There is gold in Washington. First off, get the "gold and fish" book from fish and wildlife. Can either download it of get a printout from one of their offices. Free, and is going to be your bible as to when and how.
Beach mining is allowed at the Cape, and can be productive at the right time and layer. Last time I was there, black sand was over a hundred feet wide and well over 4 feet deep for well over a mile of beach.
Look up the chapters in the state, here on the site. Contact info is provided. I know several of the members in Vancouver...great folks and a lot of knowledge to be had.
Welcome and if you get down to the Salem/Eugene area will be glad to show you the claims in the area.