Where are good places to look foe gold, and fish that are not pay to pan. Would like to spend a few days panning or using a high banker, also fishing and sightseeing, what wood be some good areas to do all three?
I read in campground brocure at Dawson City, YK. they will let you use a gold pan for free and you could pan for gold close to the campground. Want to try getting a little dust there. Can't be any worse than buying a lotto ticket.
Fairbanks just make sure you are not on someones claim. There are places that sell all the equipment and will tell you what parts of the river are open.
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So much of the highway access areas of northern Canada and Alaska have been worked numerous times over the last 100 years as you no doubt know. I had collected about 6 or 8 oz. of dust and small nuggets, over a 25 year time frame that I lived in Alaska. Some from the Nome area, some from the lower Yukon River, in the Ruby/Poorman areas and on the road from Fairbanks to Manley Hot Springs. Never tried down in the Hope area which was one of the earliest gold strikes in Alaska. Always thought about trying the Denali Hwy area but was usually too busy fishing to try. The Valdez Creek Mine, on the Denali Hwy, took out a lot of gold, about 20 years back but are now shut down. It was operated by one of the large Canadian mining companies for the US claim holders.
Suspect I made about 17 cents an hour for my mining work, before expenses. LOL But I enjoy just being outside doing most anything. I know where there is some serious gold deposits on the middle Koyukuk River, not too far south from the Hogatza mining region but the land is now corporation owned and not available.
Any gold bearing dirt is probably going to be claimed by someone. The area out around Chicken Alaska would be worth a look. Most of the ground has been worked by bucket dredges in the past. Get a set of claims maps from the registered governmental agency in either Canada or Alaska and a good GPS to track where you are and where the claims are located.
As I remember, outside of Dawson City, the town or the Territory has some property where they allow gold panning. Not sure what equipment they limit being used on the land. No idea if you can use a high banker or not, or if there is any water available to use for high banking.
I have watched the TV show about the miners working the beach in the Nome area and getting some color. Believe they ran some sort of camp where you could stay and pan, for a fee of course. Nome is a great place to visit, not my favorite place in Alaska to live though. Summer time is great there, weather wise though.
I had an advantage in that I knew many claim holder and could get often permission to be on their claims. Sometimes I would donate a few days labor to help them out, with the serious mining they were doing. Plus I enjoy running heavy equipment, especially crawler tractors. When many of the creeks were worked originally, the miners worked the richer deposits, generally located down the center of the creek bed. All over burden was dumped on the side of the creek. These days this is the area being worked in many cases so the old over burden has to be moved again to gain access to the gold under it. Not as rich as originally but still a lot of gold to be found by some.
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The story around the BC Hydro campground near Lillooet (BC) was that the neat piles of rocks beside the stream were produced by Chinese miners who systematically reworked gravels left by the first round of panning.
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You do get what you pay for. If it's free (like at Dawson) then there's no gold, or a couple of flakes if you get lucky. Where there's lots of gold for highbankers and dredgers, there's a fee - such as at Chicken: http://chickengold.com/recreational_gold_mining.html
You can pan for gold for free in certain ares of the headwaters of the Oyster river on Vancouver Island
in BC. I know of natives who have found dime size nuggets is the last couple of years. But they have
had information passed down to them from past generations and they still work hard for it. But the
fishing is terrific. Bring a ATV to get to where ever you want to get to. If no fish or gold you will see
some beautiful country that a lot of people will never see. Just go for it and enjoy.