Good luck, and keep an eye out
for timber rattlers... I have seen them at the water edge sitting under
rocks with their heads sticking out.
There are many places in Tennessee to pan for gold.
One of the most popular places, is around Coker Creek and Tellico Plains. There is good gold in this area, and finding it is not too hard, once you know how.
That is the most important part of this page... Learn to pan for gold, and get good at it. Once you can pan fast, and keep the little specks of gold, you can test more areas to find better gold, faster.
It is important that you do not skip this step, and go right into sluicing or dredging. Learn to pan well, before moving up to a more productive prospecting skill.
No matter if you are sluicing or dredging, you will need to test pan first, to find gold, then again when you get done, and have to clean up your concentrates. Panning is the most important thing to get good at. Well, that, and how to find gold. But they go hand in hand.
I have found gold in coker creek in several areas. You can go to the south end near where it enters the Hiwassee river, or you can go up into the town of coker creek, to Doc Rogers Field. There is pretty good gold along the top inch or two above clay layers, so once you hit clay, just skim off the top and pan it out.
If you have any friends that live along coker creek, ask them if they would allow you to pan for gold in their part of the creek. Chances are good, that if they don't allow dredging or prospecting on their property normally, that you will do well above average.
Also, you can pan in any of the creeks allowed in the dredging permit. I haven't been to most of them, but rumor has it, that wild cat creek is pretty darn good. It is just a good hike to get into it.
If you live up closer to the north, or are visiting the tourist areas,,, Gatlinburg has a creek running right through town. You will often see kids fishing for trout in this stocked creek. I have also been told that you can pan in this creek. One person said they did pretty good, right outside their motel.
There is also little river, up near Knoxville but towards the mountains. There is gold there, and I know a man that often takes his dredge in and finds gold.
You are for the most part, free to use a gold pan in any state owned waters, but most of the gold is found along the mountain chain nearest to the North Carolina boarder. You can NOT pan in the Smokey Mountain National Park.