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Thread: Where to prospect in Northern California?

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  1. #1
    us
    Gold Prospector

    Oct 2016
    Colorado (Denver Area)
    75
    107 times
    Prospecting

    Where to prospect in Northern California?

    Just moved to San Francisco from Colorado and looking to get back into prospecting next month. Any suggestions on good starter places that are public access?

    I've heard of the bear river campground near sacramento so I'll try that out. I've also heard about a number of cities (i.e. oroville, nevada city, placerville, etc.) but looking to get some specific public areas like that campground to try out as I first get started here. I'll take your 7th best if it gives me a plan for a weekend trip down the road

    If there are any decent books to buy let me know!

    Edit: Mostly looking for sluicing spots but might try crevicing out here if I can find a spot suitable for it.
    Last edited by agolddigger; Dec 29, 2018 at 04:11 AM.
    Colorado prospector (primarily Denver & summit county).

    Shoot me a PM if you ever want to go prospecting, always interested in new spots/techniques.

  2. #2
    us
    Mike

    Dec 2014
    Bodfish and Marin county CA
    Garrett , Whites keene puffer drywasher , Keene A51 Sluice
    347
    918 times
    Drywashing , Sluicing , Panning
    Welcome to the bay area , here an article for you to read.
    The Auriferous City: Eureka Moments in San Francisco | Tramps of San Francisco
    agolddigger and arizau like this.
    Stay thirsty my friends

  3. #3
    us
    Gold Prospector

    Oct 2016
    Colorado (Denver Area)
    75
    107 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Bodfish Mike View Post
    Welcome to the bay area , here an article for you to read.
    The Auriferous City: Eureka Moments in San Francisco | Tramps of San Francisco
    Thanks Mike! I donít think SF officials would be happy if I started digging at ocean beach or golden gate park today but that was a good read.
    Colorado prospector (primarily Denver & summit county).

    Shoot me a PM if you ever want to go prospecting, always interested in new spots/techniques.

  4. #4
    us
    Mine President, XPBC, GIH

    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.
    599
    665 times
    Prospecting
    My friend from highschool an I dug for gold on the beach in San Francisco, we got a lot of very weird looks from what I remember. My friend had better luck than me he utilized mercury he recovered from old switches in his process. We didn't find a lot but its there. I know someone who mines the rain gutters in SF after storms LOL. There is a club in the area the East Bay Prospectors, I used to be pretty active with them when I lived down there good group of people, have some nice claims. The bear river cg has been hammered but still yields color if you know where to look. There are some nice spots to camp and work on the Trinity.
    Last edited by N-Lionberger; Dec 29, 2018 at 12:49 PM.

  5. #5
    us
    Oct 2018
    Central Valley California
    92
    115 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    If you ever visit Yosemite, there are public areas along the Merced River in Briceburg and El Portal has public areas to pan for gold. Problem is though the gold here sucks, too small specs compared to what I'm seeing in youtube videos from gold up further north at the Auburn Recreational Park. You're really gonna need a claim if you want to find some good gold, all the good areas are already claimed up. GPAA has a lot of claims in the state if you want to be a member, or look on Ebay or Craigslist for claims for sale.
    Last edited by firebird; Dec 29, 2018 at 01:03 PM.

  6. #6
    us
    Jan 2015
    San Francisco, Ca
    125
    132 times
    Prospecting

    Where to prospect in Northern California?

    I have processed about 5 gallons of black sand from Ocean Beach. Drop in at Sloat, and start walking South. You'll see the black sand beach right away. If the waves have brought the sand level down, you can see the layers of ancient black sand deposits in the cliffs. I will fill four 48oz. Peanut butter jars with black sand to process at home. Four jars are very heavy. There are usually between 15-25 colors in a jar. They are as small as the black sand grains, and tend to be round, so that they roll around the pan when trying to swirl them out of that last little bit of black sand. Of course this is all simply for the joy of finding gold practically in my back yard. The vial is what I've pulled from 5 gallons of black sand.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by mofugly13; Dec 29, 2018 at 04:10 PM.

  7. #7
    us
    Gold Prospector

    Oct 2016
    Colorado (Denver Area)
    75
    107 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by firebird View Post
    If you ever visit Yosemite, there are public areas along the Merced River in Briceburg and El Portal has public areas to pan for gold. Problem is though the gold here sucks, too small specs compared to what I'm seeing in youtube videos from gold up further north at the Auburn Recreational Park. You're really gonna need a claim if you want to find some good gold, all the good areas are already claimed up. GPAA has a lot of claims in the state if you want to be a member, or look on Ebay or Craigslist for claims for sale.
    I've thought about that driving up to Yosemite before (I've been many times) - definitely will try the merced one of these times. Thanks for the tip on Auburn, looks like they've added new restrictions from some quick research but that's the type of place I'm looking for.

    Are the GPAA CA claims worth going to or are they picked pretty clean? I definitely plan to get my own claim eventually but that might be a good way to explore for a while assuming the gold is worth the drive up from SF.

    Quote Originally Posted by mofugly13 View Post
    I have processed about 5 gallons of black sand from Ocean Beach. Drop in at Sloat, and start walking South. You'll see the black sand beach right away. If the waves have brought the sand level down, you can see the layers of ancient black sand deposits in the cliffs. I will fill four 48oz. Peanut butter jars with black sand to process at home. Four jars are very heavy. There are usually between 15-25 colors in a jar. They are as small as the black sand grains, and tend to be round, so that they roll around the pan when trying to swirl them out of that last little bit of black sand. Of course this is all simply for the joy of finding gold practically on my back yard. The vial is what I've pulled from 5 gallons of black sand.
    Nice! GGNRA would probably nail you if you had a pan out there but doubt they'll mess with the random guy collecting sand haha
    Colorado prospector (primarily Denver & summit county).

