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How much does it cost to stock a fish pond?

Okay so for fun today I decided to research what it would cost to stock a fish pond. Specifically I was looking for rainbow trout, but the prices of other kinds of fish were also of interest.

The problem of course is finding a fish stocking company that actually lists their prices on their website.

Pure Springs Trout and Walleye Farm in Shannonville, Ontario for example on their website (http://puresprings.ca/trout.html) tells you "Price depends on size and quantity, please phone" yada yada... So no help there. Boo! They could at least give you some idea of what the price is.

The Watersmeet Trout Hatchery in Michigan however does list their prices. So nice of them to actually list their prices on their website. So considerate. And they even cover their bases by saying "prices are subject to change due to availability". But at least you have an idea of what the price will be before you phone them.

Watersmeet also had other types of fish availability, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say I liked their website.

So $150 would get you 100 rainbow trout that are 4 to 6 inches long. Then you just let them grow. Or you could get 50 of each size for $537.50, that way you have a wide variety of sizes and they all grow.

Probably should figure out first how big a pond needs to be to support that many fish, and also how much vegetation the pond needs before you decide to stock it.

20 Tips for making your own Fish Pond

1. Fish ponds should be at least 1/2 acre (21,780 sq feet) or more in water surface area. So roughly 150 by 150 feet if you were making a roughly square pond.

2. Make steep slopes to a depth of 4 feet or more. This helps minimize the amount of shallow water around the edge of your pond, which will reduce vegetation that erodes the edge of the shoreline. A shallow water pond (3 feet deep) is ideal for ducks and other waterfowl, but a deep water pond (4 feet or more) is better for fish.

3. The deeper the pond, the more resistant it is to droughts when some of the water will evaporate.

4. Dig the pond on a level plain, ideally a location with a high water table for groundwater. This will dramatically reduce how much water seeps into the ground.

5. Being in a lower area does not guarantee the water table is high. Actually the water table follows the contours of hills, so a higher elevation is often better, and the ground is less likely to be mucky and difficult to work with.

6. Do not excavate a spring, but you could build your pond downhill or nearby a spring.

7. Ground with more clay in it holds water better, so you want the ground surrounding the pond to have at least 20% clay.

8. Get a soil survey. This will tell you how much clay is in the ground, plus they can often tell you how deep the water table is.

9. When digging the pond, don't dig below any layer that is heavy with clay. The moment you go beyond that point it is like pulling the plug on the bathtub, and the water will drain out the bottom.

10. Don't confuse the ground water table with being a spring. 99% of the time you don't have a spring. It is just the ground water table seeping sideways into your new pond.

11. You can also dig test holes to determine where the water table is. It will fill up with water to the point where the water table is, but no further.

12. A deeper test hole can also tell you where the layer with more clay ends, so you have a better idea of how deep you can dig safely.

13. If hiring someone else to dig your pond, get an agreement guaranteeing the depth of the pond itself, not the depth of the hole they dig. The pond will only reach the top of the water table, so if the hole they dig is 15 feet deep, but the water table is 3 feet below the ground, then your pond will only be 12 feet deep. Thus if you want the pond to be 15 feet deep, then the hole would need to be 18 feet deep. It is common to get a written agreement guaranteeing the water depth.

14. Avoid building your pond too close to trees, as leaves and nutrients will end up filling your pond up.

15. Figure out ahead of time where you are going to be excavated dirt from the pond. Avoid putting it anywhere that would effect erosion patterns that could hinder your pond.

16. To prevent erosion and degradation of the water quality, construct a berm / embankment around the pond which is 1 foot tall by 4 feet wide, and have plants on it. The plants will filter surface water and contaminants that would otherwise go downhill and seep into your pond.

17. Do not use pesticides or fertilizers within 100 feet of your pond. Also even at a further distance, never apply pesticides or fertilizers on a windy day. A buffer zone of 100 feet (33.33 yards) of grass around the pond would be ideal.

18. If you have livestock, build a fence around the pond to keep livestock away from your pond.

19. Before building, kill any garlic mustard, glossy buckthorn, or purple loosestrife that is on your property. These invasive species love to clog up ponds and marshlands.

20. Clean the pond of debris or trash regularly.

Personal Note

My parents have a natural duck pond on the property where the ground is low enough that the water table has created a natural pond there, which is sadly rather marshy.

If that pond was dredged out and made deeper using a backhoe, it could be turned in to a fish pond, however there is one big problem... it is surrounded on one side by farmland which has pesticides and fertilizers sprayed on it at least once per year. So even if they were to turn it into a fish pond, they would need to create a 100 foot wide barrier of grass around the pond to keep the water from being spoiled with contaminants.

Plus my parents aren't really into fish, so whatever. Duck pond it will have to stay.

However in the future if I ever own a good amount of land, making a 200 feet wide round-ish pond with another 100 feet of grass around it sounds like a good way to be able to fish whenever I want.

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