It’s here! The special highbanker dredging process explained.

Another versatile method adopted by serious gold prospectors is through a highbanker. This is done by using a highbanker dredge and combines the principles of both highbanking and dredging to extract gold from waterways more efficiently. 


Multi-Purpose True Highbanker/Hopper 30″ Compact Sluice Box Kit

Here’s how the processes differ when using this method:


1. Equipment Setup:

  • In addition to the typical highbanker equipment, a highbanker dredge incorporates a suction nozzle or a suction hose. This nozzle or hose is connected to a water pump, which creates a strong suction to dredge material from the riverbed. You can see how all this connects together in the picture above and full specifications of some of the equipment needed can be obtained from the links in 3. below.

2. Location Selection:

  • When using a highbanker dredge, prospectors often target areas with a higher likelihood of substantial gold deposits, as this method can process larger volumes of material more rapidly.


3. Setting Up the Highbanker Dredge:

  • The setup is similar to that of a regular highbanker, with the sluice box, hopper, water pump, intake hose, and legs. However, the crucial addition is the suction nozzle or hose, which is positioned in the water and directed toward the riverbed.

4. Material Extraction:

  • Instead of manually digging and feeding material into the hopper, the suction nozzle or hose is used to vacuum material directly from the riverbed. This is a more efficient way to extract material and minimize manual labor.

5. Material Processing:

  • The material extracted by the suction nozzle or hose is transported to the highbanker’s hopper. From there, it enters the sluice box, where the gold is separated from the lighter material, just like in a regular highbanker.

6. Optimizing Water Flow:

  • Proper water flow management is crucial. Prospectors need to ensure that there is enough water for the suction nozzle or hose to operate effectively while maintaining an adequate flow in the sluice box to capture gold particles.

7. Rinse and Repeat:

  • As with highbanking, prospectors periodically clean out the sluice box to remove accumulated black sand and other heavy materials. The gold collected during this process is stored in a container.

8. Shutdown and Cleanup:

  • When finished prospecting, the highbanker dredge is shut down, and all equipment is carefully cleaned. Gold collected in the sluice box and other parts of the equipment is retrieved and stored.

9. Environmental Considerations:

  • Using a highbanker dredge often involves more intensive environmental regulations and permitting processes compared to standard highbanking. Prospectors must adhere to these regulations to protect aquatic habitats.

The primary difference between using a highbanker dredge and a regular highbanker is the method of material extraction. A highbanker dredge uses suction to remove material from the riverbed, making it more efficient for processing larger volumes of sediment. However, it also requires more equipment, and prospectors must be aware of and adhere to strict environmental regulations to minimize ecological impact.


Setting up a highbanker dredge involves a series of steps to assemble and prepare the equipment for gold prospecting.
Here is the sequence of processes in setting up a highbanker dredge:
  1. Selecting a Suitable Location:

    • Choose a location with a history of gold deposits or areas with favorable geological conditions. Ensure that you have permission to prospect in the chosen area and that you are complying with any relevant regulations.
  2. Gather All Necessary Equipment:

    • Collect all the equipment you will need, including the highbanker dredge unit, suction nozzle or hose, water pump, intake hose, sluice box, hopper, legs or sluice stand, and any required tools and safety equipment.
  3. Inspect and Prepare the Equipment:

    • Before assembly, thoroughly inspect all components to ensure they are in good working condition. Clean any dirt or debris from the equipment.
  4. Position the Highbanker Dredge:

    • Set up the highbanker dredge in a stable location near the water source. Ensure it is level and securely anchored to prevent it from shifting during operation.
  5. Connect the Water Pump:

    • Attach the water pump to the intake hose. The pump should be placed in a suitable location where it can draw water from the river or stream.
  6. Connect the Suction Nozzle or Hose:

    • Attach the suction nozzle or hose to the highbanker dredge unit. This is the component that will be used to vacuum material from the riverbed.
  7. Position the Sluice Box:

    • Set up the sluice box downstream from the highbanker dredge unit. The sluice box should be on a slight incline to allow for efficient material processing.
  8. Attach the Hopper:

