Newbie question: Advice for San Gabriel/Azusa
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Thread: Newbie question: Advice for San Gabriel/Azusa

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  1. #1

    Sep 2013
    Long Beach, Ca.
    3 times

    Newbie question: Advice for San Gabriel/Azusa

    Morning/afternoon all,

    I live near L.A. and have gone up to the San Gabriel river a few times. I brought with me a shovel, trowel, 2 buckets, 2 classifiers, a pan and a folding sluice.

    The first time was pretty much a wash because I was too excited and just started randomly digging (found a few specks).

    The second time I went I actually tried using my noodle and looking for where gold could get trapped and dug in the dry gravel.

    The third time I tried using my noodle again and was digging in the water behind rocks, etc (most of which seemed cleaned out).

    Each time I find lots of black sand but at the very best I find like 1 to two miniscule specs of gold that are so tiny I can barely suck them up with my suction bottle.

    The riffles in my sluice seem to build up with gravel really fast and it won't wash out. Yesterday I spent probably an hour trying to set it up in an ideal spot with an ideal speed, but it just wouldn't.

    Can someone point me in just even a general direction? Is the area just that picked over? It's like a 1.5 hour ride each way for me every time on my motorcycle and I'm just feeling a bit like a failure and it's starting to get frustrating. The last time I showed up I just looked in the river and said to myself: "Well...****. You just have no idea what you're doing."

    I tried asking some of the guys there - and I get it, no one wants to tell you where there is a bunch of gold, but at the same time - it's really hard to learn all of this on your own.

  2. #2
    Oct 2012
    933 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    It is hard for a newbie! I busted my ass last year for about a gram of gold.... But it's a learning curve, and up on EF, you will eventually find someone who will point you in the right direction. Remember too, it's not just about the gold, but also the time spent outdoors, and the memories we make. Good luck brother

  3. #3
    Author of a book about finding gold in Colorado

    Jan 2012
    Summit County, Colorado
    Grizzly Goldtrap Explorer & Motherlode, Gold Cube with Banker on top, Bazooka Goldtrap sluices, Angus Mackirk Expedition, Gold-n-Sand Xtream Hand pump
    10610 times
    Join a club. Really. Now. They will offer training outings and other group events where you can learn a ton.

  4. #4
    Oct 2012
    Southern California
    A cheap little Bounty Hunter
    290 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I Have been working the EF River since 1995, and always find gold. Maybe I can share some constructive advice. First is Knowledge . By coming to this Group you did good There is, Collectively, hundreds of years of good, useful, mining, knowledge here in all the members. Here's some of what I know. The mining I do is in the are about a mile north of the end of the road. The Heaton Flats Bend. Found this last October. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	879691 Now here is my day. I have studied the river for years and Think I know about where the Pay streak is. I will often see a pre-dug hole in the area I That looks best. I don't have the energy to write all about what and where a paystreak is right now, But to say it follows the "gut of the river" and rises and falls as the water changes the watercourse during flood times. So I set up my Sluice as close to the dig as I can but in a spot that has the right water flow. A sluice needs to be level to the water course and have a 1" drop per foot of sluice from top to bottom and needs about 2 to 3 inch of water flowing midway down the sluice. I drop a handful of rocky dirt and if it clears the first riffle in a few seconds I'm good. In a 4' deep hole,that has a foot of water in the hole,tells me that the gold could be in the rusty layer about a foot above the water line, to the layer at the water line. Although just digging will allow gold bearing dirt to fall into the bottom. So I use my hand dredge to suck up the bottom every once in awhile. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	879697 So get the sluice set right do some test pans in the zones I mentioned and if one pan gives up 2 or 3 small pieces That is good. Dig there. Even 4 0r 5 pieces per 5 gal bucket could yield 40 pieces in 10 buckets which is roughly 1 or 2 grams. That is a Good days work at EF. I've done better and worse. And the best part is I'm in the wilderness playing in the water.
    Last edited by Aurabbit79er; Oct 12, 2013 at 01:32 AM.
    Fullpan likes this.
    In all the advancing we can do to improve this world, the sharing of knowledge and wisdom is the most important.
    We stand on the shoulders of giants.
    I am so glad I joined this Message board.
    If I post anything that inspires anyone to do better mining then me, I did my part.
    And If anyone inspires me to try something new, or better, I thank them now.

  5. #5

    Sep 2013
    Long Beach, Ca.
    3 times
    Thank you so much and for taking the time to write that. Definitely helps a lot. Putting in perspective what i can realistically pull out of there also helps a lot. Definitely going to keep at it!

  6. #6

    May 2012
    1526 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    the 49ers got the easy stuff, then Chinese worked twice as hard and did nearly as well. Then mining moved to hydraulicking and hard rock ming. For 50 yrs the rivers were neglected - that gave nature time to replenish the fine/flood gold. Then the depression miners hit the rivers again - working maybe three times as hard to feed themselves. Now its 75 yrs later - you have to work 4 times as hard to get same amounts, but thankfully the price went up and will continue up over time, so go for it, its still there waiting to give u satisfaction and exercise. Remember less than 1% of americans can show a vial of gold - new wealth - to people. that's worth the effort, imo.
    Last edited by Fullpan; Oct 14, 2013 at 02:35 PM.

  7. #7

    Jan 2013
    So Cal
    27 times
    I am in my second year at the EF, but have learned a lot so far. The lower sections of the river were worked with heavy equipment in years past, so expect those areas to be harder to find gold, although I have known people who dig deep and are successful down around Cattle Cny bridge. Generally speaking, the gold gets bigger the farther you hike up stream, where the old timers may not have reached with their big equipment. The serious prospectors are working way up in the Narrows, above the Bridge to Nowhere, which is about 8 miles up stream from the parking lot.

    If you hike at least 2 miles up, and then dig behind large rocks up in the dry portions of the stream bed, then you may have better luck. Remember to imagine the river at flood stage, bank to bank, and don't pay too much attention to where the water is today. There are good books on how to "read" a stream and identify where gold would be deposited. The successful prospectors dig deep, but be careful.

    With regards to your sluice, I have found there is a balance between water volume, velocity and the angle of the sluice box that will produce the best results. When my sluice is filling up with too much lite material, I try to either increase the water flow, change the sluice to a slightly steeper angle, or both.

    Good luck,



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