Vermont Prospecting

March 1, 2012 in: Gold Locations, Prospecting Outings

Since we’ll be holding Little Dig III in Vermont this June, I found some possible locations for gold. If anyone has had any luck in these areas let me know. We will be camping at Mountain View Campground in Morrisville on the Lamoille River.

Lamoille County Vermont

The most promising areas to prospect in Lamoille County are: Gold Brook, Little River and West Branch of Waterbury River near Stowe, Rattling Brook near Belvidere, the First Branch of Lamoille River near Cambridge, the Gihon and North Branch Rivers near Eden, the Lamoille River near Johnson and Sterling Brook near Morristown.


38 Responses to Vermont Prospecting

  1. jim Renauld says:

    Hi Jim,
    Anissa and I will be going to the June Little Did III in VT; can’t wait! have you been to this campground before? where do you recommend that we get a tent site if available? also do I need a permit to use a sluice? and just one more question; do you think that we’ll be digging near campground or driving to the dig sites along the river? I looked at the river on google Earth and it looks great. Thanks in advance for your reply 🙂
    Jim Renauld

  2. jim Renauld says:

    I just saw your other link for permits in VT, scratch that question, thanks

  3. Francois Ledoux says:

    A few years back I had gone gold panning on the Smokeshire branch of the Williams river in Gassetts, Vermont (Smokeshire Road off Rt 103) which over the years has yielded a fair amount of GOLD. Be sure to ask permission from the abutting land owners who are quite friendly providing you leave the area clean. I had met a young couple who’s morning find was about 2.5 oz. Unfortunately they had been shredding the moss from stream bank boldders which is quite illegal. Strange how they dissapeared rather quickly when they saw me watching them. LOL :<)

  4. Larry Slicer says:

    I saw your post about the young couple shredding the moss.
    What is shredding the moss

    • jacobpan says:

      Moss acts like a gold trap, but shredding it off boulders that are along the riverbank is not a good practice and usually illegal. You might find some moss in the woods next to a stream that also holds gold. But again, be very conscious of any harm you may do to the riverbank.

  5. Debbie says:

    Is there anymore info on the Big Dig 111? Can anyone join in?

    • jacobpan says:

      It’s BIG DIG IV this July. And it’s open to anyone that wants to come up and do some prospecting. If you plan to camp, be sure to contact Twin River Campground soon, it’s filling up quick!

  6. Francois Ledoux says:

    Thanks Jacobpan, please excuse my french, I mispelled “boulders”. I had read an article in the Vermont Life magazine a few years back about an old timer named Harris who as a boy used to pan the Williams River with his grandfather Sunday afternoons after farm chores were done. With a flat bar and sledge hammer they used to open cracks in the (shale) bedrock, scoop out the mud and pan it. Harris claimed that they used to take out 3 to 4 ounces an afternoon. However, GOLD back then was about $20.00 an ounce. Big money! However, I’ve yet to find flake there. Seems to me there was a gold mine nearby. (private land) I pan and dredge placer gold in souther Quebec gold belt between Magog and Thetford Mines, but it is very very fine flour gold.
    Several years back a young girl tending her father’s cows found a goose egg sized gold nugget. But that land is now all owned by Bowmore Corp.

    • jacobpan says:

      Wow, 3-4 oz in an afternoon!!! Those were the days I guess. I’ll have to look into the Williams River area. Heading up to VT soon so that might be worth checking out, thanks!

      • Francois Ledoux says:

        Hello again! If you pan the Smokeshire, a bit of advice. Leaving Rte 103 on to Smokeshire Road you’ll cross five small bridges, these bridges are planks cross wise with boards lenth wise for the wheels. (unless ofcourse they may have rebuilt the road since I was last there) I understand the gold pickings are fairly good beyond that point. You would get a fairly good idea of the topographical layout of the river on Google Earth. Good Luck

      • Francois Ledoux says:

        Smokeshire Road is up Rte 103 half way between Chester,VT and Proctorville.on the left going North…….GPS co-ordinates for Smokeshire Road are: N by West

      • Francois Ledoux says:

        Just an after thought, if you type in “Gassetts, Vermont” on Mapquest you’ll get a much better satelite image of the Williams River and Smokeshire Road just north of Gassetts

  7. Linda says:

    Yea permits in vt to run a sluice box is unreal so I go to Nh. I’ve paned a lot in the last six years.And I have several sluice boxes,and a gold wheel.Good luck its hit or miss.

