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  1. #1
    us
    Feb 2007
    Springfield, MA
    Fisher F75 - Whites PI Pro, Excal 1000
    444
    29 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    I'm planning on visiting my Father in law up in Big Fork Montana next August. I want to do some placer prospecting, nugget shooting, panning and sluicing. There are so many places in Montana to choose from, many are a pretty long drive from Big Fork.

    Since it's hard for me to know what is accessible and what is no longer open to the public from a distance, I was wondering if any locals had some thoughts. I would be able to hike and camp if necessary. I know the places further from the roads are probably less often prospected.

    Any places that you would love to prospect for a week?

    Jack
    Make sure and punish the many for the actions of a few!

  2. #2
    us
    Sep 2006
    Montana
    11,702
    23 times
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    Man - there is'nt a lot up by Big Fork that is too promising... I have to think the Lincoln area south east of there might be a good prospect - I have buddies that gold hunt in teh area, but I have never been with them and have NO idea where they go. Then, like Mrs. O said... the closer you get to Helena the better off you'll be. More and More claims down that way and more public access I would think.

    I truely have no good advice but wish you luck here in August and hope you can find someplace kinda close.

    Okay - I don't remember why... but North East of you I have Libby Creek highlighted in my state atlas... south of the Kootenai River along Route 2 (Near Libby Montana). Hmmm... I prolly read someplac that it was a gold bearing stream... I don't truely remember...

    Good luck - enjoy your visit.

  3. #3
    us
    Feb 2007
    Springfield, MA
    Fisher F75 - Whites PI Pro, Excal 1000
    444
    29 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    Oh yeah, I was going to head up to Dahlonega, GA when my wife reminded me that her dad lived in Big Fork. I have been researching ever since. I was too late for the Dahlonega trip, don't want to drag the family through streams in 40 degree weather and turn them all off for a trip to Montana.

    My research also showed that my Father in law could almost not live any further away from gold bearing area without living in Canada. But that's fine, I plan to figure out a trip and meet at his place for a short time, then drag him with me to go prospecting down South, or in Idaho. I am figuring on a good days drive to get into a good area and plan to have some places scoped out that may need some hiking to get too, that way, we are prospecting areas less traveled.

    I plan to camp for a period of time while we are there. Any information you have about areas that still allow access for prospecting would be greatly appreciated. I will follow up with phone calls and such to start mapping out a possible trip. I have some geological survey maps showing placer sites along with many books about the history of the gold rush.

    The BLM has done a study of over 1000 mine sites looking for dangerous situations that need to be addressed, I am going to see if I can get a copy of that report, so as to get the location of these sites.

    Thank, Jack

    Make sure and punish the many for the actions of a few!

  4. #4
    us
    Sep 2006
    Montana
    11,702
    23 times
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    The spots are out there... but since I don't pan or gold hunt - I have no clue .

    Your realtives outta be able to get a little information for your though by August - maybe set you up with a good hunt.

    Best of luck!

  5. #5
    A swinger to the end!

    Nov 2007
    Trego, Montana, all over nevada and Arizona
    F-4, X-70, Delta 4000
    246

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    I live about an hour away from Bigfork, and would be happy to show you where the gold is. There are some places near Libby and Troy that have produced much gold for me in the past.

  6. #6
    us
    Ann of RonandAnn left to venture TNet on her own as LadyDigger!

    Jun 2006
    Virginia Beach
    Minelab Exp II
    2,079
    3 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    I don't know if the following would be of any help to you....and the file is way to big to post here...so I will just type in the beginning of the article. This is a diary of this man's journey.

    Billings Gazette
    Billings, Montana
    30 June 1927

    "Prospectors were familiar figures about Billings in the early days, outfitting for the Clark's Fork and Stillwater or the Fort Maginnis mines or bargaining with local bankers/or merchants to grub-stake them. Although neither district ever attained the importance of the mines in the western part of the state or the Black Hills, good strikes were occasionally made, especially in the Fort Maginnis district where several mines made their owners small fortunes.

