Nugget Shooters Hit It Big in Alaska

The Big Ones Keep Turning Up

So you thought exceptionally large gold nugget finds were a thing of the past? Not in Alaska, where the big ones keep turning up to detectorists, nugget shooters, and large and small-scale placer miners.

Many of these beautiful finds are taking place in areas where old bucket-line dredges worked gold-bearing gravels.The bucket dredges tended to work straight channels and paying material was often pushed or dumped to either side as they progressed forward. Savvy nugget hunters who work these tailings are, in many instances, having a field day. (NOTE: The detectors mentioned most often are the Minelab series and the Fisher Gold Bug 2.)

Here are just a few of the larger Alaskan nugget finds in troy ounces. Most of these have been found since 1983 (many medium nuggets of 1/4 ounce-3 troy ounces and "smaller" nuggets weighing less than 1/4 troy ounce are being recovered regularly in the more productive areas):

294 oz., near Ruby
122 oz., Ganes Creek
62.5 oz., Ganes Creek
42 oz., Nolan Creek
33.85., Ganes Creek
8 oz., near McGrath

Productive Areas

Notice how the name Ganes Creek keeps turning up in this list? Although by no means the only spot in Alaska that continues to produce large nuggets, it is one of the best known (and open to detecting, dredging, and highbanking for a fee). Other productive areas are near Chicken and Ruby, the Hammond River, Crow Creek, McGrath, and Moore Creek, to name a few. Like Ganes Creek, some of these areas can be hunted or mined on a "pay-as-you-go" basis. (A simple web search can provide you with additional details).

So if that golden dream is chipping away at your resolve or you are just plain tired of working your rear off all day for a pennyweight or two, perhaps an Alaskan adventure may be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe you'll come home with the find of a lifetime or, at the very least, with a larger nugget than you ever dreamed of finding in the Lower 48.

I know one thing.....late at night when my own bedrock dreams take hold, I can hear the call of the wild in my who knows? Maybe I'll see you on Ganes Creek.

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2008