After Placer gold was discovered in 1849, rich lode veins were opened in 1850 above the placer workings. Placer gold production is estimated at 2,415,000 ounces and lode gold at 2,045,700 ounces
The Calaveras River channel and all tributaries contain rich placer mines. In the Table Mountain area, placer material was also very rich. Located at township 3N and Range 10E, along with the Calaveras River, you will find the Jenny Lind District which had large scale dredge and dragline operations, with an estimated production of over 1,000,000 ounces of placer gold.
Camanche district, in NW part of the county, had a total production estimated at 1,000,000 ounces, along with the Mokelumne River there were huge bucket type dredge operations with rich placer gold. Campo Seco district, located at township 4N and 5N and range 10E, in the northwest part of the county, had a total production around 70,000 ounces. All the area tributary stream gravels contain rich placer deposits. You will also find the Pern Mine, it was primarily a copper mine with a rich by-product of gold. Mokelumne Hill district located at township 5N range 11E. South of the Mokelumne Hill 2 miles you will find the Eclipse Mine, Infernal Mine, and other mines that were large producers of lode gold.
Angeles Camp had many area mines. The Keystone Mine, Lancha Plana Mine, and Union Mine were gold mines with a by product of copper. The Utica Mine and Gold Cliff Mine were major producers of lode gold. Melone’s gold mining district contained over 800 lode mines. Carson Hill was the most productive area and contained many mines with rich lode gold deposits. The Sheep Ranch Mine was a huge producer of lode gold. The Royal Mine was also a large producer of lode gold, with over 10,000 ounces of production.
Amador County was the most productive of “The Mother Lode” counties. This county produced approximately 6,500,000 ounces of placer gold and 7,700,000 ounces of lode gold. Mining continues today. The richest area in this county is about 1 mile wide across the west central part of the county from the south to the north. The Old Eureka Mine had the deepest shaft in America at 1,3500 feet deep and it was the largest producer in the mother lode in the early days. The Kennedy Mine, Argonaut Gold Mine, and Keystone Mines were also large gold mines in the same area. Nowadays, Amador County is famous for it wineries.
BIG INDIAN CREEK: Sizable dredging and drift operations between 1850 – 1950 produced about 100,000 ounces of placer gold near Fiddletown along Indian Gulch which goes into Big Indian Creek. Big Indian Creek is said to contain Placer gold in large quantities. Around the Plymouth area is said to be rich.
DRY CREEK: Off of the beaten path is Dry Creek. It might be worth the hike in. Dry Creek is known for pickers and chunky sized gold.
COSUMNES RIVER: Close to the town of Plymouth, in the west central part of the county there were many placer operations that produced tens of thousands of ounces of placer gold. The Loafer Hill mine, near Oleta, had several small gravel deposits that produced well.
JACKSON CREEK: Near the town of Jackson, you will find the Gwin Mine, it produced lode gold in masses of crystallized arsenopyrite. These are great specimens. Jackson Creek reportedly contains placer gold.
MIDDLE FORK OF THE MOKELUMNE RIVER: Hydraulic operations were located on this river that produced considerable placer gold.
NORTH FORK OF THE MOKELUMNE RIVER: Hydraulic operations were located on this river that produced considerable placer gold. Near Volcano, in the west central part of the county around Jackson Gulch and Ranchero Gulch, there were some very rich placer deposits.