    • Secure the hopper to the top of the highbanker dredge unit. This is where you will feed material into the system.
  9. Connect Water Flow:

    • Attach the intake hose to the water pump, and then submerge the intake end of the hose in the river or stream. Ensure that water flow is consistent and sufficient to operate both the suction nozzle/hose and the sluice box.
  10. Test the System:

    • Before processing material, run a test to ensure that water is flowing properly, the suction nozzle/hose is working effectively, and the sluice box is set up to capture gold efficiently.
  11. Prepare Material:

    • Start by digging material (sand, gravel, sediment) from the riverbed using the suction nozzle/hose. Direct the nozzle/hose towards the hopper, allowing it to be transported to the sluice box for processing.
  12. Monitor and Adjust:

    • Keep a close eye on the system as it processes material. Adjust the water flow, angle of the sluice box, and suction power as needed to optimize gold recovery.


  1. Clean Out the Sluice Box:

    • Periodically, stop the material feed to clean out the sluice box, removing any accumulated black sand or heavy materials. Collect any gold recovered during this process.
  2. Shutdown and Cleanup:

    • When prospecting is complete or you’ve obtained a satisfactory amount of gold, shut down the highbanker dredge system. Disconnect the water pump, suction nozzle/hose, and all hoses. Clean all equipment thoroughly.
  3. Store Gold and Equipment:

    • Safely store any gold you’ve collected in a secure container. Store all equipment in a clean and dry location to prevent damage and corrosion.
  4. Adhere to Environmental Regulations:

    • Ensure that you comply with all local environmental regulations and obtain any necessary permits for highbanker dredge operations.


Setting up a highbanker dredge can be a complex process, and it’s important to have a good understanding of the equipment and its operation.

Here is a YouTube video which shows you in detail the important aspects that you should know about this:-

Additionally, always prioritize safety and environmental responsibility when prospecting for gold.


What you need to know for gold prospecting trips in Canada

Planning gold prospecting trips in Canada can be an exciting adventure., but it requires careful preparation to ensure a safe and successful experience.

Canada has had a rich history of gold discoveries going far back to the early 1800’s with major discoveries being made in the Klondike region at the end of that century. The country currently ranks 4th worldwide in mine production of gold with major gold mines located in provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, and Nunavut. Mining operations vary from open-pit to underground and include both placer and lode mining.

In this article I will detail two ways that you can organize these trips either by going by yourself or with friends or alternatively with a tour operator who specializes in gold prospecting trips

gold prospecting trips

Here are some steps to help you plan for this


  1. Research and Choose Your Location:

    • Canada is a vast country with many gold-rich regions. Research and choose a specific location based on your preferences, budget, and the type of gold prospecting you want to do. Some popular regions for gold prospecting in Canada include British Columbia, Yukon, Ontario, and Quebec.
  2. Learn About Local Regulations:

    • Familiarize yourself with the mining and prospecting regulations in the area you plan to visit. These regulations can vary from province to province, so it’s crucial to understand the rules regarding permits, claims, and environmental practices.
  3. Obtain Necessary Permits:

    • Depending on your location and the type of prospecting you intend to do, you may need permits or licenses. Contact the appropriate government agencies to obtain the necessary permits and permissions.
  4. Safety Precautions:

    • Prioritize safety. Gold prospecting can be physically demanding and take you to remote areas. Ensure you have the right safety equipment, first-aid supplies, and communication devices. Let someone know your itinerary and expected return time.
  5. Equipment and Gear:

    • Invest in the proper equipment for gold prospecting, which may include:
      • Metal detector: To locate gold nuggets.
      • Gold pan and classifier: For panning and sorting gold.
      • Sluice box or highbanker: For processing larger amounts of material.
      • Shovel, pick, and digging tools: For excavation.
      • Camping gear: If you plan to stay overnight in the wilderness.
    • Don’t forget essential items like appropriate clothing, sturdy boots, and a GPS device.
gold prospecting trips

sluice box

6. Educate Yourself:

  • Learn about gold prospecting techniques, including how to identify potential gold-bearing areas, how to pan for gold, and how to use metal detectors effectively. Consider taking a prospecting course or joining a local prospecting club.

