Gold Prospecting: Looking for Gold in Rivers

Most gold found today by prospectors using sluice boxes will fall through eight mesh screens ( a screen with eight holes per square inch ) If you are in an area where larger gold has been found recently you may want to pan out the rocks that are left in your classifier after the smaller concentrates have been washed into the five gallon bucket.

I usually fill the bucket with water, this helps wash any gold bearing dirt off the rocks in the screen. Now
I pick out all the rocks larger than grapes and closely inspect all white quartz rocks as this is the most common carrier of gold. After all the larger rocks are out I either put the remaining rocks in the other bucket to pan or sluice later. If not to many, I will quickly pan them, but if I have more than one
quarter bucket I will wait until I have removed all the concentrates from my sluice at the end of the day, set the sluice at a little steeper angle and feed the rocks through the sluice. The steeper angle of the sluice allows the rocks to wash through and will leave any gold present in the first two riffles.

If I go a couple of days without finding any larger gold nuggets I will just quickly inspect the rocks in the screen and throw them out as you will probably get more gold by spending your precious time afield running as much material through your sluice as you can. 99% of the gold you find will fit through the eight mesh classifier. When its time to stop for lunch is when I usually clean the sluice box to see if the spot I am working has enough gold to make it worth my while to continue in this spot, this is for new spots only.

If I am working a spot that has paid off in the past, I will run the sluice all day and only clean up at the end of the day. Usually you can see gold accumulating on the corrugated rubber mat at the head of your sluice box, if I work for two or three hours and do not see any gold on the rubber mat I will do a clean up to make sure I am not wasting my time in an unproductive spot.I usually do my cleanups at home instead of in the field, this way I can maximize my time in the field, the more material you run through your
sluice the more gold you stand to find.

Most novices I have observed seem to want to clean up too often, this wastes your time that could be spent
getting gold. Do your cleanups at home instead of watching the TV. I have a place set up on the patio where I can sit comfortably and pan my con’s at a table, sure beats squatting down in the creek. At the end of the day I carefully lift my sluice and place the bottom end in one of my buckets, then I take it apart and put the mat in the bucket to rinse it out ( the bucket should be three quarters full of water ) now I take the dirt scoop and scoop water from the bucket and pour it down the sluice which is still in the bucket this washes all the rest of the cons down into the bucket. Now carefully pour the water out of the bucket, making sure no gold is floating on the surface of the water ( yes gold floats on the surface of the water ).
Put your sluice back together, gather all your tools and head for the barn.

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