    No man, perhaps, did more to lay bare the mineral resources of the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains as well as the isolated ranges of central Montana than Joseph Richard Anderson, known as 'Skookum Joe,' an Indian designation he had earned as a miner in Oregon, meaning 'Good Joe.'

    'Snookum Joe' came to Montana some time in the sixties (1860's) and from notations marked in his diaries, he prospected in the Absarokas at least as early as 1870, a year before prospectors were chased from their Cooke City discoveries by the Indians.

    He was one of the early prospectors in the Fort Maginnis district about Maiden where he located a number of paying mines among them the famous Spotted Horse which he sold to Perry O. McAdow, the founder of Coulson and early-day capitalist of Billings for $5,500. McAdow and associates afterwards realized $300,000 for it.

    Anderson and Jack Nye were the discoverers of the copper mines on the Stillwater which laid the foundations for the Nye City boom in the late eighties (1880's). He also helped open up the Castle Mines and those about Nelhart.

    Most of his later days were spent in the Stillwater section where in his prospecting tours, he acquired a more thorough knowledge of its resources than any man of his generation had. He located from claims on the west Stillwater, still regarded of great potential value although still undeveloped because of difficulty of access. In 1891 (hard to read date, but looks like 1891), he took out some mineral claims on oil springs on Butcher Creek and attempted to develop them. He also located many coal mines in Montana.

    Anderson had the confidence of the BIllings banking fraternity and Anderson & Co., included G.A. Griggs, Bailey & Billings, and I.D. O'Donnell.

    A series of diaries and account books kept by Anderson from the years 1886 to 1885, inclusive, are now among the source material of the Billings Memorial Library and give an interesting record of the life of the prospector and also shed considerable light on the mining history of central and southern Montana.

    'Skookum Joe' was a pecullar man, both in appearance and mental characteristics, according to I.D. O'Donnell. He was a reserved man who avoided trouble but was wise in his business and knew exactly what was going on. Claim jumpers and sharpers seldom got ahead of him. He was usually gone all summer on his prospecting expeditions and spent the winters developing and improving his mines.

    He always wore a corduroy suit. His outfit was unusually complete and he usually carried instruments that the haphazard prospector did without. He had good pack animals and looked after them well. While the big rewards of his efforts went to other men, his accounts show the he frequently received sums running thousand dollars on his claims besides what he made at gold mining.

    Prospecting Near Maiden: The first entry in the diary is September 18, 1886. The first pages are blurred and are chiefly about prospecting operations at his mining locations near Maiden. Occasional entries follow:

    September 26: Rock 30 hoppers and clean up. Got the New York Sun of Sept. 22 and Chicago News, date Sept 23. I got a note from Jack Nye, Stillwater.

    October 10: Snowy all day, go up town and see Billy Buccanon, get a bed-tick filled by Conley, charge 50 centsw. Get sheet iron from rocker, got enough for two, charge $1. Seen George Herendeen.

    October 20: Set up the rocker. Make a platform to shovel the slump from. Get a very bad fever and headache. Take some spruce tea and pills.

    October 21: Better, but don't work forenoon. Afternoon rock all the dirt I had in the drain. Made 95 hoppers. Got of Belanger, bacon, 8 pounds; butter, 3 pounds; potatoes, 13 pounds.

    October 26: Cut wood and fix saw. Old Britt came up on a visit. More sorehead Democrats in Maiden than hell.

    Nov. 2, 1886: Election day. Very quiet. Borrow $10 of George Mason. Send my statement of intentions to G.D. Morz, Minneapolis, so that we can patent the Stillwater Mines.

    December 8: Stake a silver lead named Grover on the ridge south of the Coment and Keystone. Find some good ore. It is float, I found in 1880.

    December 9: Take down some gold ore and got assay of 20.80.

    And so the diary goes on....I saved this file...but it's a PDF file...if you wish to see it all...I don't pan for gold (even though I think it would be so cool to do so)...so I have no idea on what is written in 'Skookum Joe's' diary is of any use.....

