I like what's above, but when I record a claim, I send it to the county office first and then once the county files it, I send it to the BLM. The claim does need to be recorded in the (correct) county.
Before you get there, you need to check land status. I look at many claims that are incorrectly filed on other than BLM/FOrest service land where claims are not authorized like state trust land or private property. You'd be surprised how many Wilderness areas and private property are sprinkled over what one may think is BLM land. Then I search county records online for recent filings in the area I'm looking. This results in about 40 hours of searching before I find an area I want to put boots on ground, and then if I like what I see, I stake a claim. The way I remember the fees are $225 for the first 20 acres, and $165 for each 20 acres after that. At least that's what I made my check out for and the BLM did not give me any money.
Remember, the BLM is their to take your money only. If you decide to file over someone else's claim, or on state trust land, or private property, they will not arbitrate the dispute nor will they refund you your money. All the BLM does is take your money and put ou in their database, and boot you out of the database if you don't pay or forget a step in the small miner waiver like filing a notice of intent on the first year, or a notice of labor for each year after that. Once booted out and a claim is closed, you need to refile with $225 for the first 60 acres and $165 for each 20 acres after that. If you can figure out what service the BLM has done over all this money I give them, please tell me.
It would be good if you had someone you could talk to locally to help you out. I did. I would just be careful of taking advice from any one person pnly before filing and also taking advice from someone who has never filed. It took me ten months to learn how to file my first claim.