Help me buy a dredge and find a place to use it
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  1. #1

    Dec 2018
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    112 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Help me buy a dredge and find a place to use it

    I bought an ancient cheap $200 backpacking dredge and had a blast playing with it. Got to play with it while on scuba and fell in love with the combination of two of my hobbies into one. Now I'm considering a real one.


    My house sale looks like it's going through soon and I might just have to treat myself. The only issue is I live in California so I will have to find a place to go.


    2? 2.5? 3? If I get one with a compressor can I cruise around underwater for as long as I have fuel and run it by myself?



    Is there a place in the Pacific Northwest I could go take trips to an actually recover a decent amount of gold if I put some time in? I think I remember reading an article about some guys dredging in the Salmon river in Idaho and getting like half a pound. I don't want to invest a few thousand dollars on one and continue getting a gram or two a day. Where are some good areas to go that are public and dredge in Idaho,Nevada, Etc? I don't care how bad the water is.
    Last edited by Wilderness medic; Oct 25, 2019 at 09:24 PM.

  2. #2
    us
    Oct 2009
    9,020
    8258 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I cant help you with a location for use, but I can give you some pointers for buying equipment.

    First, buy the biggest dredge you can move (or legally use where you decide on). If you get a 2" youll wish you bought a 3, and if you buy a 3 youll wish you bought a 4. Volume of material processed increases logarithmically as you increase the size of dredge. You also NEED one with air. Otherwise you will be limited to working as deep as you can reach from the surface. Trust me, its so much better to able to be right there with the nozzle and sort cobbles before you suck up a "blade" that will almost instantly jamb up your hose.

    Bigger equipment of course is heavier, more awkward, more difficult to get moved into place and reloaded to your vehicle. I have to disassemble my 4" and carry it in pieces and then reassemble it on the river bank.

    Regardless of the dredge you choose, you are going to need a LOT more stuff to go with it. 5gal gas can for moving fuel, 2 gal gas can for refueling, wetsuits, gloves, scuba boots (or old boots if the water isnt too cold), mask, probably a hood, weight belt and BIG weights. Non of that caribbean diving 3 pound shot weights. You arent trying to be nuetral, you need to be anchored to the bottom. I use 60-70 pounds of lead with my 7mil wetsuit. You need 10# lead weights, and likely 2 belts to make it all fit. You also need a cleanout tub (concrete tubs work great), lot of buckets for hauling cons, a couple gold pans for sampling your cons and tailings, bucket screens to classify your cons. (there no point in carrying 50 pounds of waste rock thats too big for gold in your area). A heavy duty 2-wheel dolly or game cart to haul thing like engines and heavy cons buckets up/down hills and over distances. A milk crate or 2 are helpful for sitting on as well as moving cobbles in your dredge hole.

    edit to add- almost forgot you will also need anchors and lines. I recommend a couple T-posts (and a post setter) and a couple of 50 foot ropes for tying off your dredge to your anchors.

    then of course, depending on your dredge choice and vehicle you may need a trailer to haul everything in.
    Last edited by Jason in Enid; Oct 25, 2019 at 11:17 PM.

  3. #3

    May 2005
    St. Louis, missouri
    5,869
    4506 times
    Reed Lukens had a very good post on buying a used dredge and is worth the time to look for it OR maybe Reed will re-post it for you. And I agree with Jason's reply on getting one as big as you can move by yourself with air. I really liked my 4 inch dredge.

  4. #4

    Dec 2018
    68
    112 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thanks for the trips. Luckily I already have a truckload of dive gear and fuel cans.

    Do you actually hammer T posts into the river to tie off to? I guess to get it out you’d just dredge around it so it wouldn’t be too hard to remove?

    I think besides T posts I’m already set on gear minus the dredge.


    Definitely will get one with air then. I guess now I’m just torn between 3 or 4 inch and which model. Keenes site isn’t too clear on the differences between models outside having air compressor or not.


    The 4” just looks so massive and hard to get around.


    I forgot to add I may be moving close to Boise. It looks like a lot of the rivers around there have a lot of open dredging potential.


    Do most public land dredgers with a good 3/4” dredge get at least several grams a day on average or are we still talking about multiple 8 hour days for a pennyweight or two?

  5. #5
    us
    Oct 2009
    9,020
    8258 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilderness medic View Post
    .....

    Do you actually hammer T posts into the river to tie off to? I guess to get it out you’d just dredge around it so it wouldn’t be too hard to remove?

    ......
    Yep. Some times it can take a few attempts because you hit boulder before you get deep enough. Its not like setting a t-post in the ground, it pulls out really easy. When you set it, make sure it has a back-slant and tie off around the base.

    If you have other options, such a trees or boulders, use those first. There will be lots of time where those dont work though.

  6. #6
    us
    Mine President, XPBC, GIH, stamp mill operator, snuffer bottle owner.

    Dec 2013
    Arcata, California
    Fisher 1212-x Fisher Gold Bug 2 Whites 4900/SP3 Rocker boxes, Keene sluices, Bazooka sluice, 2.5", 4" lowbankers, highbankers. Witch Sticks.
    735
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    Get a 4" its about as big as I'd go one person dredging. As far as locations in California find a spot out of the way and pack it in.

