Panning in Indiana state parks and DNR land?


Nov 11, 2012
Southern Indiana
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It seems that Indiana is okay with this per

That page says, "Gold prospectors are required to follow the rules under the general license to legally pan for gold. You can find the rules for the general license in the two following documents:"

And those two documents more or less outline where you CANT go and limit what tools you can use.

That's fine by me, as a newb, I literally just want to go out with a pan, maybe a small hand pump and a trowel and work some cracks in creeks and on the front side of some sandbars where it's all rock and gravel. Nothing crazy, I don't want to invest too much into this at the start. But, I do a lot of backwoods backpacking. I hike the the full length of the 47 mile long Knobstone Trail each year several times and spend even more time on sections of it for overnighters and day hikes. I'm in Jefferson County and the pre-Wisconssin glacial boundary is right next to me. I also spend a lot of time in the creeks at Clify Falls State Park and off trail, waterfall hunting there.

Am I correct in understanding that I am allowed to remove gold found on DNR properties so long as I simply comply with the rules in the general license and use only light hand tools?

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Feb 24, 2016
Elizabethtown, IN
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Yes, That is how I read it but I'm not legal expert either. Funny I've been on the same site today looking for rules on a particular piece of property that may follow under Indiana DNR. Offices are closed now though will have to wait until Monday.

I'm in Southern Indiana though - Good luck on the panning let me know how it goes.

Here is more information that may be helpful

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Gold Member
May 29, 2005
St. Louis, missouri
I've been up to Indiana several times over the years . Gatesville In. is a fun little place and the store there (Robins) has some great food and plenty of it! Robins family owns most all of that town and up that valley. You can camp there by the stream for a minimal fee and they sell split fire wood at a very reasonable cost. The stream is about 100 yards behind the store to make it very convenient ! I had fun !


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If you are new and are unsure about the do's and don'ts, I would suggest joining the Central Indiana GPAA club.
I lived and prospected in Indiana for many years and yes you get to keep all the gold you find in state parks provided you follow the rules, including signing in at the ranger station for a permit where required.

RussAU is correct about the Gatesville store and the creek behind the store seems to always produce glacial gold.
Forget about Clifty Falls No gold there. Gold Creek, Salt Creek, and Sand Creek to name a few do contain gold.

Try Morgan-Monroe state forest near Martinsville IN. the ranger station will issue you a permit and I have found good gold there.
Here is a link to a map of where the gold is: MAP Also there is more Indiana prospecting info in the links above the map.

Deadmans Hollow on Gose creek is where I found the best gold but you have to be a mountain goat to get down to it. Or else a long hike up creek through dense undergrowth being on the lookout for water moccasin aka cottonmouth, copperheads, and timber rattlers, not to mention ticks, chiggers, swarms of mosquitos, and nats. Oh and sweat bees too, I hate those buggers. (Boonie hat with netting is recommended)

Most all the glacial gold in Indiana is concentrated from Northern Indiana down to lower Central Indiana. None to speak of at all in Southern Indiana.

Good luck and Happy prospecting.

Go for the Gold

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