    If you want the entire newspaper page, just PM me ... I will have to send it to you via email...it is interesting to read.

    If I run across anything else that would relate to BIG ROCK...I'll be sure to post...

    Happy Prospecting and Detecting,
    Annmarie
    Ron - Professional Printer, Fishing, Diving, Asst Scoutmaster Troop 65
    Proud parent of 1 daughter and 2 sons!!!

  7. #7
    us
    Sep 2006
    Montana
    11,702
    23 times
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    Annmarie That was a great read! I've been through Maiden, there are still some ghosty town type areas there but nobody is alowed access... there are still active gold mines in that area too. It's a very cool area and pics are available on the net... It's also a half day's drive from where Jack is gonna be...

    However... sounds like misterbeee has a clue... I knew Libby (area/creek) might produce

  8. #8
    us
    Ann of RonandAnn left to venture TNet on her own as LadyDigger!

    Jun 2006
    Virginia Beach
    Minelab Exp II
    2,079
    3 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    Well thanks Montana Jim .....

    If time permits...maybe I'll be able to type in more of the article in pieces....I bet 'Shookum Joe' has more interesting data in this article of his diary...just read bits and pieces of it...I found it quite interesting!

    I'll bookmark this thread so I can come back and type in more of the article....
    Ron - Professional Printer, Fishing, Diving, Asst Scoutmaster Troop 65
    Proud parent of 1 daughter and 2 sons!!!

  9. #9
    A swinger to the end!

    Nov 2007
    Trego, Montana, all over nevada and Arizona
    F-4, X-70, Delta 4000
    246

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    There is Libby cr(bright yellow small flake),Rock cr,Wolf cr(course angular gold where me and a buddy of mine has a claim, we dredge in the summer), Upper fisher, Little Cherry cr, and in Troy, there is the Yaak river(large flat flakes) On the upper part of Libby creek, there is a public panning area(no power tools or sluices) but there is a lot of area around that elevation where you can take a detector. That area is the only one around there where people have found nuggets. I hope the info helps

  10. #10
    us
    Feb 2007
    Springfield, MA
    Fisher F75 - Whites PI Pro, Excal 1000
    444
    29 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    Hi,

    In doing tons of reading on the area, the Bureau of Land Management had mentioned that the Nine Mile Creek area North West of Stark was not heavily worked in the early part of last century because it contains clay that they had a hard time with. In another publication, it was estimated by some that this area could contain more gold than Alder Gulch, but it is to hard to get to. However, it is said that there were lots of nuggets found.

    Has any of you been in that area prospecting? I'm going to make some calls on the area and get some local maps and stuff.

    Jack
    Make sure and punish the many for the actions of a few!

  11. #11
    us
    Feb 2007
    Springfield, MA
    Fisher F75 - Whites PI Pro, Excal 1000
    444
    29 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    Libby eh?

    The BLM said that Libby Creek saw some heavy hydralicing back in the day. It further states that there were many nuggets found that we sharp edged, with quartz still attached. I will definitely look into this area as well, as it is only a short drive from Big Fork.

    Jack

    Make sure and punish the many for the actions of a few!

  12. #12

    Mar 2003
    262
    111 times

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    The best gold prospecting areas are found in the mountains between Butte and Helena. There are also some old mines that haven't been worked since they were closed as a result of WWII also.

    There are several sites around the state for finding sapphires. There are tourist locations where you can buy gold and gem gravel and pan it.

  13. #13
    us
    Dec 2004
    Montana
    Minelab
    31
    5 times

    Re: If I could prospect in any part of Montana for a week it woud be . . .

    I had a friend that worked the 9 mile for a long time. He got some great gold and some beauty nuggets. The clay is bad up there he always said stay away from the blue clay but apparantly there is some gold bound up in it. History books say that they tried a bucketline dredge up there in the early 1900's and the clay was so bad it sunk the dredge Good Luck Bob

 

 

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