From the MI state page. Please note this refers to MI STATE controlled lands.

Recreational Gold Panning and Sluicing on State Land

The Department of Natural Resources adopted rules aimed at making recreational gold panning and sluicing on state land accessible to outdoor enthusiasts.

Land Use Order of the DNR Director

Now, recreational gold prospectors have permission from the DNR to pan for gold on land where both the surface and mineral rights are owned by the state.

To find public land where the state owns both the surface and mineral rights — also referred to as “fee lands” — click on the Land and Mineral Ownership map to select a county for a map showing ownership rights.

Although a 40-acre parcel may be marked as state-owned, a number in the upper right corner of each parcel will show how much of the 40 acres is owned by the state. If only a portion is owned, contact the local Forest Resources Division supervisor for more information. Click on Forest Resources Division Office for contact information.

For the list of designated trout streams in Michigan, see Fisheries Order-210.08. For additional help in locating these trout streams, click on Maps for Inland Trout and Salmon Fishing to select an individual map. Designated trout streams are shown in color.

The best way to check for known mussel beds is to call the local fisheries supervisor in the area where you wish to pan for gold. Click on this link to DNR Fisheries Management Units for more information.

DEQ – Michigan Mining, Minerals page





  1. Hello Michigan gold diggers.spring is here, thought I’d get some discussion going in our area.

  2. I’ve got everything prepped and ready to go!! Still waiting to try out me newly built highbanker till the lows stop dropping into the 30’s at night

  3. I’m in Lowell, MI and work in Grand Rapids. I am so ready to get my stuff out and try my new highbanker creation. I have several hog mats ready to test once I dare to run water outside through my new pumps

  4. I’m going to give the sluice I’ve been building a test run today. I live in Marne. Your name is familiar, are you on MS or IS?

  5. The LDMA Athens Michigan Camp is having a Cleanup November 2nd through the 4th. We will provide meals while working and offer a One day pass to be used anytime next season except on our National Outing for each day you work. Please RSVP if you’d like to join us, so I can enough food for everyone.

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