Found my first placer gold in WNC. What are some good panning strategies for future visits?


Jun 24, 2023
Very new to panning/prospecting. So after trying out a bunch of different rivers and streams in my area I finally found a spot on a creek that has yielded a small amount of gold both times ive been there. This is the only place ive found gold in my area (west of the gold belt, very few opportunities or known placer deposits).

I probably spent an hour panning each time and the first time found a few very small pieces and second time I found ~10 pieces after panning out my concentrates at home. The location has a tall heavily eroded bank where the water is slower and runs straight along it and then turns away from the bank, with a wide series of shallow gently sloping riffles that curve along the inside bend next to a very long rocky bank on the same side as the eroded bank but past it.

Where should I focus my efforts in this scenario and how should i go about finding the paystreak in this area (assuming there is one)?. The only thing that is off limits is digging into the eroded bank.

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Jr. Member
Aug 5, 2015
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Welcome to TNet,

You're off to a good start on your prospecting! West of the gold North Carolina?
Likely your smack dab in the middle of it...

"Where should I focus my efforts in this scenario and how should i go about finding the paystreak in this area... (assuming there is one)?."
....There very well might not be one...The paystreak might be in a dry/seasonal feeder creek bed...

A understanding of of the geology and close mines is in order, so try this...type into your search engine, USGS MRDS... then hit enter...( with google the first search result will display Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS) on that MRDS site.

There'll be two GIS maps....Click on the "By Commodities" GIS...A map will then display with a left sidebar listing a slew of commodities (60-80?) scroll down till you find the gold commodity then click/check just that box....scroll back up and collapse the side bar (left pointing arrow).

Now zoom in to North Carolina....all those dots, circles, triangles, squares are gold mines...not a all gold mine ever...likely only a 25-30% record of gold mines...

locate the general area of your prospect (don't zoom in to close) find a few mine symbols close to your prospect (you can click on each mine separately.) but there's a trick that's better...

imagine those mines and you spot... in a 30 mile by 30 mile (50x50 mile even?) square/ rectangle. imagine a corner for this square/rectangle and set your mouse pointer there and then hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and left click your mouse.

form your encapture square/rectangle and release your left mouse button.... and viola!

now click on the record ID number/s for those mines...there's a whole heap important stuff those reports contain...

a big bonus is the map link at the top right of those reports...use that link to locate the mines "proximity" on google maps.

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