Freshwater Lake Treasure Hunting with a Metal Detector

Fresh water metal detecting at the shoreline.

Fresh water metal detecting at the shoreline.

Headed to a lakefront cottage or summer destination near a freshwater beach? Don’t forget your metal detector! Every vacationer walks the beach—but the SMART detectorist brings his or her metal detector. Many hobbyists say you’ll find MORE treasure along freshwater beaches than the ocean. They say you’ll get more good finds in one day here than any popular ocean beach! Here’s why: popular ocean beaches are hunted every day. But beaches and [boating & swimming areas] on a freshwater lake are rarely detected.

A roped-off swimming area is usually only 30-50 yards wide, so it’s easy to read where the most treasure will be found. Jackpot area: Search right near the shoreline where mothers often sit with kids in the water. Here, you’ll find jewelry– gold, silver and diamond rings.

Advice from Fellow Hobbyists (Friendly Metal Detecting Forum)

Jeff says:  “I detect Southeastern Virginia & Northeastern North Carolina and concentrate on the areas in the water where the people swim and play. I especially like working around piers and platforms that they dive from. Also check out the shallow areas where parents and kids frolick.”

Chris says:  “Most of the time in freshwater lakes, the goodies either sink into the sand where they were dropped or slowly get pushed up to the water’s edge. Concentrate on the swimming area first, but things find their way all over the place.”

Is Your Detector Waterproof?

Before you dip your machine into the water, be sure to check that it is a waterproof model. Some models are only waterproof up to the control box. The last thing you need is to ruin the electronics when you’re just trying to treasure hunt on vacation!

Equipment: All-purpose or Waterproof VLF metal detector:

Very Low Frequency (VLF) Metal Detectors are usually recommended for freshwater hunting. They will easily locate coins, relics, and jewelry. If you want to go shallow-water-hunting, make the sure the specs allow for it. Here is a list of our best-selling water proof freshwater metal detectors.

Short or long-handled sand scoop

Beach scoops are a tremendous help when sifting through sand for treasure. A water scoop is necessary for shallow water metal detecting, as it digs deeper into wet sand. Check out: Sand Scoops for the Beach.

No Time for Swimming When Metal Detecting the Beach!

For REAL Fun at the Beach, Bring Your Metal Detector!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

Hello summertime! What’s not to love about sunny days, flip flops, barbecues, star-gazing and campfires? For metal detectorists, summertime means longer days and more time for treasure hunting. If you’re new to the hobby, you picked the perfect time to get started. This is the ideal season to find treasure at the beach. Forget about swimming and surfing…the real fun happens on the beach! Wait ‘til you find a platinum ring or a historical coin buried in the sand.

The best thing about metal detecting the beach is that no matter how many detectorists preceded you, there is always more treasure to be found. The movement of the tide carries objects from the water to the sand. It also places metal items at different depths, and replenishes the sand with new lost items all the time. There’s a reason detectorists are out in full force at the beach—success!

Best Beach Hunting Times

The best time to detect largely depends on the tide; this does change based on the season and the moon. If the tide is high for the majority of the day, you’ll be able to find good targets on the beach when the tide goes out. If the tide is low for most of the day, search the low tide line for treasure. When the tide comes in, it pushes a lot of things with it; it also tends to bury heavier objects. Knowing this will help you determine where to hunt on a particular day. Some beachcombers swear by the high tide line. They say it produces everything—from trash, to rings, coins & other trinkets.

After it rains, head to the beach! Rainfall helps pull lost items to the surface of the sand, making  it easier to find valuables. During beach erosion is great time for detectorists. This cycle takes place because of the changing tides, too. When the sand is being eroded because of increased water activity, jewelry, coins and other items are being pulled to  the surface.

Typical Treasure Finds at the Beach

What can you find on the beach with your metal detector? The better question is what can’t you find? Long-time hobbyists say that coins usually fill their pockets—the majority of finds. You can find clad (modern) coins, historical American coins and plenty of foreign coins, too. Some Florida beaches are known to produce valuable old Spanish coins. Jewelry is very often found at the beach, and it can be extremely valuable! Treasure hunters find wedding rings, rings with precious stones, watches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Don’t throw anything away until you carefully examine it at home. One detectorist thought he found a smashed up piece of costume jewelry. He later discovered it was an antique platinum ring with over 2 carats of diamonds. A jeweler informed him that the ring was from the 1900’s or earlier. Sometimes, it pays to have a professional look at a piece you are unsure about.

Don’t Forget a Sand Scoop & Find’s Pouch

Besides your metal detector, you will need a sand scoop or digging tool. Most beach detectorists carry a plastic sand scoop and a long-handled scoop. The plastic sand scoop is great for shallow targets; because it’s made of plastic, it won’t cause metal interference. The long-handled scoop cuts through the sand easily for retrieving deeply buried items and saves your back from constant bending. There are a wide variety of sand scoops available— from hand held to long-handled scoops with buckets. A find’s pouch or belt pouch is an efficient way to separate your recovered items. They typically have zippered areas or pockets for putting smaller and more valuable items like gold jewelry with precious stones.

Treasure on the beach awaits, so be sure to hit the sandy shorelines this summer!

Related articles:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

Life’s a Beach: Just Bring Your Metal Detector