7. Transportation:

  • Decide how you’ll get to your prospecting location. Depending on the remoteness of the area, you may need a 4×4 vehicle, ATV, or even a helicopter for access.

8. Pack Essentials:

  • Pack essential supplies like food, water, camping gear, and any personal items you may need for an extended trip.

9. Connect with Locals:

  • Reach out to local prospecting communities, clubs, or online forums. Locals can provide valuable insights, tips, and even potential partners for your trip.

10. Environmental Responsibility:

  • Respect the environment and follow leave-no-trace principles. Minimize your impact on the natural surroundings.

11. Insurance:

  • Consider travel and equipment insurance to protect against unexpected events or equipment damage.

12. Emergency Plan:

  • Develop a detailed emergency plan, including contact information for local authorities and emergency services.


Gold prospecting tours in Canada are offered by various organizations and tour operators, particularly in regions with a rich gold mining history like the Yukon Territory and British Columbia. These tours are designed to provide participants with an immersive and educational experience in gold prospecting. Here are a few organizations and tour operators known for offering gold prospecting packages in Canada:

1. Goldbottom Tours (Yukon): Goldbottom offers guided gold panning tours in the historic Bonanza Creek area of the Yukon. They provide equipment, instruction, and the opportunity to pan for gold in a scenic setting.

Website: Goldbottom Tours

2. Gold Rush Campground and Prospecting (British Columbia): Located near the historic gold rush town of Barkerville in British Columbia, this campground offers gold panning lessons and equipment rental. They also have a gold panning competition.

Website: Gold Rush Campground and Prospecting

3. Pioneer Family Pools (Yukon): Pioneer Family Pools offers gold panning experiences in the Dawson City area of the Yukon. They provide lessons and equipment for gold prospecting.

Website: Pioneer Family Pools

4. Gold Fever Prospecting (Various Locations): Gold Fever Prospecting organizes gold prospecting trips and adventures in different locations, including British Columbia and the Yukon. They offer guided tours and gold panning lessons.

Website: Gold Fever Prospecting

5. Yukon Dan’s Gold Panning and Paydirt (Yukon): Yukon Dan’s offers gold panning lessons, tours, and even the option to purchase paydirt for practicing your panning skills. They are located near Dawson City in the Yukon.

Website: Yukon Dan’s Gold Panning and Paydirt

6. Tours by Locals: You can also find local guides and prospectors on the Tours by Locals website who offer customized gold prospecting experiences and tours in various regions of Canada.

Website: Tours by Locals

When booking a gold prospecting tour, be sure to research the specific offerings, location, duration, and cost of the tour, as well as any reviews or testimonials from previous participants. Additionally, inquire about any required permits or licenses for gold prospecting in the chosen area, as regulations can vary. These tours can provide an enjoyable and educational way to experience the thrill of gold prospecting while learning about Canada’s rich mining history.


Remember that gold prospecting can be physically demanding and may not always yield substantial results. It’s essential to have realistic expectations and enjoy the process and the outdoor experience, regardless of the amount of gold you find. Always follow safety guidelines, respect the environment, and adhere to local regulations to ensure a successful and responsible prospecting trip.


Helpful tips you will need regarding gold prospecting vacation packages

Gold prospecting vacation packages are a great way for beginners and enthusiasts to experience gold prospecting in a structured and guided environment. These gold prospecting tours typically provide equipment, instruction, and access to known gold-bearing areas.

Popularity for these vacation packages can vary from year to year and is influenced by a variety of factors, including economic conditions, travel trends, and regional interest in gold prospecting.


