Placer gold can be found throughout the state of Maine. Although some small lode deposits have been discovered, most of the gold will be found by panning and sluicing in the creeks and rivers. The western part of Maine is best known for gold mining, although small amounts of gold can be found throughout the state. Much of the placer deposits are very fine dust, and careful panning is required to contain to small gold. It is possible to find larger “picker” sized pieces of gold, as well as the occasional nugget
for the hard working gold prospector.
The following counties in Maine have each produced some gold: Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebeck, Knox, Oxford, Penobscot, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington.
Some specific areas that are well known for producing placer gold are listed below. Of course, there are certainly more areas that likely have gold bearing gravels, and further research will increase your chances of prospecting success.
Swift River and its tributaries in Oxford and Franklin counties
Sandy River in Franklin County
South Branch-Penobscot River in Somerset County
Gold Brooks throughout Oxford, Franklin, and Somerset Counties
Nile Brook in Franklin County
Kibby Stream in Franklin County
St. Croix River in Washington County
Chandler Hill stream (tributary to Sandy River)
Cupsuptic River north of Rangeley
Maine is much more “miner friendly” than some of its neighboring states, and actively welcomes and promotes gold mining as a recreational activity. At the time of this writing, no special permits are required for gold panning in Maine. Sluice boxes under 10 square feet in size, and
with a hose diameter of 4” or less are also permitted in Maine. These regulations are specifically worded for streams that have sandy, gravelly, cobbley substrates, and permitting may be required in areas that damage to vegetation or streambank soils may occur. As with most prospecting, if you are uncertain about specific rules, it is best to contact the appropriate agency for clarification. In Maine, contact the Division of Land Resource Regulation, Bureau of Land and Water Quality.