Whether you are a long-term angler or you are just starting out as a fishing enthusiast, one of the best things that can happen to you is to have a fishing pool right under your nose.
A fishing pool or fishing pond creates an easily accessible avenue to indulge in a beautiful past time. Just imagine basking in the sun or under shade alone or with family and friends, having good conversations, and enjoying quality bonding time while you fish right in your yard.
Not only that, having a fishing pool close by can help your kids (if you have any) build and develop an interest or hobby for life, not to mention that it provides a readily available source of fresh, delicious fish for dinner.
More so, a fishing pool has been shown to increase property value, so building and maintaining one properly can also be considered an investment.
If you wish to have a fishing pool for one or all the reasons above, then read on to learn how to build a fishing pool that will deliver great results.
Want to start with a video? Check out this one below to learn how to build a fish pool in your backyard.
Factors to Consider Before Building a Fishing Pond
As stated earlier, a fishing pool is an investment that requires a lot of thought.
Here are some factors to consider before you build a fishing pool:
Type, Shape and Size of the Fishing Pool
First, you need to decide on the type and shape of pool you want and what you want to do with it, for instance, do you want a fishing pool for bass fishing or raising bait fish? Then you may want to consider building a round pool.
You also want to consider the species of fish you want in there, as well as the size of the pool and how much yard space you are willing to give up for it.
While the size of your fishing pool is entirely up to you, depending on the quantity of fish you want to put in, a fishing pool should ideally be at least half an acre.
More so, in your decision-making, you also want to make allowance for the spawning of more fish, which will increase the population and by extension, space requirements. Make allowance of at least 1 square foot space for every inch of fish. This will help you estimate the amount of space to dedicate to your pool.
The size of your fishpond also determines the type of equipment that will be used and the cost expended.
Another important aspect to decide on is the exact location of the pond. Here, you want to consider the type of soil and run-off direction. Note that neighboring trees and plants must be considered too, especially for those with far reaching roots that could make digging the ground for your pool extra difficult.
For run off, you don’t want to locate your pool where there is very heavy runoff of rain water, as it can flood the pool and or fill up the space between the pool liner and pool wall, causing the liner to float. This might require you to empty everything in the pool, water, fish, plants, etc. to clear the water off and re-anchor the liner flat against the wall.
Furthermore, it should not be in direction of flow from a farm or garden, to prevent whatever pesticide or fertilizer that have been sprayed there to wash down into your pool with rainwater. This is important as these chemicals, especially in uncontrolled amounts, can potentially pollute the pool and exert negative effects on the fish in there.
Still on location, you must also consider sunlight before picking a spot. The best idea is to pick a location that allows your pool to get equal amounts of shade and sunlight per day. This works best with enough sun in the mornings and adequate shade in the afternoon. This will maintain a conducive temperature for your fish while giving you the option to either soak in sunlight that is not too hot in the morning or sit in shade while you fish in the afternoon.
More so, this balance is needed as sunlight aids the growth of algae, although water lilies and UV clarifiers help to keep algae blooms at bay.
Another decision to make is how you intend to fill up the fishing pool. Is it with water from natural resources like a nearby stream, creek, river, or even waterfall or rainwater? Maybe you intend to get yours from a well or would you rather build a dam as a water source instead?
These are all important decisions to make before you set about building a fishing pool. Deciding ahead will help you prepare for whatever costs and challenges you might run into during the process.
Carrying out proper research beforehand and having a certified pond consultant to guide you will be of great help.
How To Build A Fishing Pool — A Step By Step Guide
1. Sort Legal Requirements.
This is a very important step before you take the plunge. In many states, there is a legal requirement for almost every step, and while this can be a hassle, it is necessary to prevent abuse and to maintain standard.
For instance, before you dig, you need to make sure that there are no state lines passing through your property that could get damaged and if there are, you need to know how much distance to leave between the lines and your fishing pool.
Also clarify if you would be required to erect a fence around your pool. Other environmental requirements must be well considered too.
Work with the local, state and/or federal regulatory body on this and obtain the necessary permits and recommendations. Put in mind that pond building regulations might differ from state to state and may depend on your pool size too.
2. Get the Fishing Kit and Materials.
Gather the materials you will be needing ahead. While you can acquire each component alone, backyard fishing pond kits are available in local and online stores. Make sure to get one that fits the size and requirements of your pool.
If you wish to buy a pool liner separately, consider the different types available and the pros and cons of each. For instance, polyethylene and polypropylene liners are quite cheap while ethylene propylene diene terpolymer is more expensive but offers more flexibility and ease of use compared to the others. A good quality one should last you up to 20 years.
Also ensure that the liner’s underlay is of equally high quality.
3. Test Soil Porosity and Water Retention.
The soil in your chosen location should not be too porous. It should be able to retain water well or your pool will dry out from leaking water to the surrounding soil.
