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New to Gold Detecting in Yuma Az area


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We just retired this year and own a place down in Yuma Az and have been wanting to get into metal detecting for gold once we got down here. I went out and bought a new Fisher Gold Bug detector and the book sucessful nugget hunting by Peter Heydelaar at the local detector shop here in Yuma, Detorres Detectors. Once home I began to read trough the gold bug owners manual and also the book which contains maps to many of the old placer mines located around the Yuma area and also Quartzite. I decided to try the Luguna mountain Placers for my first outing. My wife and I drove out using the map that was in the book only to discover that the land marks they were using were no longer there, one being "cools corner". We did manage to find the area after much wasted time driving way to far up the dirt road the wrong way. Once we did arrive at the Luguna mountians I turned on my goldbug and did some searching with no luck. The next day I returned by myself and drove up the road to a new location and tried searching in what appeared to be some old diggings and also a dried up creek bed bottom and sides but still no luck. Does any one know if this area still a place where gold can be detected ? Should I try my luck at another site such as the Dome placers or Pot Holes ? It may be that I am not using the gold bug correctly but not sure. Any help appreciated. Zukiguy

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You didn't say what you found, little bits of metal. boot tacks, etc. If you are finding these you will find a nugget when you get over one.Some people get lucky and find a nugget within a few days of 1st time detecting, Alot of people it will take up to a year before there 1st nugget surfaces. For every piece of gold you fine you will probably find a thousand pieces of trash.

All gold places you mentioned have gold, keep at it, persistance pays off. Your gold bug is a good machine, did you get the pro or gold bug 2?

The best thing you can do is to join a local club and attend some outings, you will find a great group of people here that are willing to help out a newbe.

welcome to the hobbie and good luck.

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the area you mention has been hit hard, as have most, but there is way too much ground there to ever be totally barren...usually there is plenty of bird-shot and iron in amonst the rare nuggie...if you were not finding junk you don't have the detector operating correctly...when your gold bug is tuned correctly you will have a faint, steady threshold. The treshold will niether rise nor fall with a steady sweep across the ground surface...any signal will be a hot rock, iron, junk or best of all gold...that detector will find very, very little bits of metal so look very, very close aat the rocks and stuff you find...

There are miles of drywash piles there...rake some tails down for the little ones and rake the headers down to get into undetected ground...with enough work you will find some...

good luck


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Keep your coil as low to the ground as you can, and be sure you over lap

your swings at least 50%.

Dig EVERY target!

Keep your sweep speed slow but cover as much ark as you can

without twisting your body to the point it is uncomfortable, other wise

you will not be able to detect for very long at a time.

Search every part of a hill that show's that water has been draining

through it, even the small one's.

In very thick brush or in areas with lots of large rocks where you can't

swing the coil as you would normally, push it down between the rocks

to get it as close to the ground as you can. In the thick brush place

the coil on the ground and just push it straight forward and backwards

to cover the ground instead of trying to swing it.

Find a map that outlines the " District " you are hunting in, then hunt the

area out side of it. Gold is not just " cut off " at some line on a map it can

extend for miles in these area's, just not enough to be of interest to someone

to start up a mine there.

You should have a large coil and a small coil for your detector. Use the larger

one to cover ground faster where it's more open and the smaller one where

not. But don't forget any of the above tips.

Don't give up just because you are not finding nuggets right off. You have to

earn them like all the rest of us, and that takes time.

Hunt the ridge tops and ANY flat areas on the sides of a hill no matter how small.

These tips should help you get started down the trail to find your Gold,there are

lots more of them that you will hear about or read about or learn on your own.

Good Luck

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Join a local prospecting club.

Some folks take years to find their first nugget with a detector.

Joining a club will give you access to proven claims, and better yet access to folks that can guide you.

A good dealer will offer training and information on local clubs.

Best of luck and just keep at it!!