  8. jacobpan says:

    Peter, thanks for the comment. Our digs are open to anyone. We get a lot of prospectors at all levels of experience.

  9. jacobpan says:

    Debra, the best way to get into prospecting is to find someone that has some experience and go up to the river with them. It’s all about technique, especially panning. You can also find lot of great videos on YouTube on panning and sluicing. If you are interested in taking a class, we offer them also.

  10. joel says:

    the gold in the news paper where Harris claimed that they used to take out 3 to 4 ounces an afternoon. is true BUT that is before 3 hurricanes that coverd it in many many feet of overlay. he said it would take heavy equip to get to it now.i have been there dug a 5ft hole found a few microscopic specs of gold

  11. jeff says:

    I am a vermont native and have been prospecting for two years now. Let me tell you that there is plenty of Green Mountain glitter if you know where to look. A good spot for newbies to start is Buffalo Brook, just behind Echo Lake in Plymouth. This is home to the rook’s (fox’s) Gold Mine; site of the largest gold rush in Vermont history. For the more experienced prospector I would recommend Broad Brook, a rather small brook that winds it’s way through both Bridgewater and Plymouth. I have had luck finding roughly a half gram/hr. This is also a great place for the gem hound as it is packed with garnets… Where my sweet spot is I shall never tell lol but its there i promise. Make sure to use google earth to plan your trip ahead of time as a vast majority of the brook is baren (look for sharp banks and drop offs in water velocity). Any questions feel free to email me @
    Also let me know when this year’s dig (2014) is as I would like to join.

  12. brian says:

    can you please tell me how i can tell if gold is real or fake? an does gold mix with granite like it does with quartz?
    thank you Brian.

    • jacobpan says:

      Brian, gold does not reflect light, it is not shiny. It is just a pure yellowish color (usually) and will not break it you try to crush it. An it can be mixed with just about anything, but usually quartz. Here is some info from the web:

      “Gold is usually found in what is called “intrusive” veins. When there is a crack in the earth, molten material such as quartz rises into and filling the cracks then solidifying. This quartz material brings up the gold (also in solution) which is embedded inside the quartz. In many places the quartz “intruded” granite. Many times the gold can concentrate in what is called the “contact zone” where the quartz touches the granite and the gold lies in between. Gold has also been found in slate, such as the largest ever found came out of a 800 pound slab of slate in Austrailia. The shiny stuff you often see in granite is usually mica, a type of silica. You can find pyrite in granite, but its more rare to.” (thanks to Goldpanner5 from Yahoo Answers for the info)

  13. brian says:

    how do you test gold to make sure its not pyrite? for i have what looks like gold in granite

  14. jacobpan says:

    Is the material in question smooth and angular, as opposed to round or course? Pyrite usually forms in cubes and us usually not yellow but a brassy color.


    SHINE: When you’re viewing fool’s gold with the natural eye, it will glisten, not shine. The edges will look sharp and it may separate in layers. Gold shines at any angle, not just when the “light is right”.
    HARDNESS: Get a piece of copper and try to scratch the copper with the gold. If it scratches it’s pyrite. Pyrite is harder than copper. If you do have real gold, be careful with this test. You wouldn’t want to damage a beautiful gold nugget!
    RESIDUE: Gold will leave a pure yellow residue while pyrite will leave a greenish-black powdery residue when rubbed against white porcelain.
    EDGES: Pyrite has sharp edges and gold has rounder edges. The shape of fools’s gold is a lot more angular.

  15. Greg Paulman says:

    I am looking for someone to show some Cub Scouts how to pan for gold in the Chittenden, Lamoille, Washington county area. If there is anyone out there who can help, please contact me at or call me at 802-777-7798.

