The Oyster River originates in the mountains of the Forbidden Plateau on Vancouver Island. The Oyster River drains an area of about 376 square kilometres before entering the Strait of Georgia. Little Oyster River, Woodhus Creek, Piggott Creek, and Adrian Creek are the major tributaries to the Oyster River.
In general, the streamflow is characterized by a high flow in November due to fall rains, and another high flow in May and June due to snowmelt from high elevations. Minimum flows generally occur between August and October.
Very little history exists for the Oyster River, although it is known that panning for gold was a common occupation during the depression. Some individuals panned four dollars worth of gold per day (which would translate to about $300 today).
In 1940, the Mackay brothers discovered and staked several gold veins on the Central and West arms of Mt. Washington. In 1941, K.J. Springer did exploratory work on a gold-quartz vein called the No.1 vein. In 1944 and 1945, Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company did further exploratory work which involved trenching and driving short tunnels into the No.1 vein.
During the summer of 1951, Noranda Mines Ltd. drilled thirteen X-ray diamond drill holes in an area on the West arm north of the No.1 vein and the results were considered to be discouraging. In 1957, very little was known of the geology of the mountain, but, because of its crescent shape and radial fault pattern, H. Veerman of Noranda Mines proposed that it represented the ruins of an ancient volcano.
Oyster River Potholes
The majority of the gold on the Oyster River appears to accumulate downstream as very little fine gold is found upstream. The area of the potholes provides for some interesting prospecting. Nuggets up to 2.5 grams have been plucked from this area in recent times. Definitely worth prospecting.