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Thanks to all of you for your advice, I will use it on my next outing in the next day or so. We just had over an inch of rain here in the Yuma foot hills so i am thinking that I should give the ground a chance to dry out some before going back to the Lagunas. I plan to get out to the Potholes and also the Dome Placers and give it a go in both areas next week. Thanks, Dave

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Zuki you have very good advice above, if you don,t mind me asking why are you going all over the place,there is gold all around the yuma area.In my not so huble opinion, stay your efforts to one area at least till you get the detector down pat, this can and will take some time. A few new guys will stumble over there first gold, well they do not know there machine and it builds bad detectoring habits, Not ground balancing enough, going to fast, not overlaping the coil sweep and about 12 other things, Your enthusiasm is good don,t let it fade, Or that detector will end up in a closet in a few months collecting dust and sold for half of what you paid, That line is what happens to 90% of newby detectorist or prospectors,Join a local club be sure you like the members ,save the gas get used to the long walks, there is plenty of gold right there, Best of luck It,s a great hobbie most of the gold will be in new freindships and better health from all the hiking and fresh air

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Totally agree with Dennis....Focus on one area, stop trying to accomplish to much to quick. It took me 13 months to find the first one ( and I had help with that one ) Join a club , like SWPMA whom have a good deal of claims to hunt from the potholes , cargo muchachos(Jackson gulch area) araz wash...., all the way west to san diego county..... Trust me , im tellin the truth...

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Hey Guys, thanks again for the help and advice. I went out today to the Lagunas and spent the after noon detecting and found nails, bullets, small bits of metal, bottle caps and pull tabs but still no gold. I had fun though and have got the hang of the new gold bug some what, still a lot to learn about this hobby, but I have nothing but time on my hands. Planning on going out for the next several days and keep at it in that same area. Also will investigate the local club in Yuma and see what i can do to become a member. Zukiguy

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Hey Guys, thanks again for the help and advice. I went out today to the Lagunas and spent the after noon detecting and found nails, bullets, small bits of metal, bottle caps and pull tabs but still no gold. I had fun though and have got the hang of the new gold bug some what, still a lot to learn about this hobby, but I have nothing but time on my hands. Planning on going out for the next several days and keep at it in that same area. Also will investigate the local club in Yuma and see what i can do to become a member. Zukiguy

I was there once, the ground seemed to be highly mineralized.

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I was like Alan in that I found my first nugget within only a few hours of putting the coil to the ground. And I've been bone dry since. That was almost a year and a half ago.

Am I frustrated? Yup. Am I ready to throw away the VLF and drop coin on a decent PI? You betcha.

Do I have the money to put into a decent PI? Nope

Guess I'll keep swinging my GMT until I hit the Lottery (if I ever buy a ticket)

Keep at it, man. Go back to the detector shop and see if he has any large flakes in the 4-5 grain size and buy one. Epoxy it to a poker chip. Drill a hole in the chip and attach some bright twine (I have pink survey string).

Now you have a test chip.

Take it wherever you go with the detector and bury it an inch or so in the ground. Now, tune your detector to the soil you're working and you'll be better aware of what to listen for in the area you're hunting.

Just wish I followed my own advice more often. I normally leave my chip at home like a doofus.

Another good one to join, seeing as you guys are retired and can easily go places, is GPAA. Yeah, many of their claims have been hit hard, but they're always adding new ones and there's a lot of good folks who are willing to help and teach.

I, myself, am the new 1st Year board member of the Phoenix chapter of GPAA (known as GPAP at www.gpapclub.com) and SGTFDA is the new treasurer.

I'm the younger, stupid one and he's an old salt with tons of knowledge and great stories. I think it's a great pair that we also go lookin for the gold together sometimes. I just gotta shut up and listen more :)

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I have spent most of the past 4 days up at the Lugunas and have only found lead, copper, aluminum, steel, tin and brass . Its getting really boring digging up all that trash. Zuki

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Zuki the laguna placers are just what the name intel's PLACER.I found my first gold there,it is spread out thru out the lagunas.exploring out of way areas is a good start look for old workings and new workings >But let me tell you, your not going to be expecting it when your first nugget is found,your hopes are there,but in your mind it's just another pice of trash.mine came when i was going up a wash and i stoped at a spot that had a wash out crossing the trail and what seemed like old workings just ahead of me.i got off my quad and started un a wash-out comming down the road and within (5) min i had my first NUGGET.found a total of 11 nuggets in a small area there.so zauki it's there you just got to keep at it and they (NUGGETS)will come....The lagunas is just the tip of the ice berg for GOLD in the yuma area rest assured.you will find it ...im from San Diego and i detect Yuma quite often and have done well there.not only in the lagunas but the surroundind areas too,Get to as many remote ares that you can and find the missed placers it's there T-Bone.


