Fine Gold Sluices and Fine Gold Panning


I’m So Fine… So Treat Me Special

While I have written on the subject many times, I simply wanted to stress again that “One shoe doesn’t fit all”.  In the same light, one setup or energy level (exchange) doesn’t capture all sizes of gold.  Whether I’m talking to a brand new panner or a commercial op running 300 yards and hour, it’s a basic concept that must be learned, and a lot of it has to do with your ability to SEE IT… UNDERSTAND IT… and FEEL IT.

FlowPan Example…

Recently in a class on the FlowPan I was stressing the MINDSET of getting softer and smother. Not using so much ENERGY in the way of flow and exchange to move material out of the pan.  Our focus was very fine gold and I wanted the ‘students’ to understand the feeling of working material in a SOFT manner.  This really didn’t mean SLOWER… just softer.   We didn’t want to see RIPPING flows through our pans, but instead a soft exchange that allowed the super fine gold to remain in the pan while the JUNK… (non-gold material) was cleared out.
I wanted them to be VERY aggressive while SHAKING and settling the gold (stratifying) but when it came time to work out the junk, I want them to use caution and soft flows.  Getting the gold to SETTLE is pretty easy. Moving out the other junk takes a FEEL and an EYE.  Remember… IF YOUR PAN CLEARS OUT THERE’S NO REASON TO TURN IT INTO THE FLOW.  In the video below you’ll see them quickly pick this up.

Sluice Examples…

We’re very patient with prospectors and miners and their lack of vision or understanding of sluices. In fact we have devoted YEARS and many videos to help explain it better, but still is a long learning curve. They really have to take the time to STUDY their sluices and have the GUTS to do things outside the norm, which takes time and some “playing around”.  Many times commercial ops lack this luxury, they simply need a sluice to WORK or for us to solve a loss problem.

I was asked the other day, “If you could only give one piece of advice to a miner on their sluice and fine gold, what would that be?”   Great question… but I think I have to give a few points not just one.

If I had to give just one, it would be to watch the Proportional Force video below. It’s a “college course” on your gold sluice and once you GET THAT… you can diagnose the issues of ANY sluice system.

But also…

1-      Vary the exchanges in your sluice by changing things such as WIDTH, WATER DEPTH, PITCH, and CAPTURE SURFACES.  Every highbanker we offer is designed around this basic principle.  If your sluice is the same all the way down… you are stuck in 1970’s technology and you need to “TAKE THE COURSE”.

2-      If running in an area that is loaded with fine gold, make sure you have a FINISHING section in your sluice system that is strictly devoted to fine gold.  Example: The extension on our Raptor Flare. It’s solely devoted to nothing but 50 – 200 mesh gold.

3-      The smaller the fish… the smaller the hook.  Same with gold. If you working mainly fine gold, then make sure your sluice has SMALL capture zones. Again, if you’re running traditional metal riffles, you’re trying to catch a Crappie with a Marlin hook.

Many people have come up to me in the past year and said “Hey Doc… I’ve watched that Proportional Force video 2-3 times and it has REALLY helped.”  You should do the same as well.

Get some popcorn… block off some time… and watch.

Other Good Reads related and learning to fine gold sluices.

Incremental Processing in Mining

Catching Fine Placer Gold – Part 2

Tuning Your Gold Sluice – Part 2





  1. Just reviewing all of your great videos, and have a question regarding Gold Cube (Feb. 1, 2012) video. Do you still regard the Cube as the last best step to separate out the fine gold, OR would you suggest the Mini-Sluice and then finishing with your latest No-Swirl Panning technique (Feb 8, 2018), or do you still use the Georgia Swirl (Nov. 11, 2011)?

  2. Doc or any prospector in the area… I’m heading into Colorado the 2nd week of August 2018! Hitting banks and lower creek beds looking for all that was left behind and do have a few questions.
    Area working: BLM Permit area(s) plus a few open areas.
    Equipment: (1) Multi sluice, (2) Pan Hogs, and some additional support digging items.
    1. What metal detection equipment do you recommend using?
    Was thinking the Fisher Gold bug 2 with 6” disc…

    2. Any ideas as to how to work this area or tips of locations?
    I plan to spend more time creating con’s and processing at home
    I have several locations mapped out, but interested in past performers

    3. I’ve watched so many videos… but know that I will never know everything!
    So… if you care to add, please do share

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