  16. Brandon says:

    HI all,
    So I have a couple questions, and would love a little help from your collective experiences and knowledge. I have been panning around central Vermont and I don’t really seem to have any problem finding color. I normally have some color in most pans but it almost always comes in the form of flour gold or pieces about the size of a grain of pepper. So lately I have started to expand my search techniques and try cleaning bedrock and digging deeper looking for areas deep in the creek bed to either reach the hard pan or bedrock with the goal of finding larger “picker sized ” pieces of gold, So I guess my question is this; if I am so easily finding gold in the location that I am in and if all the conditions seem right IE there’s exposed quartz and smoky quartz everywhere, along with rusty quartz and bedrock, should there be pickers there ? If there is pepper sized gold in the creek does that mean that there are larger picker sized pieces as well? Any help would be great!!!

    Thanks and good luck

    • jacobpan says:

      Brandon, thanks for the post. I would think that wherever you are finding decent color, that there should be larger occurrences of gold in that same area. You may just need to did deeper. If you get to bedrock or clay and still nothing larger, then move on to another area. There are others that may have better advice that are more experienced in Vermont! Good luck!

  17. Brandon says:


    Wow that was fast haha!! Thanks for the advice. Yeah that was basically my intuition as well but I have yet to come up with any pickers. I don’t think anyone has panned the area that I am in because its a tributary to some rivers that do have placer gold in them and more importantly I haven’t seen signs of anyone else panning nor have I seen anyone else there. I have been finding almost all of my fine gold right near the surface like within the first 6 inches or so on inside bends, However like I said I have started to want to find something larger which has brought my search out and cleaning bedrock. I don’t want to say its been frustrating because I am happy to just find gold but in a way it has been frustrating to not find any pickers. I have cracked bedrock, I have dug trenches out on the weak side of flowing water and I have found long crevices that run parallel to the stream where I can clean them all the way down to bedrock and still nothing which has led me think that either I am looking in the wrong spots or that just because there is gold in the creek it doesn’t mean that there are pickers in the creek. Once again any advice and help would be awesome !!!

    Thanks all and good luck

  18. Brandon says:

    Yes on numerous occasions. Just yesterday I was at a spot that has a very strong sharp series of “S” turns and I concentrated my search just off the center of the creek on the weaker side that was just behind the first inside bend and in what would almost be a straight line off the first bend to the tip of the second bend ( if that makes any sense ). When I was there I moved a bunch of big rocks and build myself a river rock sluice and dug down through probably a foot and a half of overburden down to the bedrock that consisted of plenty of nooks and crannies to crevice in and clean all the mud and silt from. While I was there I found a few colors but nothing bigger than a flake of pepper. and nothing came from on the bedrock either. So needless to say I am a little baffled. Oh and I went down just below that and dug out a portion in the middle of the creek where it flows straight after the “s” turns, and there is a long crack in the bedrock that runs parallel down the middle of the brook and once again only one color and not from right on the bedrock. I’m stumped, like I said its great to find color easily on the banks but in the quest for something a little larger I feel like I am looking in the right places but nothing is there.

    Thanks again

  19. jacobpan says:

    Could be it has already been cleaned out…? Vermont has been getting hit hard in the past couple years…ever since Irene came trough. You might try asking around on the Facebook group I sent you an invite to.

  20. Brandon says:

    Yeah it could be, the area was probably torn apart by Irene. I certainly will ask around, I already joined that FB group !!

    Thanks again !!


  21. David Tharaldson says:

    Sometimes there aren’t larger pieces of gold in some streams. The way I understand it is it depends on the chemical difference between the gold and the surrounding bedrock. You get the biggest nuggets where the acidic gold comes in contact with an alkali bedrock. The difference in PH helps to precipitate the gold out of solution. That’s what makes sense to me.

  22. lori berens says:

    I say go up higher on the banks brandon JMO

  23. Nicole says:

    What about 2015? Are u planning go anywhere? If yes can we join you?

  24. Rich says:

    Does the falls of Lana hold any gold up around Lake Dunmore , VT

  25. Bern says:

    would really like some help where to look