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One of my wives best friends (Dennis) lives in Michigan and he always tells us about the great fishing there. If I were him, I would do a little prospecting while I was fishing. While gold mining in Michigan will never rival automobiles as an industry, it has produced over 29,000 ounces of gold mostly form low grade ore. It is questionable if any significant amounts could be recovered today, but even small specimen from this state would commend a high premium from a collector. The first state geologist discovered gold in the Upper Peninsula sometime in the 1840's. About 1880 a quartz vein with gold was discovered and mined until 1897. That was the extent of the gold mining in Michigan. The general area is considered to be between 3 and 5 miles northwest of Ishpeming. Local inquiry is advised for very little in mining books covers this area. It is known that there were several mines which had very shallow ore, that it was free milling type and it was about .25 ounces per ton.

Reported By: John Freiheit

I asked for rules and required permits at the St. Ignace station and was informed by Ranger Joe Hart, who is in charge of special use permits, recreational panning and prospecting is allowed with no permit required, but he would like to be informed before any dredging operations are undertaken. This applies to all of Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula. At the local DNR post none of the officers knew of any permit requirements. Of all the state and federal officers and employees only Ranger Hart was not astonished that I would even ask about prospecting for gold in this area. I have only found a very small amount but with more time in the field and metal detecting. Like all other prospectors I have high hopes.

Allegan County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth


In the Allegan area most of the streams have very fine placer gold in them.

Antrim County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Antrim River

All along the Antrim River in the gravel deposits you can find placer gold. Sometime sizable nuggets have been found.

Charlevoix County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Boyne River

Along the Boyne River in the low water gravels placer gold can be found.

Emmet County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Little Traverse Creek

Along the Little Traverse Creek and its tributaries gold can be found. It is sometimes 5 or 6 colors per pan.

Grand Traverse County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth


Around Walton in the area creeks, in the low water gravel bars, some very fine placer gold can be found.


by Tom Ashworth


This county has numerous placer deposits.

Grand River

The Grand River Below Lyons is said to contain gold and diamonds.

Reported by: Rudy Evonich

The Grand River runs through the Portland State Game Area which is located south of Portland off of Charlotte Highway. The gold here is a result of glaciers and where it can be found is often unpredictable. I have found a couple of spots that produced up to 3 colors per pan (don't laugh, in Michigan that's not bad). The biggest flake I have found yet in this are was about 3mm. I use my 4" Bazooka and enjoy dredging there, but Michigan has no dredging permits (not yet), so you need to keep a low profile. I have never heard of anyone being fined for panning or sluicing, but when using a dredge you need to use some common sense and find an out of the way spot where no one is likely to stumble by.

Mapre River

Along the Mapre River there have been numerous placer gold deposits discovered.

Kalkaska County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth


The gravel bars along the Rapid River produce placer gold.

Kent County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Ada Creek

Along Ada Creek, in gravel bars placer gold is reported.


In the Area glacial moraines you can find pannable gold. Along the Grand River there are some localized mineral rich gravels that contain placer gold.

Leelanau County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth


In the area stream gravels around Solon you can find placer gold. North of Solon, along the shore and stream

Manistee County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Little Sable River

All along the Little Sable River you can find many placer deposits that contain gold.

Manistee River

At low water gravel bars in the Manistee River you can find placer gold.

Marquette County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

This is the best producing county in Michigan for gold.


All regional stream gravels and glacial moraine debris contain placer gold. Around T48N R27W there were some old area prospect pits that contain placer gold. West by Northwest from Ishpeming by 3 to 5 miles on the north side of the Marquette Range, in the NW 1/4 section 29, is the location of the Ropes Mine. It was the only major gold producer in Michigan. About 2.5 miles west of the Ropes Mine, in section 35 T48N R28W, is the Michigan Gold Mine. It produced some of the finest museum specimens of native gold, ore so rich that "high graders" made a practice of stealing it during the peak production years of 1890. Just west of the Michigan Mine, is the Gold Lake Mine. It also produced some fine native gold specimens. In the NW 1/4 section 35, just east of the Michigan Mine, is the Superior Gold Mining Company Mine. It had little production, but some excellent specimens were produced. In the SW 1/4 section 25, is the Peninsula Mining Company Mine. It produced gold in Granite. The Grummett, Swains, Mocklers, Grayling and Giant Mines were all prominent during the 1890's. Two miles northeast of the Ropes Mine, in iron ore formations that are rust colored you can find some pannable gold. North 8 miles for Ishpeming, is the Dead River District in the Dead River Valley, which extends north to Lake Superior and for several miles west. In the south range, of this district, is many productive mines that have a by product of gold. In the north range, a few area prospects have gold showings. In section 35 T49N R27W, is the Fire Centre Mining Company Mines, which produced free milling gold.

Montcalm County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth


In regional stream gravels you can find placer gold in the Greenville area.

Howard City

Around Howard City in the area streams you can find placer gold.

Newaygo County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Newaygo to Oxbow

In the Muskegon River, which runs diagonal across the county, you can find placer gold in all gravel deposits that are exposed.

Oakland County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth


Birmingham (hey I was born in a Birmingham, but that was Alabama) area creek and stream gravels contain placer gold.

Oceana County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Montague to Hesperia

Along the White River there are some placer deposits that contain gold.


In the Whitehall area most streams contain some gold.

Ontonagon County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Flat River

Along the Flat River there are many areas that produce placer gold.


The Victoria Copper Mine, has gold showings, with occasional nuggets of native gold.

Ottawa County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Grand Haven

The area stream gravels around Grand Haven contain placer gold.

St. Joseph County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

Burr Oak

The area stream gravels are said to contain gold around Burr Oak.


Around Marcellus the streams contain placer gold.

Wexford County Michigan

by Tom Ashworth

West Summit

Around West Summit, the local streambeds contain placer gold from a glacial outwash. In the Northwest part of the county, along the Manistee River you can find some placer gold as well.

© Mike Higbee's Prospectors Cache / Mike Higbee - mailto:49erMike@tomashworth.com / Revised