Here’s how to go about booking a gold prospecting package tour:


  1. Research Tour Operators:

    • Start by researching gold prospecting tour operators in the region you’re interested in. Many companies specialize in organizing these tours in gold-rich areas in the USA and Canada such as California and the Yukon. Also in similar gold-rich areas in Australia ( Kalgoorlie regions in Western Australia and Clermont Queensland as example )
  2. Read Reviews and Recommendations:

    • Look for reviews and recommendations from previous participants. Online forums, travel websites, and social media groups dedicated to prospecting can be valuable sources of information.
  3. Contact Tour Operators:

    • Use search engines like Google to look for gold prospecting tour operators in specific regions of  the country in which you are looking for gold prospecting vacation packages. You can for example use search terms like “gold prospecting tours in Western Australia” or “gold panning adventures in the Yukon.” Explore the websites and offerings of the operators you find.
    • Once you’ve identified a few tour operators that interest you, reach out to them directly. You can usually find contact information on their websites or through a simple online search. Ask questions about the tours they offer, the duration, cost, what’s included, and the level of experience required. Here are a number of tour operators that you could consider


Golden Prospecting Tours

Gold & Relics

Pirates Gold P:rospecting Tours


Prospecting Vacations

Gold Fever Alaska

Man with a Pan Gold Panning Tours


1. Travel Forums and Websites:

Check popular travel forums and websites such as TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, or Gold Prospecting Forums. These platforms often have user-generated reviews and recommendations for tour operators.

2. Prospecting Associations:

Consider reaching out to local or regional gold prospecting associations. They may have information on reputable tour operators in their areas or even organize their own group trips.

3. Social Media:

Join gold prospecting or mining-related groups on social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, or specialized forums. Members of these communities often share their experiences and can provide recommendations.

4. Ask for Recommendations: If you have friends or acquaintances who are into gold prospecting, ask if they have any recommendations based on their experiences.

5. Visit Local Visitor Centers: When you arrive in the area where you plan to prospect for gold, visit local visitor centers or chambers of commerce. They may have information about nearby tour operators and prospecting opportunities.

6. Check Online Directories: Some travel and adventure directories may list gold prospecting tours and operators. Websites like Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) or Adventure Travel News might be helpful.

7. Read Travel Blogs and Articles: Search for travel blogs and articles written by individuals who have gone on gold prospecting tours. They may mention the tour operators they used.

8. Contact Mining Museums or Exhibits: In regions with a rich mining history, there may be museums or exhibits related to mining. These places often have information about local gold prospecting opportunities.

gold prospecting vacation packages


Once you identify potential tour operators, be sure to contact them, ask questions about their packages, and carefully review the details of what they offer before making a booking. Additionally, check for reviews and testimonials to gauge the experiences of past participants and ensure the operator’s reputation aligns with your expectations.

  1. Ask About Equipment and Instruction:

    • Inquire about the equipment they provide. Some tours may include metal detectors, gold pans, sluice boxes, and other gear. Additionally, ask about the level of instruction and guidance provided, especially if you’re new to gold prospecting.
  2. Check Availability and Dates:

    • Confirm the availability of the tour on your preferred dates. Some tours may have limited spots, so it’s a good idea to book well in advance, especially during peak prospecting seasons.
  3. Review the Itinerary:

    • Carefully review the tour itinerary to ensure it aligns with your expectations. This may include details about the duration of the tour, the number of prospecting days, accommodations, meals, and any additional activities or sightseeing included.
  4. Pricing and Payment:

    • Understand the pricing structure. Some tours may have all-inclusive pricing, while others might have optional add-ons. Discuss payment options and any deposit requirements.
  5. Cancellation and Refund Policies:

    • Inquire about the cancellation and refund policies in case you need to change your plans. It’s essential to understand the terms and conditions before booking.
  6. Health and Safety Considerations:

    • Ask about health and safety measures, especially in light of any ongoing health concerns or travel restrictions. Ensure the tour operator has appropriate safety protocols in place.
  7. Booking Confirmation:

    • Once you’re satisfied with the details, ask for a booking confirmation that outlines all the specifics of your tour, including dates, locations, equipment provided, and payment details.
  8. Prepare for the Trip:

    • In the lead-up to your tour, make sure you’re physically prepared for the experience. Stay informed about the weather conditions in the area, pack appropriate clothing, and make any necessary travel arrangements.
  9. Travel Insurance:

    • Consider purchasing travel insurance to cover unexpected events that may disrupt your plans.


Gold prospecting vacation packages offer a convenient and educational way to explore the world of gold hunting. By carefully researching and selecting a reputable tour operator, you can maximize your chances of having a rewarding and enjoyable prospecting adventure.