Reading a river and finding a great spot to gold pan (or gold dredge)

The first step in gold panning, highbanking, gold dredging or any gold mining adventure is to pick your spot. In this article, we’ll go over the best spots to find gold and how to examine the river, creek or gold property that you have available to find the most gold!

There is a property of gold that you’ll hear over and over that’s very important in gold mining. That property is the specific gravity of gold! Gold is heavy and this property helps us find the elusive metal! Gold enters a creek or river from a lode vein outcrop and travels with the flow. Where it stops, “nobody knows”, but we can make a educated guess! Let’s look at a diagram of a river and discuss possible locations that gold might be found:

reading a river gold mining to find the best spot to gold pan or gold dredge

As you can see from the above diagram, the best locations to find gold in a gold bearing river or creek are around the inside bends and behind large obstructions such as boulders or bedrock protrusions. This is due to the fact that the water slows down on the inside bends causing heavy gravels and gold to fall out of the water stream. The same is true for large boulders pretty much anywhere in the river, they create natural riffles with a large pressure drop directly behind them. The gold is 19 times heavier than water, so the large boulders or bedrock protrusions drop the gold travelling in the gravels during heavy rains and flooding.

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Penelope Smith

This is some really good information gold panning. It is good to know that you should think about where to pan gold. It is good to know that bends in the river would be a good place to start.


Yeah, gold is where you find it, but where the river concentrates the heavy is good place to look.