If you have decided to try your hand at Gold Prospecting then you must do some homework. Being prepared and knowing what to look for will save you one hell of a lot of time. Just because you visit an area and it looks worked out, don't believe it! Over 75% of prospectors overlook certain clues or read an area wrong. Some area’s change from one season to next or form new deposits overnight.
  I found a rich blacksand deposit on the Stanislaus river last year, I dug a sample out and panned it out at home and to my delight it was heavy in Placer Gold. I returned the following week but the river was up due to water being released. That rich deposit was now lost and moved to somewhere else. I keep on returning to that spot, searching for another recurring event like this but like the Lost Dutchman Mine it still eludes me.
There are a lot of books out there with great information to be had and others that I do not agree with but most have situations and information that I can personally apply while out in the field. So what do you look for in a Prospectors Manuel? Look for publisher reviews on the book, the background experience of the author, and of course what he has found.
I have also found great information reading diaries of old prospectors for they gave me great insight as to their daily life and all that surrounded them. Rich claims along some California’s rivers where cut up into 100 square foot plots, so this comes out to a 10ft x 10ft area. Now if you have 1mile of river that would equal 528 prospectors within just 10ft from the waterline. Mind boggling when you think about it. But do not despair there is still a lot of gold to be found out there for they only recovered less than 15% of the gold due to lack of knowledge, tools, and inexperience. So do your homework and be prepared and if you see an old timer like myself out there then by god come over and say hi for I can fill your head with dreams of GOLD.

Here are a few books that I have read and found informative.

Gold! Gold! How and Where to Prospect for Gold (Prospecting and Treasure Hunting) [Paperback]
Joseph F. Petralia (Author), jill applegate (Editor), susan neri (Illustrator)

Gold Mining in the 21st Century: The Complete Book of Modern Gold Mining Procedures [Paperback]
Dave McCracken (Author), Melodee Heberden (Editor), Maria McCracken (Illustrator)

The Diary Of A 49er, Edited by C.L. Canfield

Gold Dredger's Handbook How to Find a Lot of Gold Using a Suction Dredge by Dave McCracken

Intro. Prospecting and Mining by Leo Mark Anthony & Michael Mark Anthony

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