To start a gold panning exercise, you surely should have knowledge on properties of the metal and historic information. But the ultimate decision making is in your hands. You are the one who would take decision in selecting the pan, selecting the location and approach towards commencing and executing the panning process.
Simple gold panning steps
In simple terms, gold panning has two distinct steps. First is selection and finalization and second is executing. People who perform panning as a hobby cannot afford to go after areas with traces of gold. As more than the gold they would find, would be the cost of finding it out. So the net result would not be positive. Instead the ideal approach would be to identify and look for areas that if dug up could have better percentage of gold to make up for the efforts.
How the place or location should be spotted is another concern. Gold deposits keep moving and change their location with time. If you are searching near the river bed, it should be learnt that gold moves along the inside bend of the river. So it is not necessary that if history gives a particular location, then even today you can locate it at the same spot. But if you follow this simple concept of movement of deposit, you can spot the current location or area of the same deposit.
Gold panning really tests your patience. Every time you are giving a test in terms of your judgement and consequent actions. Who knows which action of yours is right or wrong, till you get deep beneath the earth? But you got to keep your calm and keep performing. Not everyone gets to it at first try itself. But there have been examples of people who after trying for several times have actually got their hand at gold deposits.
Sequential tips for gold panning
When you dig up, get some gravel on your pan to see if there is any sign of gold once you reach the bedrock. But remember to remove larger rocks from the pan; else it would obstruct your work.
Then rinse the gravels to separate the gold particles. Ideally, the pan should be dipped in the water and shaken in a manner that none of the gravels or rocks fall of. This motion would separate the gold particles easily.
It is always to be remembered, that such separation procedure could be used at the bedrock level. But as you go deeper, the procedure gets tougher. It would be more time consuming, as majority of the rocks and gravels will have to be filtered, and you get down to a few sand particles, that are then to be separated from the gold particles which is tougher than separating it from the rock particles at the bedrock. If you are lucky, you might also get gold in the form of flakes that can be easily separated.
But the point is that every pan of yours might not be gold, so you should not stop searching. You might get lucky anytime.