The drought has lowered river levels to the point where prospectors are nosing around. 

With rivers in the Sierra at a trickle, many prospectors are finding their way into the middle of usually rushing rivers in Placer County in the hopes of striking it rich.

Areas which have not been panned, let alone picked over, for decades are now accessible.

Old timers worked the Bear River, which is running so low islands and outcroppings are exposed.

Meanwhile, newbies are getting into the game -- one told the Sacramento Bee he found a gold chip just his second time out panning.

Local businesses selling mining equipment say they're seeing new customers buying up pans, shovels, sifters and other items.