Search for Gold? Local Prospectors Tell Us How
They say the Gold Rush glory days are over, but prospectors we met with say there are still good spots in Nevada and California...
They say the Gold Rush glory days are over, but prospectors we met with say there are still good spots in Nevada and California. Local prospector Wade Lavery has his equipment laid out on his front lawn, ready for the start of prospecting's prime time. As he told me, "Water flow is way down. The water's real high after winter and churns up all the gold that's in the creeks and in the rivers, which makes it easier to find.”
Wade's been a gold bug for six years. He first got the fever when he found his first flake. As he describes it, “I did the dance. I was like, 'Oh I found some gold!'” And then he became hooked for life when he picked up a small nugget: "An ounce of gold was at $1,700 at that time." Where did he find it? "In California, right on the Yuba River."
“Where you were” when you found the gold happens to be the first question fellow prospectors ask each other. For Wade and his friends, this is more than a hobby...it's serious business which requires serious tools. Wade showed off his: “I have two buckets and I have my shovel there. If I'm doing dry ground, if I get a hit, I mark it and come back to it. And then if you have a sluice that we have over there, you anchor it and water it and have a water flow going through it."
Soil dredgers, panning equipment and metal detectors fill his Jeep to track down those tiny flecks of elusive gold…although fellow prospector and friend Jim Allen scored with just a pan. As Jim told me, “There were a few flakes of gold. I had a big smile, like 'Hey I can actually do this!'" Is it that easy? Jim says, "In the right spot it is. You can only find gold where there's gold."
Wade adds a word of caution: "Expect to work hard until you find the niche of how to do it." But they both say it’s out there...more gold than what's been found. And if you find it, no matter how small it is, they say you'll never forget your first find. Jim tells us, "You're probably hooked before you get there, you want to find it. But when you see it, it definitely sets the hook."
Wade left us with one big piece of advice: “Don’t go out alone. Be with a friend, because if you turn an ankle, you need someone there to help you out."
There are boundaries and claims to consider too. There’s a great organization in town…Wade and Jim belong to the Comstock Gold Prospectors Club which meets in Sparks. To join up and learn from the pros, we have the link below: