October Dredging in Clear Creek (continued)

This is the output end of the dredging operation. You can see the large rocks washing down the center sluice. The small sand and hopefully, gold, travels down the outside boxes. Notice the height of the large rock in the background. It will be completely covered with water during spring runoff. At the discharge end of the dredge you can see the tailing pile that has built up during operation of the dredge. If you are going to dredge in a spot like this for several days, the tail of the dredge could have been moved to the right to discharge into the swifter current and then much of the tailings would be washed downstream. One day of operation with this dredge can produce a pile of tailings 10 feet in diameter and several feet deep. To make this dredge legal in Colorado without special permits, the diameter of the intake nozzle has been reduced to 4 inches.

runoffthumb.jpg (2567 bytes)

Notice the rocks in the center sluice

Cleanup of this dredge is shown in one of the pictures of the Alma trip. It will produce a large tub of concentrates. They will be washed out of the sluice into a square tub placed under the end of the sluice and then these will be worked out later after the trip is over or at the end of a workday.

Dredging can look easy

Working the shallow water is really easy work. During the summer, the close proximity to the road will draw a large crowd of spectators as this position is in open view from the road. The floating position is much the same as floating on an air mattress. The uninitiated spectator's could interpret this as a drowning though. When in this position, be sure that you move a little bit every now and then and maybe come up with a big smile and wave to them.
If there was very much current here, it would be impossible to stay in one position. This would be where the weight belt would be required to sink you to the bottom.

octclr6.jpg (40312 bytes)

Okay! It's your turn!

From the big smile you might think that a 2 ounce nugget just went up the suction line. Actually I think that it's because he is done for the day and is about to turn the nozzle over to me. Some people aren't as enthusiastic about working the 30 degree water as I am. I don't have air on my 2 1/2" dredge and I am always ready to put in more than my share of nozzle time whenever I get the chance to dive.

Return to Menu