Joe Gault

Joe Gault is a gold miner in Idaho's fabled Boise Basin. He explains how he finds gold on public land.

"In the 1860’s you might be able to walk right down to that creek and make $300 a day. But that creek has been, shall we say, combed. I’m a professional miner, and I can’t find a speck around the creek."

“Gold is twice as heavy as the sinkers that we use for fishing. It’s heavier than anything else traveling in that water flow. Consequently, it’s all the way to the bottom. And all the way to the bottom is bedrock."

"When they got it down to bedrock, they moved the stream to the other side of this small valley here. But each time they threw their debris into the middle. That’s what this hump is right here. Every time that I’ve found this, and this spot included, the spot under the hump has never been touched."

"What that is, is black sand, which is ground up iron, rusting. That’s why we get the rust color. Black sand indicates the bottom of the barrel, and that’s where the gold is. And when you see rusty stains like that, a guy like me would pay serious attention. As long as the rust stain keeps going, I keep digging."

Watch an 8 minute interview with prospector Joe Gault, on how he finds gold in the Boise Basin near Idaho City.
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