How to Find Gold in Streams


Hunting for gold provides excitement and, if you are lucky, a supplemental income. After some time, your panning can turn up hundreds, even thousands of dollars worth of gold (and you can even enjoy wearing jewelry made from the gold you found). Do your research, however. Panning for gold also requires a certain amount of patience and expertise. Once you find a spot to pan, it just takes a few supplies to start your own personal gold rush.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 gold pans
  • Stool or foldable chair
  • Tweezers
  • Glass vials
  • Fill a pan three-quarters of the way to the top with silt from the banks of your stream.

  • Remove all large rocks and pebbles.

  • Submerge your pan in 6-inch-deep, flowing water, according to the website of the New '49ers, a gold prospectors club. Break up the silt and remaining rocks using your fingers. Break apart all clumps of material with your fingers. The point is to make sure that all of your silt is moist and in the form of the smallest particle possible.

  • Move your pan vigorously back and forth, making sure that the entire pan remains submerged but close to the surface of the water. Shake with enough force to remove excess silt, but not enough force to remove everything from the pan.

    Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until a layer of rocks forms on the surface.

  • Clean all clay off of the surface rocks so that the clay falls back into your pan. Remove the rocks from your pan.

  • Repeat Steps 3 through 5 until you remove all large- and medium-size rocks from your pan.

  • Remove your pan from the water. Tilt the forward edge of the pan downward and enter the remaining material into the water. Continue shaking (this time more gently) back and forth, to remove fine silt. Try to remove only a small amount of fine silt at a time.

  • Push the whole pan under the water (without losing any materials) and shake the pan to remove any remaining silt.

  • Repeat Steps 7 and 8 until you see black or purple material at the bottom of the pan. According to the New '49ers, this black and purple material is heavy in iron, causing it to sink to the bottom of the pan during shaking. Look for flecks of gold in the dark material.

  • Remove all magnetic sand with your magnet so that the sand sticks to your magnet.

  • Brush, with your hand, the magnetic sand into another pan. Swirl the pan with magnetic sand around and then use your magnet to pick up the magnetic sand again. Perform this step in order to find any gold trapped by the magnetic sand.

  • Remove the gold from your two pans using tweezers. Place the gold into your glass vials.


  • Photo Credit Aaron Graubart/Photodisc/Getty Images
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