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Fred Lewis First Got 'Gold Fever' While Providing Security For Gold Rush's Parker Schnabel

Fans of Discovery's "Gold Rush" seem to have a bone to pick with cast member Fred Lewis, relentlessly criticizing the up-and-coming miner ever since he first became a main cast member back in Season 11. Since that initial outing (in which Lewis only pulled in a pitiful 6.39 ounces of gold throughout the entire season), fans have held nothing back in their hatred of Lewis: Condemning his leadership skills, his mining practices, and even insulting his personal intelligence.

Although the online hatred directed at Lewis is certainly excessive, it is true that Lewis has remained the least successful miner in the series throughout the last three seasons. Despite many fans blaming Lewis' low production on poor leadership or mining incompetence, it might simply be due to lack of experience — especially because Fred Lewis didn't actually join the series to be a miner. 

In fact, Lewis actually joined "Gold Rush" to work as a field medic and as security detail for Parker Schnabel's crew — which gave him such a bad case of "gold fever" that he simply had to start mining on his own.

Lewis was hooked the first time he saw gold

During a 2022 interview with KOIN 6 in which Fred Lewis discussed his journey as a gold miner, Lewis explained that he first got "gold fever" when he was hired for "Gold Rush: Parker's Trail" — initially working as a security guard and on-site medic.

"I was actually hired to go and travel with Parker [Schnabel] to Papua New Guinea as a security guy. The first time I saw gold that was pretty much it," explained Lewis. "I was hooked on it. I don't know if you want to call it 'gold fever' or just 'I saw an opportunity.' I don't know, it got me." Though some "Gold Rush" cast members like Parker Schnabel or Todd Hoffman actually came from gold mining families, Lewis' story about becoming "hooked on 'gold fever'" actually rings true for most of the gold miners in the series, many of whom heard the incredible success stories of other miners and set out to find their own glory in the Alaskan wilderness.

Lewis' story may not be unique, but it certainly does a great job of illustrating why "Gold Rush" has attracted such an immense, dedicated fan base. This idea of "gold fever" doesn't just affect Fred Lewis; it affects every fan who watches the series and admires the adventurous life of these gold miners — and everyone who wonders what riches they might earn if they decided to follow that crazy dream.