New Pond - Starting Construction

Posted by: KW35

New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/04/18 11:05 PM

First time posting; however, I have spent weeks researching on the forum. I live outside of Wichita, KS and will begin construction very soon on our pond. Total blank page here and I am interested in hearing people's thoughts on size, shape, and design ideas. There is enough room for a 3-4 acre pond, but only about 30 acres of drainage/watershed. I plan on supporting with a solar powered well or windmill.

The goal of the pond is great fishing (numbers over trophies) with a unique population of fish. I am thinking hybrid stripe bass, hybrid bluecat, a few walleye, and hopefully 2 paddlefish.

I would like to start conversation around pond design/structure design. Again, blank page, so we can put in a channel, shelf, pea gravel, rocks, boulders, brush, just about anything. Then I would like to evolve the conversation into a stocking strategy. My family owns a fish hatchery 1.5 hours away outside of Emporia, KS, so I will try to use them as a source for fish.

If someone would like to take a swing at the pond design, then let's get the conversation started...Thanks in advance!
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/05/18 06:54 AM

If it were me, I would purchase Mike Otto’s book “Just Add Water”. It’s a bargain and Mike is extremely knowledgeable and experienced. Find it at the Pond Boss store.
Posted by: KW35

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/05/18 12:25 PM

Thank you for the direction; book is ordered. I am still very interested in hearing the opinions of forum members, so let's not allow this topic to die while I wait for shipping. Open to opinions, so let's hear them! Thanks all!
Posted by: RStringer

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/05/18 12:45 PM

How is the lay of your land? Is it sloped towards the back so you can damn up that side? IS it flat land? I get on google maps all the time and use the measurement tool. You can make it any shape you want and know the exact size you are dealing with. South East Kansas here. Welcome I'm still very new to all this but it is enjoyable.
Posted by: KW35

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/05/18 11:19 PM

Lay of the land - sloped from the back tree row towards my house, kinda angled towards the lagoon. Probably have to dam towards the lagoon to the shop area. Great clay about 8-12" down. Not a lot of drainage, about 30 acres behind the back tree row. Going to support the pond with a dedicated well. Pond should end up about 3.5 acres. Looking for ideas on shape and design to support fish goals/species.

Tons of information on this site, but quite a task to extract pieces from 100's of posts.
Posted by: snrub

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/06/18 01:51 PM

One particular thing I like about my main pond is a 10' wide flat "bench" designed into the dam. I set it up just a few inches above full pool level and covered it with gravel.

Rather than standing on sloping ground of a dam face or my 4 wheeler being quite a ways from the water while parked on the dam, I am at near water level right next to the water. I am right at waters edge all the way around the pond with all weather access.

It takes some more dirt for dam construction so higher cost, but one of my favorite features of my main pond.

During heavy rains the bench gets temporarily covered with water when the overflow is running heavy, but it goes down quickly. Since it is covered in rock/gravel, I actually will drive around the pond in a few inches of water just for kicks.

Welcome to the forum. I'm in SE Ks.
Posted by: KW35

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/06/18 09:53 PM

Shrub - I apologize, but having a hard time envisioning your design. I'm thinking a gravel road across the top of the dam?

I have spent quite a bit of time in SE KS, mainly at the Cessna facility in independence, KS. My parents live on Grand Lake, so travel through/around Parsons/SE KS all the time.
Posted by: snrub

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/06/18 11:08 PM

If you will look at page 1, figure 1 the picture "kind of" shows what my bench looks like. My overflow pipe is nothing like that so disregard it in the picture, but the "normal pool" level comes up to the edge of my bank like in the picture. Then the main part of the dam it higher. My road runs right on top of that bench although I can also drive on the top of my dam.

NRCS pond design brochure

If you get down this way, contact me and stop by for a look-see. You can PM me for a phone number. My location is in this thread.

Pond Boss forum get together location

overhead view of ponds
Posted by: snrub

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/06/18 11:57 PM

I looked for good pictures of the bench but the two at the bottom of this page are the best I could come up with. The tractor is sitting on the bench with the main taller part of the dam to the left. At the time of the pictures the water was nearly a foot below full pool and I was taking advantage of the low water to line the bank with some more rock for winter wave erosion protection. The water would normally cover those rocks and be just a couple inches below the edge of the bench.

