The Challenge Of Prospecting
Beginning prospectors often have the misguided idea that they can just walk out in the stream and find gold. But, if it was that easy to find gold then we would all be millionaires. Dredging for gold takes a specific set of skills and know-how to produce a large yield. The main thing you need to know is where to dredge for gold. Streams will tell you a story, if you let them. A stream will tell you where it’s been, where it’s going, and where it will go. By learning to listen and examine streams and rivers you will be able to find the best places to dredge for gold.
By following a stream on a map, or even better, in person, you can look for areas that have a higher amount of gold. These are the areas where you need to dredge if you want to recover the highest yield possible.
Gold is naturally 19 times heavier than water, causing gold to sink to the bottom of streams and rivers. In areas with a strong current the gold is drug across the bottom, but when the current slows, the gold will settle. This is where you dredge.
Areas Where Gold Settles
- Elevation Changes – When the elevation drops in streams and rivers it forms a pool at the bottom of the drops, gold often settles in these pools.
- Bends – When water goes around curves it slows. When it slows the water pressure may not be high enough to move gold any further down river.
- Obstructions – Obstructions in the water, such as boulders, can slow the water current causing the gold to settle.
- Sides of the River – Don’t just mine the stream. Water currents that push against beaches usually have lower water pressure allowing the gold to settle. Floods can also push gold up to the shore.
- Mouth of the River – When the river enters into a lake the gold tends to settle immediately from the lack of strong water pressure.
By looking for these areas you can increase your chances of striking it rich.
Investigating where to dredge for gold involves more than looking over the river, you must know its unique mining history over the past several years.
If certain areas of the stream are famous for turning out low yields you simply do not want to mine there. Talking to other prospectors is the best way to find out which areas are successful.
Gold clubs provide a unique venue where you can meet and have discussions with other prospectors. This can give you insight into the specific rivers, or simply provide a chance to share mining techniques.