· Wisconsin gold panning rules.
The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest authorizes recreational mineral collecting, such as panning for gold or rock collecting, without the need for a permit. Gold panning is only allowed with the use of small hand tools (pan, small shovel, and hand pick). Occasional recreation panning for an individual or group is limited to extremely small areas of stream disturbance: A few scattered areas of less than 1 square foot and totaling less than 40 square feet within a 500 foot segment of a stream and that occur less than 5 days per year. Gold panning is not permitted in classified trout water before April 15th and after September 15th. You must also avoid disturbing fish spawning nests. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has the responsibility and jurisdiction concerning water quality. Because this is not a permitted activity, the CNNF maintains no formal data regarding recreational mineral collection.