If you’ve always dreamed of building a pond on some land, the good news is that it’s probably not as difficult as you’ve imagined. Yes, it takes a lot of manpower and time, but it’s not entirely complex.
4 Steps to Building a Fishing Pond
Building a pond takes time and requires expertise from the right professionals. And while it’s a good idea to hire a pond builder to oversee the process, it’s also helpful to have a basic understanding of what the process looks like. Here are some of the steps required:
- Find the Right Location
The first step is to find the right location for the pond. If you have a lot of acreage and are flexible with where it’s placed, do some research. This usually looks like conducting a site assessment and feasibility study to understand which areas are ideal and which ones are not.
“[We] start out in the office looking at topographical maps and that allow us to get a pretty good precursory analysis of the property to get an idea about the watershed and its ability to fill and maintain the pond, the shape of the land and determine the best location for the pond,” pond builder Norman Latona says.
These studies also analyze soil composition to make sure the dirt has the ability to hold water and construct a dam.
If the pond is being built in an area where there might be underground utilities, wires, pipes, or septic, these studies will identify where the pond can’t be built.
- Dig Properly
To an inexperienced person, digging a pond sounds simple. You just outline the perimeter of a pond, dig a few feet deep, and call it a day. But if you want a pond that withstands the test of time, you have to think carefully about how the pond is constructed.
Experienced pond builders suggest a 3:1 slope ratio on the front of the demand, with a 4:11 ratio on the backside. As far as pond depth goes, you’ll need a minimum of 36 inches. However, you can (and probably should) dig much deeper than this. (If you go too shallow, the bottom may need to be dredged in order to fight aquatic weed growth.)
If fishing is the goal, think strategically about the edges of the pond. If you’ll be fishing from the shore, the areas around the pond need to be fisherman-friendly. You’ll also want to put certain elements on the outdoor edges of the water that attract fish (like deep holes, shelves, or branches).
- Use the Right Aeration
Left on its own, your pond will do what it wants. In other words, if there’s no circulation (or if you’re entirely dependent on nature to provide water circulation), you can expect challenges.
“A stagnant water supply doesn’t make for a happy habitat for fish,” Living Water Aeration explains. “It’s important that you introduce some water flow with a pond aerator kit. This mixes the pond water so that toxic gasses are released and oxygen replaces it.”
Speak with a pond aeration professional during the planning phase to get a feel for the best right type of equipment and placement. This isn’t something you want to save for the last minute. It should be accounted for early on.
- Stock the Pond
Once the pond is built and the water is stabilized, it’s time to stock it with fish! The number one question people ask about this process is, how many fish do I put in my pond? Well, it depends.
“Typically, you want 100 bass per 400 bluegill per surface acre,” Whitetail Properties notes. “Reach out to your state wildlife and fisheries agency for information on ordering hatchlings. It’s important not to fish for the first year of development. The fingerlings need time to develop, reach sexual maturity and spawn.”
In addition to fish, you’ll also want to include the right inorganic fertilizers to kickstart zooplankton and phytoplankton levels in your pond. Lime is typically added as well. (It helps with the alkalinity of the water.)
Ready, Set, Go!
Imagine having your very own fishing pond in your backyard. You can wake up early in the morning and toss a line in the water while drinking a cup of coffee. Or what about spending cool summer evenings watching your kids hook their first bass? There’s something magical about fishing. And it doesn’t get any better than being able to fish in your own backyard.
We’ve equipped you with some of the basics. Now it’s your turn to start planning and building!