How To: Gold Farming – Quartzville Creek, Oregon

How To: Gold Farming – Quartzville Creek, Oregon

This last week I went real life Gold Farming in the Quartzville Creek area about 30 miles North East of Sweet Home, Oregon. This is Southwest of Mt. Hood and no doubt if you could get high enough you’d be able to see it. It’s also west of Mt. Jefferson.

Mt. Jefferson

Quartzville Creek is a public gold mining area, meaning anyone can drive up and pan the water or dredge as much as they want. Dredging permits are required and are available through the State of Oregon, and the Bureau of Land Management Office. I believe the limits is seven pounds of gold per a day, and a limit of 14 consecutive days camping in the Quartville area. There are also hundreds of private claims around here so be careful of claim markers which are usually a white post with a piece of silver tape around the top. The silver tape should include the name of the claim, it’s serial number and basic description such as “North East Corner.” They may also include longitude and latitude lines.

By far the quickest and easiest mining method is the Gold Dredge.

Gold Dredge

The Gold Dredge consists of a simple gasoline motor and water pump. The intake hose is submerged under water and held down to minimize it pulling air. In this case it was also inside a submerged plastic bucket that helped reduce any contaminants from entering the hose.

Dredge Nozel

The suction of water through the dredge nozzle creates a vacuum effect. Running the nozzle across the bottom of the river picks up all sand, small rocks, and hopefully gold or other valuable minerals. Nozzle sizes range from one inch up to 12+ inches. In Oregon the largest size that can be used is 5 inches. Either way a lot of rock is moved in a very short amount of time. Even with unclogging the hose and nozzle from rocks that slipped in side ways, several cubic yards can be moved within a few hours.

Dredge Sluice

Particles in Dredge Sluice

As can be seen the sluice has multiple parts, the baffles which are the brass part laying on top. The green stuff is called “miner’s moss” and is a spongy carpet like thing. The sluice is angled so that the bigger rocks are washed out, but the smaller pieces including hopefully any gold nuggets and even gold flakes are caught in it. This duplicates the process found in nature, and is why it’s best to go on the downstream side of big rocks. Or as the pictures above, in the hollow formed between two bigger rocks.

Various Gold Pans and Screens

The last step is pan the gold. This is process is exactly the same as it was 100+ years ago back in the good old days. But the pans have changed dramatically. First they are made of plastic so that they actually float in the water and are slightly less likely to get lost. They come in several colors, blue and neon green are the most common as well as traditional black. Blue and neon Green are chosen as they are not found in nature and help the gold stand out more when you’re panning for it.

The screens in the picture above are 1/2 inch screens that fit over a 5 gallon plastic bucket. Everything from the sluice is poured into the screen and shaken about until nothing is left to fall through. 1/4 inch screens are available, but most people simply pan 1/2 and smaller. Before cleaning the screen be sure to inspect it for any large gold nuggets or ANY kind of obvious mineralization. Holding it up to the sun and looking from the bottom is a good idea.

After screening everything left in the bucket is panned out. Panning is actually pretty simple but takes some real practice to get right. Slowly use the river to put water in the pan, do not worry too much as gold will almost always settle to the bottom. Swish the pan around then slowly scrape out the top layer of rocks and dirts. Repeat again and again until pretty much old sand remains. If you’re lucky you’ll find some bigger pieces of gold at this point.

Slowly and carefully pan the remaining sand. Hopefully you will be seeing mostly black sand and maybe even a few flakes of gold at this point. If so this process can be repeated until just gold is visible. If you’re impatient though, a gold wheel will actually do this process for you. But it’s only recommended if you’re coming up with a huge amount of black sand.

At this point I’d like to show you a picture of the gold I did find. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any due to a combination of equipment failure and possibly just not being in a good location despite all our searching. Keep in mind that gold is where you find it. There are many places that possibly hold gold, but not all do.

No Responses to “How To: Gold Farming – Quartzville Creek, Oregon

  • Where did you purchase the dredge head nozzle? Thanks!

  • theres a few stores in oregon that specialize in prospecting equipment and metal detector sales i am in the portland area so i usually go to d-k nugget which is a great place to find whast your looking for they even have a great selectyion of maps and informational books for sale

    check out, join for free and you can learn and share lots of info in the forums or the members chat. my name in the oregon gold hgunters forum is lucasmorter13

    • Unfortunately, D-K does not always have the greatest reputation. While knowledgeable, they are very pushy salesmen and their prices can be higher then other places. I’ve been in at least four other prospecting stores now and they’ve all said to stay away from them, usually with a grimace of disgust. This is in addition to my own experiences which have universally been bad, and several other people I’ve talked too.

  • Last time I went to DK, ” VERY UNPLEASANT ” I was with a friend . Friend said ” He is an as….. . Arrogant , rude , nasty . deserves to be ” out of business . If ” EVERYBODY ” quits shopping there – they will be out of business . ? ? ? ? ? where is another place in Portland area to buy the stuff ? ? ? ?

    • In Portland, none that I know of. I know of Renegade in Scappose, there is supposedly a place in Vancouver some where, and there is a nice shop in downtown Sweet Home near Quartville Creek that is run by a very nice lady. Way down in Grants Pass is another very nice shop too. I apologize the names of the Sweet Home shop and the Grants Pass shop escape me currently even though I’ve spent a lot of money in both.

  • the one in grants pass is the( armadillo mining shop)
    and the one in sweet home is the (oregon prospectors supply)

  • I have bought some things at armadillo and they are nice to work with…

  • I am looking for a dredge pump 4×3 and some floats for 5″ dredge

  • There is a new mine shop in molalla

  • This setup, plus two more are currently for sale. We’re upgrading to a bigger hose to work the claim that we have.

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