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Brett's_daddy

Making Your Own Bass Pond

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Okay, I have some unused land that basically just has a bunch of overgrowth on it. My dream is to make my own little bass pond on it, stock it with Largie's, maybe some Perch or Blue Gill and some crayfish and frogs as food. I know there are some people around here who build ponds for a living...not sure even remotely how much they'd charge or if it would be feasible or not.You can see below the rough (and I mean rough...I am not a savant with MS Paint by any means) sketch I made. I would add a simple wooden dock, the land definitely has some rocks in it so I would have them piled on that one side, the overhanging trees are already on the property as well as the downed tree...would have have to add the pond lily's but I can find those anywhere around the local ponds. Let's assume that the pond making guy doesn't charge and arm and a leg and my first born child...what other difficulties can you see me running into to? Any ideas on workarounds? It's nice to dream!!!

Basspond.jpg

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I wouldn't make it square. 

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Pay no attention to the shape, that's irrelevant...I couldn't figure out how to do much else with MS Paint...lol. What shape would you make it?

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I'd just make it look pretty, lol.  When I was building small garden ponds, I'd mock up the shape with a garden hose.  You could probably do the same with that "upside down" spray paint.

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Where is the water to fill it coming from? Is there a creek or a spring? How is it going to stay full? Is the land you want to build on a low area on the property? How deep is the water table? 

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I like where you're going with this!

You should try to sell the dirt that is taken out to make the pond. From what I understand you can have the pond dug for next to nothing if you find the right buyer. I don't have any more details on how to do that, I'm just sharing what I've heard.

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15 minutes ago, Scott F said:

Where is the water to fill it coming from? Is there a creek or a spring? How is it going to stay full? Is the land you want to build on a low area on the property? How deep is the water table? 

The end towards where i have the lily pads is kind of marshy...probably a spring somewhere. The land is lower than my lawn section by about 4 or 5 feet (slopes down). I have no idea about the water table or how i could find out? I know that i plan on putting a swale (drainage ditch) through my back yard so that when it rains the water doesn't come down towards my house...could probably do that and make like a little brook-type drainage channel from the lawn down to the pond.

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Great thread topic. I've actually been wanting to do some research on this myself. I have a friend back home who's dad created his own private lake/pond. It's pretty big actually and connects to a marsh. It'd be fun to breed some state record bass. I'm sure there's all kinds of science behind it. 

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I'd look into the prospect of buying your own excavator. I know a lot of auction sites sell them pretty inexpensively. A buddy of mine bought his own - a used one - because it was cheaper than hiring someone to do it. He bought the excavator then sold it for basically the same amount he paid for it when he was finished. He used the dirt to make some nice terrain changes to some other parts of his property. 

I think he only relied on services for plant, fish, and water management for the pond. 

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1 minute ago, Preytorien said:

I'd look into the prospect of buying your own excavator. I know a lot of auction sites sell them pretty inexpensively. A buddy of mine bought his own - a used one - because it was cheaper than hiring someone to do it. He bought the excavator then sold it for basically the same amount he paid for it when he was finished. He used the dirt to make some nice terrain changes to some other parts of his property. 

I think he only relied on services for plant, fish, and water management for the pond. 

Umm, yeah...if buying an excavator will be cheaper than hiring somebody I think this will most likely remain a dream...lol.

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1 minute ago, Brett's_daddy said:

Umm, yeah...if buying an excavator will be cheaper than hiring somebody I think this will most likely remain a dream...lol.

It just depends. I know some of the quotes in my area (Central IN) are in the $30-40K for a 1.5acre pond. He bought an excavator for $4000. 

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Having enough water is critical. You wouldn't want the water to stagnate and run out of oxygen during the summer. If there were a creek that you could dam up, that would provide water to fill the pond, help with oxygen and keep it full. Evaporation has to be considered. If the water table isn't too deep, you could drill a well and pump water into the pond from the ground. That's what the old farm wind mills did. They pumped water to feed livestock and the excess filled a pond.

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6 minutes ago, Scott F said:

Having enough water is critical. You wouldn't want the water to stagnate and run out of oxygen during the summer. If there were a creek that you could dam up, that would provide water to fill the pond, help with oxygen and keep it full. Evaporation has to be considered. If the water table isn't too deep, you could drill a well and pump water into the pond from the ground. That's what the old farm wind mills did. They pumped water to feed livestock and the excess filled a pond.

Agreed, the water table is critical.  Also, look at the type of soil you have, if there isn't enough clay content it may not hold water.  There are places you can send samples off to or dirt guys with experience building ponds that can tell you that.  If you are serious about this, talk to a dirt guy with some experience and I would highly suggest checking everything out with the experts on http://forums.pondboss.com/ - they can tell you everything you need to watch out for to make a successful pond.  There are several articles on the lake management section of this site about it too.  

