Gold and Fish: Rules for Mineral Prospecting and Placer Mining (2018)


This document is provided for archival purposes only. Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

Category: Mineral Prospecting

Published: June 2018

Pages: 44

The 2018 Gold and Fish pamphlet replaces all previous editions and will remain valid until November 1, 2019. When it expires, it will be replaced by the November 2019 edition and you must then follow all the requirements in that version of the pamphlet. The rules contained in it were developed to protect fish and their habitats. This pamphlet serves as your Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) for the types of mineral prospecting and mining activities described in the 2018 pamphlet. You must follow the rules in the pamphlet1 when you conduct those projects in Washington. These rules do not relieve you from obtaining landowner permission and any other necessary permits before conducting any mineral prospecting activity. You must also follow the rules and regulations of local, federal, and other Washington state agencies.

If you want to conduct mineral prospecting or mining activities at different times or locations, or with different equipment than allowed in this pamphlet, you must apply for a separate, written HPA. You will receive an HPA unless the department determines that the project will result in direct or indirect harm to fish life, and enough mitigation cannot be assured by provisioning the HPA or modifying the proposal.

You may request a written HPA by submitting a complete application to WDFW. An online application submittal tool is available on the HPA website. At that website you can also find details on alternate application methods if you cannot apply online.

1 This pamphlet includes the mineral prospecting rules under the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) available online at under WACs 220-660-030 and 300. The rules were adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on April 20, 2018 and became effective June 1, 2018. 

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