To test for adequate water retention, take some soil in your hand and squeeze into a ball. Then throw it up and catch in your hand. If the ball of soil scatters, that’s a sign that the soil has low retention and thus, isn’t good for use. Now, if the shape of the ball is retained, test further by digging a hole in the ball and filling it up with water in the morning. In the evening, top off the water and leave overnight and then check if it retains most of the water. If it does, you have a good soil for use. If not, consider another location with better soil
Having said that, the best type of soil for your fishing pool should contain about 20 percent clay because clay holds water well.
If you are unable to get good soil, you would have to layer the pool bottom with a plastic sheet, concrete or tamped clay first, before filling your pool with water.
You can also create a biological plastic known as gley by using pig manure to cover the walls and bottom of the hole, then adding a thick layer of freshly cut grass or carton and then a 3rd layer of soil. When tamped together properly and allowed to cure for about 3 weeks before filling with water, this triple layer mix serves as a good sealer to prevent water leakage.
4. Measure and Dig.
Now, you can start digging your soil. Make sure that you have at least 2 to 3 feet of depth, which is the minimum requirement for holding fish. Colder regions can go farther to 3 feet deep while warm water fish species require up to 10 feet.
That said, experts recommend that at least 25 to 50 percent of the pool should be 6 to 10 feet deep to supply oxygen during winter and provide cool temperature in summer.
You may also want to include some steps when digging just in case anyone falls into the pool and needs to climb back up, especially if you have little kids and pets. This should be just below the waterline surface. These steps can also serve as a surface for plants.
5. Install Pond Liner.
After digging to satisfaction, line the hole with the pond liner. Consider asking an adult to assist you to pull the liner over the hole so that it is well-covered. Then use stones or slabs to hold the edges of the liner down before you fill the pool with water.
6. Install Air Filter and Diffuser.
To improve the quality and circulation of oxygen in your pond, it is advisable to install an air filter and an air diffuser. As always, make sure you get the best fit for your pool size and depth.
7. Add Plants to the Fishing Pool.
Add plants like water hyacinth, water lilies, lotus, and iris to your fishing pool for the fish to feed on.
You can also plant grasses around the pool edges to prevent soil erosion. Ensure that there’s no overcrowding though, especially in the middle of the pool itself.
8. Fill the Fishing Pool with Water.
Fill your pool with water using a hose or pump. Then remove the stones holding the liner down and adjust the edges.
Ensure that the water doesn’t contain chlorine because chlorine can be detrimental to the health of your fish. When in doubt, use a dechlorinator. If you can’t access that, leave the water open for a day to allow the chlorine to get lapped by the sun.
If you would rather not pump water or you want to avoid the hassle of getting necessary permits to fill your pool with water from the stream, leave the pond open and let it fill up naturally with rainwater. This only applies during the rainy season; else you’ll be waiting a long time for rain.
9. Stock the Pool with Fish.
Allow the new fishing pool to sit out and settle overnight before adding your carefully selected school of fish. You can get fish hatchlings ahead from stores and state fisheries department or from a nearby pond with the necessary license.
Allow the fish get used to the new pool water by placing them in a bowl of water from their natural habitat mixed with a little water from the new pond. After a while, gradually increase the new pond water till they have acclimatised before adding the fish to the new pool.
Ensure that there is adequate diversity of fish across species and sexes to create a good environment for thriving and spawning. The fish prey and predator species must also be balanced because too much of either will lead to a skewed ecosystem.
Typically, bluegills and largemouth bass are used to stock fishing pools in a proportion of 400 bluegills for every 100 basses per surface acre. The purpose of the bluegills is to serve as forage fish for the bass. Other species like catfish can also be added and successfully grown at 50 fish per surface acre.
Meanwhile, it is also important to make allowance for plants and other aquatic life that the fish can feed on such as zoooplanktons and phytoplanktons.
10. Simulate Natural Habitat in Your Fishing Pool.
Try to simulate a natural pond to encourage healthy growth in your new fishing pool. For instance, shallow sections in the pool will encourage amphibians like toads and salamanders to settle in, as well as some insects and birds like ducks.
Adding organic fertilizers will encourage growth of planktons for water critters to feed on, which small fishes tend to it. Depending on the kind of fish you have in the pond, the small fishes are then eaten by the big fish. Apart from ensuring a balanced food chain, planktons also block sunlight from the bottom of the pool, helping to prevent weeds from overrunning the bottom.
Some old logs can be sunk to encourage aquatic life too. You can also place rocks placed in the pool for the fish to hide under.
Meanwhile, you may also want to add lime water to the pool to increase alkalinity and boost fish growth and health.
Check out other informative articles and guides on Zimfishing:
- How to Tie a Fishing Knot
- How to Become a Fishing Guide in 7 Steps
- When is the Best Time to go Fishing?
- How to Build a Worm Farm for Fishing
Building a fishing pool is no mean feat at all. But it is well worth it in the long run.
One more thing! Once your new fishpond is ready, leave enough time for the fish to adapt, mature and reproduce before attempting to fish in it. It is best to leave the fish in the pond untouched for at least the first year to maintain a strong and balanced ecosystem.