Sep 20, 2012, 06:55 AM
Big River Dredging Need Advice & Survival Tips
Up till now my sons and I have concentrated our efforts in smaller rivers and streams and have had good success and tons of fun. We have done some scouting and found a few big rivers we want to start dredging. One river has a dam which regularly releases water which quickly changes the depth and current, the other two go up and down with rainfall. The 1st river with the dam doesn't offer easy in and outs, traveling up or down to dredging locations is required. We want to safely dredge this river and would like to learn as much as possible from those with experience. Please share your thoughts and advice to help us prepare.
Sep 20, 2012, 07:21 AM
im assuming youll be leaveing your dredge in the water on the hard to access river location. so with that in mind, id tie off your dredge with lots of extra rope to allow for the rivers up/down heights to keep from sinking your dredge.plus i dont know how the enviros act there in NC so id also keep it somewhat hidden and chained up to keep from loseing it to the wacos!plus id checkout land/river ownership to keep a pzed off landowner from damaging your dredge. other than that, look for a point to float your dredge in/out for daily dredge removeale! or find a property owner that boarders this river and seek permission to camp/dredge along his property line......
Sep 20, 2012, 07:58 AM
In this river depending on how many gates they open it is possible ( but not fun) to use a canoe and tow the dredge upstream to get back out. Banks are vertical ten feet plus and there are places one could wait till gates close in the afternoon. Down stream easy out is 4 to 5 miles away. Gates are opened during the day only. We are considering dredging thru the late afternoon and into the night with lights and leaving before they open the gates in the morning. We also wondered about using a flat bottom boat w/motor. But we are on a lean budget.
Sep 20, 2012, 08:36 AM
You need a lifetime of dredging experience to dredge that particuliar set of circumstances and could post continuously for a year and not list half the needed info. Sorry but your engaging in dangerous folly and I do NOT want any more bodies on my conscience. Dredged the Rucky Chuckies out here in kalif and saw too many deaths,SF american also as I sold my claim to a bud Larry-told him no no no-first day and deader than a dog and feeding the crawdads...John
Sep 20, 2012, 11:57 AM
I repect you words as they sound as though they come from hard learned experiences. There are many people dredging this river under normal water conditions it looks like a rock garden and working is normal, under one gate working is still ok. The trick as we have been told is to know the release times and get out of the way.
Sep 20, 2012, 12:36 PM
The major problem I see is those gates are controlled by either computer or man,neither to be trusted!I was dredging a timid river once and a monsoon,many miles away hit.......the water level came up 4' in a matter of minutes and I damn near lost everything,the only thing that made me come up was the increased current...had I not,the dredge would have went down,I had it tied off hard and fast.It dislodged boulders that I couldnt hand winch!.....I dredge alone too
M.X.T , Tesoro Tejon
"A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens."
Sep 20, 2012, 02:24 PM
Was dredging a medium size creek in Idaho years ago and a bunch of forest service trucks went by, without so much as a howdy and I actually got a dirty look, and later while I was dredging my hole started to get dirty. Took a few minuted to determine that it wasn't me stirring up the silt and the hole wasn't clearing. Seems they blew some beaver dams upstream. I almost lost my dredge and everything else I had in the water. If I hadn't had some other people with me to help get things out of the water I would have lost stuff. Anyway, things can get out of hand in a real hurry. Doug.
Sep 20, 2012, 04:19 PM
Better be careful , shay and several others sunk there dredges there and almost drowned. when they release the water can jump up several feet in minutes.
no matter where you go,there you are!
Sep 24, 2012, 11:02 AM
Thanks for the advice,
One of Shay's friends you spoke of and my partner are in it today and I am waiting for their report on how it was. We did manage to secure land owner permission and have come up with a number of safety ideas to protect ourselves and our equipement. We checked out our sites over the weekend and the water was up and I can truly say anyone caught in the main current would be dead unless they could make it into a boat in time. Have you dredged there? What did you think about the risk/reward?
Sep 24, 2012, 04:55 PM
I have never been there ,I stay in Ga. the risk is high , reward moderate at best . Some of them did o.k.
no matter where you go,there you are!
Sep 25, 2012, 12:52 AM
Hey TRIAD49ER, I dont know which river system you are talking about but I can tell you about four people that drowned in the Pee Dee River dredging for gold. This was quite a few years back, I think late seventies. They were on the Pee Dee River several miles below the Blewett Falls Dam. They were getting gas money and that was about it. The gates were suppose to open at certain times, however, if something was going on somewhere else and the need for power generation was to come into play then there was no warning and she opened up. These guys were in the river and that was that. I think they found the first body five miles downriver and the other three were never recovered that I remember. Most of the dams still operate this way in NC. I use to fish for stripers at the dam and when she opened up is was only seconds that the water was ten to twelve feet up all the way across, and the Pee Dee is a very wide river. John has dredged some rough places in his life and I would listen to his advice. Just my thoughts, TRINITYAU/RAYMILLS
Sep 26, 2012, 01:19 PM
Thank you for the advice, our team has been in there two days now and have no doubts they repect this river now more than before. My son and I have not yet been able to get down there, but we are hoping to. There are a few safe ways to tackle this beast when you have land owner permission 99.9% of the dredgers there don't have.
Sep 26, 2012, 06:56 PM
Gold is not worth losing you life.
Oct 01, 2012, 11:00 AM
Team alive and well, moderate gold located, safety measures worked well. bed rock in area washed off nothing there. Center channel gravel beds place to be. Bigger risk bigger reward. Have scouted further south and located additional sites, will let you folks know.
Dec 26, 2012, 10:23 PM
If its a damned river land owner do t own it it belongs to the corp of engineers
I dredge in some simlar areas and I find it. Best to be 5 miles or more down river from the dam
It gives the river water time to level out and I often look forward to the water it helps clear things up
Also find much better gold further down the river where there's more gravels and hard pack
Good luck and be careful
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