantage point at the tail end of an inside curve and look down river to the inside of the next curve. Look for a line of the largest boulders, starting near where your standing, extending in a generally straight line to that next inside curve. As a general rule of thumb, gold will follow these boulders, however, the pay streak may not be as wide as this line of boulders. Once again, continually monitoring the results of your dredging will determine if you have moved too far to the right or left of your pay streak.





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