How To Pan For Gold
Whether you're hoping to strike it rich or just get out and spend a day river-side, gold panning can be rewarding in both aspects. Technique is everything, but otherwise panning for gold is relatively simple - you are trying to re-create what nature does herself by concentrating the heaviest materials (gold) to the bottom of your pan. All you'll need is a gold pan and a river, but optional items include a small bottle for storing gold, a magnet for removing magnetic black sand, a snuffer bottle for removing fine gold flakes from your pan, a shovel and pick.
First thing to keep in mind is your location. Pick a spot where the water flows fast enough to keep murky water from obstructing your view of the pan. Fill your pan about 3/4 full of gravel, and place it just under the surface of the water. Shake your pan vigorously side to side and back and forth, this step eliminates the larger rocks. No need to be gentle, just make sure not to lose the material in your pan. Change from the shaking motion to a gentle circular movement - this process will cause most of the dirt and clay to dissolve and wash out of the pan. Now hold the pan just under the water and tilt it slightly away from you - swirl the water from side to side, with a slight forward tossing motion. Be gentle, yet use sufficient force to move the surface and the lighter gravel out over the edge of the pan. At this point, levelling the pan from time to time, removing it completely from the water and shaking it back and forth will draw light material to the surface and expose the gold on the bottom. Continue swirling and checking the pan for nuggets, for finer pieces use your magnet at the bottom to separate the gold from the black sand or snuffer bottle to pick up finer pieces. Once you've collected all the gold from your first go, repeat these steps until satisfied.