Where to Dredge
Gold moves when water pressure is high enough to overcome the weight of the gold. When the water pressure decreases, gold stops. It can hide behind an object that has broken the flow of water, or it can fall into a crack or crevice and hide from the water pressure. It can also stop when water slow down to flow around the inside of a curve. A fourth place is where the river widens into an area of slow moving water (commonly called a pool).
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Let's consider a specific quantity of water. When that water moves through a area that is 25 feet wide, it moves at a certain speed. If that same quantity of water moves through an area that is 100 feet wide, it slows down. Just like what happens when a river flows into a lake.
When the gold is pushed through the narrow region in the river, it moves at a certain speed. When it enters the pool the water slows down, the water pressure is decreased and the gold drops. So, there will be an area at the beginning of the pool that will have good gold. It will probably be evenly distributed across the width of the pool, so look for places where the gold will pocket (exposed bedrock, boulders, cracks, crevices, etc).
The above discussion will give the novice prospector a good idea of how to read a river to find where gold will "pocket." Of course, you ca follow each of these lessons in detail and still not find a lot of gold. First, make sure your looking at a river that is known for gold. The old timers didn't get it all, but if a river has some, they found it. So, don't waist your time looking in a river that has never had gold in it.
Practice reading rivers to see where you would dredge, even if you don't plan on dredging in it right now. As with any skill, reading a river and finding gold takes practice. Talk to those who know the river. They can save you a lot of looking time. If possible, join a club that has some claims for the members to use. Clubs also have "outings" at which you can learn even more and actually participate in the "common operation." That way, you can get experience without wasting time. Let the club experts figure out where to work, then ask them why they chose that spot. Having some on the ground instruction can go a long way.
But, if you don't have a nearby club, and no locals will break loose with they're secrets, then follow what you've learned here.
Read more - this is part 6 of 6
"Reprinted with permission of The Rocker Box"
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