Once you get one built, stocking correctly and management is just as critical if you want to grow a big one.  You can't just transfer fish from other fishing holes in there and be successful.  

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11 minutes ago, BassOnKlinger said:

$3000-$5000 per acre is the quote I saw.

 

Interesting article: http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/fishing/bass/where-fish/2004/04/how-build-your-own-bass-pond

Yeah, this would be like a 1/3 acre pond. My entire lot is only .92 acres...lol.

12 minutes ago, Scott F said:

help with oxygen

Would plants do this too? Of course the winter would be another story as most plants go dormant or die off. Also, how deep would the deepest part need to be so that the ice doesn't freeze all the way to the bottom and kill off the fish? Would you introduce the food sources (perch, trout, blue gill, crawdads, bull frogs etc.) first and let them become established before introducing the Bass?

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Assuming the ground will hold the water, and you have enough water, a small aerator pump will provide enough oxygen for a pond your size. 

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Yes, the food source needs to be introduced first and get established before LMB are added.  If you're talking a 1/3 acre pond, it won't sustain a lot of LMB, it could sustain a lot more channel cats if that's a route you wanted to take.  

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3 minutes ago, Hog Basser said:

Yes, the food source needs to be introduced first and get established before LMB are added.  If you're talking a 1/3 acre pond, it won't sustain a lot of LMB, it could sustain a lot more channel cats if that's a route you wanted to take.  

No interest in anything but LMB really. I've seen a lot of farm ponds that have bass in them and a lot of those aren't much bigger than the one I want to build.

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2 hours ago, Brett's_daddy said:

...What shape would you make it?

For a small pond, I would shape it so that every portion of the pond can be reached by a cast from somewhere on shore.  A good way to accomplish that is with a few narrow fingers that extend into the pond at different areas  This will also give you more shoreline for the same size lake.

I also remember seeing a video where the pond maker (I believe it was Hank Parker) recommended the main areas of cover be rock piles instead of standing timber or brush piles.  Rock piles will be less likely to fill up with broken line & lures, are easier to fish with a variety of techniques, require less maintenance (think vegetation management) and will last for decades.  

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35 minutes ago, Brett's_daddy said:

No interest in anything but LMB really. I've seen a lot of farm ponds that have bass in them and a lot of those aren't much bigger than the one I want to build.

Read all you can here: http://www.bassresource.com/lake-management/ - lots of good articles about pond management, creation, stocking, etc.  

Also check the pond boss forums as stated above.  They can provide expert feedback, they have dirtwork guys, biologists and hobbyists that have been through all this before that can give great guidance.  

Not saying you can't have LMB, you just can't have a lot of them.  It will be easier to manage being that small if you pay attention to all warning signs and keep focused on your goals.  With the right feeding and nurture you could raise a few decent sized bass and they will become like pets.  

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We had three largemouth in a 1/4 acre pond by our cottage that grew quite large.  My cousin has a pond that's pushing an acre, and there's a ton in there.  We only get to fish it once a year, during our family reunion.  They're really stupid, and easy to catch.  Both ponds are fairly deep, more than 15' at the deepest, and both were spring fed.

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6 hours ago, J Francho said:

I wouldn't make it square. 

That's a rectangle.

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My uncle wanted to build a pond on some acreage that he had and the conservation department helped him a ton at no charge. They told him where, how and why.  He didn't listen and his pond failed miserably when he put it in a different location, but that's a different story. Point is, it is obviously an advantage to the conservation department to have properly managed ponds for wildlife to use so they were a great resource. 

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One of the most important things about building a pond is not the shape of the pond, but the make up of the soil and rock at the location of the hypothetical pond.  If the soil make up is wrong the fish will die.  I know people in Alabama with personal ponds that spend thousands of dollars for minerals to be added every six months just to keep a fish population going.  It is not a one shot deal, but year after year.   Its all because the land the pond was built on was lacking essential minerals for establishing an aquatic ecosystem.  Too begin with, you need a study of the property and soil samples.  You may luck out with substantial minerals to support your venture, or it may be a big bust, and become a big mosquito pool.  The point I'm trying to make is, it takes expertise to get in right, especially in the beginning.  Its not just digging a hole and filling it, you will need professional help.

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You could take a soil sample and send it off to be tested to see if it's even capable of holding water. I know people here send it to KSU to be tested. Not sure what the surface acres are, but a LT at my work said he was in 16k to have his pond dug. My grandpa owns a dozer and backhoe so mine should be getting much larger, hopefully around the end of this winter before the spring rains start up. 

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