How to Build a Simple Fish Pond

Fishing is one of the best ways to enjoy your summer. With a pond on your property stocked with fish, you’ll never have to drive to the nearest lake again.

Fish ponds have become increasingly popular in the last few years, and your options can seem endless.  A fish pond can be constructed with a wide variety of materials. They can be built on the ground, in the ground, or a combination of the two. While no two fish ponds look alike, they all share common fundamentals. Despite the large array of designs, shapes, and sizes, building a simple pond can be a cost-effective way to attract a variety of wildlife.

Securing Initial Assistance

If your pond is on the larger side, you will need to get local, state, or even federal approval. Getting input from the Natural Resources Conservation Service is an essential first step to building your fish pond. First, you will need to get your permit through the proper government agencies. From there, you can enlist the help of contractors to bid, excavate, and build your new pond.

However, there’s no need to feel daunted by this task. The U.S. Department of Agriculture can help you. A certified pond consultant from your local office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service can provide you with a free consultation on how to safely and legally build your fish pond. They will take into consideration rainfall, dam construction, and more to ensure that you get the proper permit. Your consultant can even advise you on whether the soil present on your property is the ideal density for building a pond.

Determining Your Space Needs

If you’ve decided that you want a large water feature that can attract a wide variety of wildlife, or if you’d simply like an aesthetically pleasing feature to your property, you will first want to scout out space for your pond. To get started, you will need at least half an acre of land. 25% of this should be at least six feet deep to keep your fish thriving. There are many ponds on farm properties that cover as much as 6 acres, but you won’t need that much for your first pond. Make sure you call your local utilities to locate any underground pipes or wiring before you start planning.

Take into account the sizing of your watershed. A good rule of thumb is that you will need approximately five acres of watershed for each acre of pond surface. Bear in mind that it’s best to move the least amount of dirt possible to a spot where that earth can back up against the largest amount of water.

You can use a rope or even a garden hose to help you visualize your initial pond layout. Once you decide on a shape and size that you like, you can draw lines with a can of marking paint to get a jumpstart on the next steps in the process. If your pond will have substantial curves, it’s important to make sure they are wide enough to allow proper circulation once your pond is up and running.


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