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what equipment to purchase for small streams

I have moved to southern utah where there are many streams and lakes. Being retired money is somewhat tight and do not want to purchase equipment that will not do the job. I have seen the gold rush bucket and not to impressed and some small sluice boxes which makes it more confusing to say the least. Back in the late 50s we used a Mercury sluice box that sent electric sparks into the murcury every time gold or black sand passed over. We then would take the murcury and put it into a small can and put a cut potato over the top and cook it. The murcury vapors would go into the potato and leave the gold and black sand. Then we would put the potato into a pan of water and cook it into mash potatos and the murcury would be recovered. Needless to say EPA would never allow this and murcury is very hard to get these days. I am just looking for something that will recover as much gold as possible for the least amount of money, let say $100 bucks or so.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and hope everyone sees the shine in their pan. By the way, if you live in Arizona I can tell you were there is gold but it might just be a bit hard now to get to. Best of luck everyone.


They say we are just prospecting until you find an area that has some possible values then it turns to mining. Sounds like to start out you could get by with plastic gold pan/classifying screens and either pan or dry-pan if no water. If values are found depending on environment conditions you could go from there as for recovery methods :thumbup: As I'm sure you already know...that oro (gold) is not only found in and around agua (water) ! Best of luck to you and HH!


New member
You are looking to recover gold? Sounds like you already know where the gold is, and you just want to recover it for the least Amt of money.
I don't think you know where the gold is. So your question should be, How can I FIND gold for the least Amt of money. Once you find gold, then you can address the issue of recovery.
You are looking for something around $100.00.
I suggest that for this Amt of money, you buy a used portable sluice. Use the sluice to find color.
Once you find some good color, then you might want to invest more in recovery equipment. Like a metal detector, or a bigger sluice. Best wishes.


New member
For a low budget as you describe, start with a pan. Some places offer a "kit" with a pan, snuffer bottle, and a couple of classifiers (screens), maybe a set of tweezers and a small vial for your gold, for around $100. Of course, you will need some digging tools - a shovel, small pick, and a garden trowel, a long screwdriver for scraping out crevices, and perhaps a prybar. Scrounge up used, or buy, some 5-gallon plastic buckets. A "hand dredge" (crevice sucker) is handy for working bedrock cracks. They are easy to make your own out of PVC pipe - plenty of YouTube videos to DIY. Later, for about $100, you can invest in a small stream sluice. The LeTrap plastic sluice is very good at recovering small. fine gold, and can be had for about $99 new. Highbankers, If your stream is not reliable for water flow, or is seasonal, you would need to look at drywashers, which run material without water.