Gold in Nebraska comes from two primary sources. To the west, rivers draining rich gold ground in Colorado and Wyoming enter the state, carrying small amounts of fine placer gold. These gold sources are a good distance away, so donít anticipate large nuggets. Nonetheless, very fine gold particles can be moved downstream, and deposits of gold can and do reach Nebraska. To the east, receding glaciers that once covered much of the Midwest deposited small amounts of gold, which included a small part of Nebraska in the far eastern edge of the state.
In the western part of the state, fine placer gold can be found in the North and South Platte Rivers. Probably the closer you get to the Colorado/Wyoming borders the better odds of finding gold will be, but folks have reported gold throughout the river. Also keep in mind that finding the old river may lead to ancient deposits that have been overlooked.
Read about Gold Prospecting in Colorado and Wyoming
Fine gold can also be found in the far eastern part of the state once covered by glaciers over 10,000 years ago. Rich gold bearing gravels were brought down from Canada and left behind as the glaciers receded. This gold is typically very fine textured and can be difficult to locate, but it is present in many areas.
Although larger flakes and small nuggets may be present, prospecting methods that will retain very small gold will yield the best results. Gold has reportedly been found in the Little and Big Nemaha Rivers, and could likely be found in many of the tributaries as well. It is likely that gold could be found in the Blue and Missouri Rivers also. Keep in mind that clays will often act as false bedrock; be sure to pan the gravels above the dense clay layers.
We got a good tip from one of our readers about some gold in southeastern Nebraska just south of the town of Stella. He has found gold in a creek called Muddy Creek, with most of the gold being fine textured and located in limestone or in above false bedrock of compacted clays. Gold has also been found in the same creek south of the town of Auburn.
Be sure to get permission from landowners before doing any prospecting on private lands, and check regulations to ensure that you are prospecting legally. It is always a great idea to join clubs to learn more about the hobby as well as get inside from local prospectors in the area. Now go get some gold!