    Shoot me a PM if you ever want to go prospecting, always interested in new spots/techniques.

  8. #8
    us
    Jan 2015
    San Francisco, Ca
    125
    132 times
    Prospecting
    That's how I figure it......
    But, I wonder what kind of production could be had with a long sluice capable of washing shovel fulls as fast as it could be fed. I'd love to know!
    Last edited by mofugly13; Dec 29, 2018 at 08:31 PM.

  9. #9
    us
    Northern California

    Aug 2007
    Southern California
    XLT, GMT, 6000D Coinmaster
    3,906
    4287 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Bodfish Mike, fun article as it shows all sides of prospecting - people are still crazy, gold brings out the best and worst in people, one does not need to travel past the beaches of SF to find gold and yes people are still crazy especially when it comes to gold. But then this is the State of California where gold was found and yes it still is here but one Still needs to work to find it and by doing so can risk one's life and limb in the effort to locate the yellow metal.

    I find it unusual that the the USFS Rangers are no longer the friends of Smokey the Bear (or the people they are supposed to serve as they are off on their own Agenda), that the Government of the State does not honor the Federal Mining Laws and that the Greenies use false Science to take away the rights of the people in the Federal Mining Laws. Even local sheriffs departments in Rural communities have been involved with the Stealing of a miners property from his very legal and paid for Claim in the Sierra Foothills.

    Yup its still Gold Country with all sorts of "Hustles" being perpetrated on the general public and it still is not right from 1849 to 2018 and on. Sigh, if folks would just choose to be honest and nice!

    Good Luck "agolddigger" with finding the yellow metal. Prepare yourself by being physically fit which will improve your chances of having fun in the 'back country'. While you are out there just enjoy the beauty of the place, the peace and quiet, the 24/7 sound of the water and with perseverance you will locate some gold. Also, the forests of California are very dry be very careful with open fires or just do not have open fires as being at the center point of a forest fire will not be good for you. Stay safe...............63bkpkr
    Last edited by 63bkpkr; Dec 30, 2018 at 01:25 AM.
    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  10. #10
    us
    Mine President, XPBC, GIH

    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.
    599
    665 times
    Prospecting
    Carrying out five gallons of that black sand is a lot of work that stuff is heavy! especially grueling walking on that beach sand. When I prospected out there pretty much exactly where you described I would haul that material out in sand bags. What I would like to do is use my home made hydroforce nozzle to dredge up that black sand into a beach box, it would move a ton of material super quick and there wouldn't be any plug ups as its just sand no rocks to speak of, I could see making quite a hole real fast.

  11. #11
    us
    Mike

    Dec 2014
    Bodfish and Marin county CA
    Garrett , Whites keene puffer drywasher , Keene A51 Sluice
    347
    918 times
    Drywashing , Sluicing , Panning
    knights ferry on the stanislaus river is about a 2 hour drive from SF it hand and pans.
    I found gold there a few years back - I think you have to pay to park now, I walked upstream
    on the north side of the river and found some. You could do this as a day trip.
    Cheers Mike

    Pic of some beach gold
    Click image for larger version. 

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    agolddigger and et1955 like this.
    Stay thirsty my friends

  12. #12
    us
    Dec 2013
    N. California
    Bazooka Prospector-Sniper-Supermini Thanks Todd & Chris, Goldhog Multisluice Thanks Doc, My Land Matters Thanks Claydiggins, 6 Senses
    1,836
    4663 times
    Prospecting
    Welcome to the TNET and California Digging. The Bear is a good starter place. It is at its optimal level right now for mining. Bear - At Hwy 174 Bridge - river flow graph. The flow level at 29cfs and will jump to 500+ quickly if it rains heavy. If you work near or upstream of the big parking lot it has been heavily and haphazardly worked but there is still lots of color if you can spot the areas of unworked past flood areas. There are a lot of bedrock areas to work that are exposed or easily uncovered and there are usually holes and pits that are abandoned. Good Luck.

  13. #13
    us
    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
    6,685
    10370 times
    Prospecting
    We already miss you here in Colorado. Iím sure a smart, fit guy like you will do well out there.

    Looking forward to your next visit to CO!

  14. #14
    us
    Gold Prospector

    Oct 2016
    Colorado (Denver Area)
    75
    107 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by KevinInColorado View Post
    We already miss you here in Colorado. I’m sure a smart, fit guy like you will do well out there.

    Looking forward to your next visit to CO!
    I am as well You'll be the first to see the results as I start to explore CA - hopefully I'll have a spot worth visiting for soon enough!
    KevinInColorado likes this.
    Colorado prospector (primarily Denver & summit county).

    Shoot me a PM if you ever want to go prospecting, always interested in new spots/techniques.

  15. #15
    us
    Oct 2018
    Central Valley California
    92
    115 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenmojo View Post
    Welcome to the TNET and California Digging. The Bear is a good starter place. It is at its optimal level right now for mining. Bear - At Hwy 174 Bridge - river flow graph. The flow level at 29cfs and will jump to 500+ quickly if it rains heavy. If you work near or upstream of the big parking lot it has been heavily and haphazardly worked but there is still lots of color if you can spot the areas of unworked past flood areas. There are a lot of bedrock areas to work that are exposed or easily uncovered and there are usually holes and pits that are abandoned. Good Luck.
    How much of this area is public land? I don't want to get in trouble if there are any claims here.



    Quote Originally Posted by agolddigger View Post
    Are the GPAA CA claims worth going to or are they picked pretty clean? I definitely plan to get my own claim eventually but that might be a good way to explore for a while assuming the gold is worth the drive up from SF.
    Not sure yet, I just ordered a membership too. There are also local prospecting clubs around California that have their own claims but you'd have to google them.
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