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T-Bone, I went up there yesterday and did what you are saying, went to the most remote area I could find on the south/east side but still no luck. I will probably go up every day the rest of this week and next and keep looking for areas that look like they have not been messed with. The problem i see in the Lagunas is that all these people go up there, shoot guns all over the place and leave all there garbage laying around, they start fires and burn what ever they can find and leave that mess. They paint on the walls of the canal's with spray paint, its a shame these people have no respect for this area other than to distroy it and make a lot of eye sores . Also plan to ditch this new Gold Bug I have been using and try my old Gold Master II, from what the guys are saying on this forum the GM II will out perform the new GB nine ways to sunday. Zuki

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Hi Zuki,i know how fustrating it can be but you are in a gold producing area,try and stay out of the main washes and hit the feeders.stay in shallow ground mainly the headers of the feeders that is going to be your shallow ground.work the benches stay on the inside bends of wash-outs look for flood debre,crossing the road hit these areas ..look for scrapes in the top soil as this is an indicator of a push..you will see this around the adier shooting range .and dont forget check the road you are traveling on.a over looked gold hide out. T-Bone

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Zuki, you will have to go a very long way to find a place where trash targets don't exist in a gold bearing area. Bullets, shell casings, tin cans, aluminum cans, etc. etc. etc. all have very long lives. Everybody who has posted here has given you good advice. If you are finding targets it is just a matter of time before you find a nugget. It isn't easy by any means but you can improve your odds. The recent rains and resulting gully washers in the Yuma area moved a lot of overburden. My suggestion is to not detect in places where the overburden is deeper than the depth your detector will get to. The odds are that a gold nugget will be on bedrock and anything closer to the surface will be a trash target. Think like a nugget that has been out there for a thousand years.

*Make sure you have a strong magnet. It will make it much easier to find and pick up ferrous trash.

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2 weeks into it is no biggy, are you digging screamers or the faint targets ,are you ground balancing every 1o min at least.Most guy,s take a year of digging trash That you have to get used to,were there is trash no one has found the gold there,find a sweet spot and remove all the targets,you have to do this because the trash will hide or mask the soft gold targets.gold more than likely does not screem like lead does, you want the soft sweet sound, That said you can not ignore the screemers, everything must be inspected, don,t give up

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This is an important time for a new detector operator; the beginning.

This is the point where you will realize that a day outdoors may be the best thing that will happen

and you have to decide whether this is enough.

You come to understand that the most under-appreciated word starting out is research.

If you are impatient with the junk you continually dig up or the rough terrain you have to cover

or all the crap that people leave everywhere,

if all that makes it not worth it,

then you need to find another hobby because you will never get away from any of it.

The make-it or break-it aspect of detecting is patience;

with your machine, with the physical and mental effort and most importantly, with yourself.

Read as many back topics on the forums as you can stand.

Many of your questions will have been answered many times by people with high levels of experience.

Don't let that stop you from asking your own questions,

just saying there is a huge store of knowledge already waiting at your fingertips.

(side note I'm throwing in because I was thinking about it, never mind if it doesn't make sense)

As well as trying to find a valuable metal,

hunting for gold kind of symbolizes a quest that many people seem impelled to begin for various reasons.

This urge to search may take a lifetime to fully understand what it is you are really looking for.

Some of us think that the search itself is the most important part.

Good luck. Don't give up.

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The Yuma club is listed in the Sunday paper. Yuma is my old stomping grounds and I will PM you some phone #s after I get permission. The SPMA is the best club as was previously stated, the Pot Holes area of their claims continues to produce.

A hint ,a lot of the gold there has never moved yet, it is in stringers in the decomposed material and may be only inches from the surface or several feet deep and spread apart the same way, but it is tough metal detecting.

When I lived there we had a spot we worked or several years dry washing, we only went 2 feet to a calchie layer, we where digging on the bank of a wash but not in the wash, typically you could dig an area 4'x4'x2' and some times only get a few flakes or nothing.

Continuing the same hole digging along the length of the wash the next 4 ' section you would get 6 or 8 pickers and an occasional 1/4 OZ nugget.

We figured it out that it was in stringers or veins coming down hill and the further you got from the wash the deeper it was, they lay like raisins in a crack of broken decayed quartz different from the surrounding material. my friend still digs there on a regular basis.

Be careful not to get over on to the Reservation bordering the area to the south and stay clear of the Yuma Proving grounds like north of the shooting range, the Army no longer considers it a joke to catch people metal detecting on the YPG and they have lasers that takes about 2 minutes to find you. As a matter of fact all the ground in the Lagunas, Gilas and the California side is claimed by some one, you can check with the BLM office on the I-8 service road near the DMV.

Good Luck Yuma is tough!

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