Post By cuzcosquirrel
Aug 14, 2010, 12:33 AM
Whiskeytown, Clear Creek Northern Ca. panning
I saw a few people out there going over the crevices with shovels and buckets. Some of the notes about it.
There are a number of rules the park office has about panning in the park. They ask you to get a panning permit at the reception center at the park entrance. It cost one dollar and has the rules printed on the back. Parking, unless you have someone drop you off is 5.00 in most places per day.
I saw buckets and rock grates (strainers) some people were using. These are not allowed by the rules. Granted, the number of rangers is so few you may never see one now, but about 10 years ago, I was told not to use one when a ranger saw I had one.
What I use: Get a durable special edition 32 or 44 ounce hard plastic drink cup from AM/PM. I even had one with a handle once. Use this to scoop up the gravel from the stream bed. This eliminates large rocks, which you must move by hand, and can be shaken before you pour the rest into your pan to eliminate small rocks.
I use a 16 inch black pan now. I feel it is too big, with too much volume per pan, but that is what I bought. I had a 14 inch before and it seemed better.
They only allow you to pan in the existing stream bed.
Find an area in a stream with large rocks (I mean 4 to 5 foot ones) resting on the bedrock, with 3 to 4 feet of gravel/overburden on top. It is best to ask around and find where these places might be. Try to pick an area not gone over a lot, or maybe missed for some reason in original gold discovery.
Begin to dig away at the overburden in the stream bed. Throw out smaller rocks downstream, push larger rocks out of the way or out of your hole. Provide that enough water remains running through the pool to clear the water in about 2 to 3 minutes so you can see.
Don't move the really big rocks. Leave them be. They are the sign of a very old river bed. They can later be used as reference points.
Don't carry your pan as you step up out of your hole. Set it down if you do find yourself in this position. Then walk up out of your hole, and then pick up your pan.
Scoop up the dirt with the cup and drop it into your pan as it sits nearby on the bank. Throw out medium sized rocks here.
When you start, you will be scooping overburden for about a day. This is mixed with the other material, which is dolimite, quartz, rocks, and blue channel material already exposed. You will expect to find little gold in it, and will be left with a 3 inch long, 1/2 inch wide silt of black sand in your pan after panning. The color of the water that drops out of your pan will be dark brown, and not very strong in color.
When you reach a layer of larger 1 to 2 foot rocks pressed very hard against the bedrock, you will start to encounter a reddish mud between the rocks. Push, pull the rocks out and collect all this material. This will usually have a decent amount of flake gold in it, and this will usually rest right on the bedrock underneath. When the water washes from your pan, it will be a bright red to orangeish in color that is very deep and strong. It will leave a 6 inch by 2 inch line of black sand in your pan once panned, about 4 times that in the overburden. In this will also be lead shot, possible garnets, and small reddish stones.
If you hit a layer of dark blue and quartz gravel on top of the bedrock, mixed in with a grayish-white clay, you have found a streak of blue channel gravel laid down a long time ago. There is usually small nuggets of gold in this, and it needs to be panned out, by breaking it up with your feet first. If there are cracks and crevices under it in the bedrock, they will usually have flakes of gold or small nuggets in them. The color of the pan water will be a light gray. If black, dark-gray mud is encountered, it will usually be decomposed bedock, and will have no gold in it.
Some large, decomposing quartz rocks can be broken up just by scooping at them with the plastic cup. I have panned these and found stringers of gold flakes in them before.
Aug 14, 2010, 07:22 PM
Re: Whiskeytown, Clear Creek Northern Ca. panning
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