  7. #7
    us
    Nov 2010
    High Rockies
    GB2
    106
    112 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Lot's of good info here.
    Make sure the t-post is banged down secure. Can be a pain to get out but always comes out eventually. The last thing you want is your dredge floating away while you are underwater!
    Honestly you have been spoiled by 1-2 grams days farting around in CA.

    I'm talking outside of the West Coast here:
    A majority of prospectors in the states average less than a 1/4 gram a day, usually much less.
    If you know what you are doing and can find decent ground, 1-3 grams a day is dooable in some places with a 4" dredge.
    You won't even get close to those numbers with a 3" dredge legally unless you are real lucky.

    Ditch the scuba gear and get setup for hookah diving. Compressor runs off of your dredge motor.

    Chances are that you'll be in fine gold country. The biggest most efficient box is what you want to focus on.
    russau likes this.

  8. #8
    us
    Mine President, XPBC, GIH, stamp mill operator, snuffer bottle owner.

    Dec 2013
    Arcata, California
    Fisher 1212-x Fisher Gold Bug 2 Whites 4900/SP3 Rocker boxes, Keene sluices, Bazooka sluice, 2.5", 4" lowbankers, highbankers. Witch Sticks.
    735
    843 times
    Prospecting
    The amount you will find will vary quite a bit you cant just state you will find X quantity a day. There are so many factors involved. The first time I took my 4" out I went to a spot that I know there is gold, I found gold there panning so I figured I would make out like a bandit, long story short I got totally skunked. After getting more experience I managed quite well there.

  9. #9
    us
    Mar 2003
    Redding,Calif.
    5,851
    6687 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Love my little old 4" over/unders as many pounds have been found from multi ouncersers to fly specks. Moving around not bad and MUST have blaster nozzle a must for decent production. Just a shame having it and my nice 3" tarped and wasting away here in gold country, NOW that should be illegal-JohnName:  what dredge hahaha.jpg
Views: 221
Size:  16.1 KB
    delnorter, russau and N-Lionberger like this.

  10. #10

    Dec 2018
    68
    112 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by CGC Miner View Post
    Lot's of good info here.
    Make sure the t-post is banged down secure. Can be a pain to get out but always comes out eventually. The last thing you want is your dredge floating away while you are underwater!
    Honestly you have been spoiled by 1-2 grams days farting around in CA.

    I'm talking outside of the West Coast here:
    A majority of prospectors in the states average less than a 1/4 gram a day, usually much less.
    If you know what you are doing and can find decent ground, 1-3 grams a day is dooable in some places with a 4" dredge.
    You won't even get close to those numbers with a 3" dredge legally unless you are real lucky.

    Ditch the scuba gear and get setup for hookah diving. Compressor runs off of your dredge motor.

    Chances are that you'll be in fine gold country. The biggest most efficient box is what you want to focus on.
    Well that’s disheartening. I don’t see the point in paying $5,000.00 for a dredge if I wont even be able to cover the fuel cost of running it...

  11. #11
    us
    Mine President, XPBC, GIH, stamp mill operator, snuffer bottle owner.

    Dec 2013
    Arcata, California
    Fisher 1212-x Fisher Gold Bug 2 Whites 4900/SP3 Rocker boxes, Keene sluices, Bazooka sluice, 2.5", 4" lowbankers, highbankers. Witch Sticks.
    735
    843 times
    Prospecting
    I think he might be talking about prospectors results further back east, they have mostly fine gold and its few and far between. Out here in California in a nice out of the way location you can make gas money no problem.
    russau and panningjack like this.

  12. #12

    Sep 2012
    Merced Ca.
    White's ~MXT Pro ~ CoinMaster Classic 1 Garret~ AT Pro ~ AT Gold Makro ~ Racer 2 ~ Gold Racer Nokta ~ FORS CoRe ~ FORS Relic
    8
    8 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    OLD POST
    Thought they were mot allowed anymore

  13. #13

    Dec 2018
    68
    112 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by N-Lionberger View Post
    I think he might be talking about prospectors results further back east, they have mostly fine gold and its few and far between. Out here in California in a nice out of the way location you can make gas money no problem.

    I’ll be dredging in Idaho. Mostly around Boise I imagine.

  14. #14
    us
    Apr 2013
    Nampa, Idaho
    Whites Classic 3
    185
    104 times

    Help me buy a dredge and find a place to use it

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilderness medic View Post
    Well thatís disheartening. I donít see the point in paying $5,000.00 for a dredge if I wont even be able to cover the fuel cost of running it...
    Thatís why you get an old one and rebuild it. Iím in the Boise area and there is plenty of gold to find. I have a spot I can do anywhere from 2g to 1/4 oz plus a day. Iím running a modified gold divers 4Ē

  15. #15

    Dec 2018
    68
    112 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by panningjack View Post
    That’s why you get an old one and rebuild it. I’m in the Boise area and there is plenty of gold to find. I have a spot I can do anywhere from 2g to 1/4 oz plus a day. I’m running a modified gold divers 4”
    If it’s possible to get gold like that I don’t mind spending the money on a new dredge. Do you spots like that usually require a purchased claim or is there plenty of public land to dredge on?

 

 
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