Gold in the West: Idaho (Part 3)

(Number 094 is the Morse Creek gold placer area.)

Clearwater County

Despite the fact that Clearwater County was a modest gold producer historically, the County contains numerous placers. Many of these are not just the usual streambed workings, but some of the best areas to work can be found in bench gravels that lay hundreds of feet above existing streams. If you are in the area you may want to try Morse Creek (see the map at the beginning of this post) or Kelly Creek since these two streams are located in the middle of the richest gold ground.

Extremely rich gold placers were once worked near Pierce, Idaho along Oro Fino ("fine gold" in Spanish) Creek. As always, if you are checking things out here be on the lookout for gold claim and private property notices and don't trespass or claim jump. Needless to say, the locals may take this the wrong way and you may end up persona non grata.

Custer County

Custer County was a prolific gold producer with a recorded production figure of nearly 350,000 troy ounces. Commercial mining (placer and lode) continued here through the late 1800s right up until the late 1950s.

Nearly 40,000 troy ounces were recovered from lode mines and placers in the Loon Creek District. Your best bet in working this area is probably going to be along Loon Creek near the old gold mining ghost of Casto.

The Stanley Basin in Custer County contains many streams and creeks that produce decent gold values. Particularly rich placer deposits exist along the Salmon River near Clayton. You might also try Stanley Creek where the Willis Placers have long been noted for excellent placer gold potential.

(Note: If you head for the Stanley Basin be sure and sample any bench or terrace gravels above existing streambeds. They can hold surprisingly good gold. J.R.)

The Yankee Fork Gold District is in the northwest part of Custer County. Named after the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River the District produced over a quarter million troy ounces of placer and lode gold. The best placers (including bench gravels) can be found from the mouth of Jordan Creek to Yankee Fork.

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Elmore County

Nearly 500,000 troy ounces of gold were produced in Elmore County with a substantial amount of that placer gold. The best areas to work are found in the northeastern part of the County, especially along the Middle and South Forks of the Boise River. Don't bypass the bench placers along the South Fork of the Boise since they contain decent gold values as well.

The Atlanta District was another big gold producer in Elmore County, topping out a nearly 400,000 troy ounces. Nearly ever stream, creek, and drainage in the Atlanta District carries color, so take your pick.

Near Arrowrock Dam, a bit north and west of the community of Mayfield, lies the Neal Gold District. The District is recorded as having produced over $2,500,000 in lode and placer gold, with many of the most productive placers found along and in existing creek beds.

If the Neal District doesn't do it for you, try your hand along Bear Creek in the nearby Rocky Bar District. The Bear Creek placers were once quite rich and still hold good gold potential for savvy miners.

That's it for this round. Best of luck to you all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Status of Mining Along California's N. Yuba River, September 2010 (Conclusion)"

(c) J.R. 2010

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