The two links below are of two pictures from previous threads where the water is high after large rains and shows me driving on the "bench" through water (there is a good bed of gravel beneath the UTV) and on top of the dam above the bench. Normally it is dry but this shows what it does when water is significantly over the overflow pipe.

driving on bench when water is significantly above full pool level

picture showing 4 wheeler on top of dam and bench covered in water This was during a flood time

Hope this gives you a better idea of what it looks like. It does make the whole dam wider and takes more dirt to do it, but I feel I get a lot more pleasurable use of the pond by the design. I'm out there essentially any day that we are home.
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/07/18 03:20 PM

I've been thinking about doing something like that on part of my little puddle, but taking it down so that full pool made it about 3 foot deep and 4 foot wide, and cover it with 1 inch limestone. Mainly to increase spawning area, but also make the pond a little bigger. I could rent a small excavator and probably get it done in a weekend.
Posted by: KW35

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/07/18 10:02 PM

OK, I really like what you have done with the gravel. Dirt should not be an issue where we are working, so I am going to talk to my builder about adding this feature. Great for UTV/ATV traffic and nice footing to fish from. Great idea and thank you for sharing.

I would like to take the opportunity to meet you the next time I get down to SE KS. I will PM you the next time I head your way.
Posted by: snrub

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/08/18 08:39 AM

Please do. Would be glad to show you around to see if you could glean any ideas.

Here is an old thread on rock and gravel that might have some worthwhile information.

rock lining

One other feature somewhat unique to my pond that I like is permanent boat moorings. We have an aluminum paddle boat for pleasure riding around the pond. We also fish from it sometimes. One disadvantage to such a boat is it sits high in the water which is very comfortable to fish from but as you are likely aware Kansas gets some wind sometimes. grin Well the boat really sucks in wind as it gets blown around badly. My solution was to put in permanent moorings we simply hook up to. Some of my structure/cover involved concrete foundation chunks stacked up lincoln log style with a cedar tree in the middle. I tied a rope with small float to these in a number of locations around the pond. They serve two purposes. Boat mooring and a reminder where the structure is located. By having a number of these permanent moorings around the pond we simply hook up to one upwind to where we want to fish and let out rope to where we want to be. There are a couple areas I would like moorings but with no heavy structure to attach to. I have purchased some earth anchors to install moorings in a couple of these areas, but the installation would have been much more simple had I thouht of it before the pond filled.

If you want some moorings it would be simple to auger in some earth augers with ropes and floats attached in a dry pond bed. Then when the water filled they would be exactly where you want them. Many people would not see a benefit to this. But for some, depending on their BOW and the type of fishing and boat they plan to use, it might be worth considering.

Edit: Prior to the permanent moorings being installed I tried two different kinds of boat anchors. The first was not heavy or agressive enough and the boat just drug it around on the mud bottom. It is still on the bottom of the pond where it attached itself to some of my structure and could not be retrieved. I almost lost the second one the same way. That is when the idea of permanent moorings was hatched.
Posted by: nehunter

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/08/18 09:32 AM

What dose the ice do to your floating makers? I get 6 to 16 inches of ice on my water and would be afraid of the ice sheets would pull the floats off or move them when they start to melt in the spring.
Posted by: snrub

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/08/18 10:09 AM

So far no problem, but it would be an exceptionally cold winter for us to get ice like you describe. We might get 8 inches in an exceptionally cold spell........ but I will not be around to witness it. grin

I have new ropes and floats in a bag that I meant to get them replaced this summer but never got around to it. Think I will just wait till next summer now.

I think the ropes and floats have been in there for either three or four years now with no problems.

But I can see how more northern climates or larger BOW's it could be an issue. My pond is only 3 acres so ice movement has not been a problem to date.

I just used cheap rope but my replacements are better quality anchor line rope. My boat is also small so it does not take much of a mooring to hold it. If the ropes were torn off with ice it would not be a big issue to replace them. Not a huge cost or effort involved.

With the concrete blocks I just prepared the ropes with a loop on the end. Dove down with mask, fins and snorkel, slipped the looped end around the concrete with the other end through it, and at the surface cut the rope to length and installed the float with a loop at the end so I could use a snap connector on my boat rope to attach it easily and quickly into the rope.

A couple hours in the water and less than a hundred bucks and I could replace all of them. It would not be a huge issue if they did get damaged by ice some year. It could happen.

I have had concerns of ice damaging my floating dock but so far no problem.

Posted by: RStringer

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/08/18 12:47 PM

I'm still in the planning process of my REDO. But I think I put in a land pier that I will have a fire pit in the middle and chairs. Not very many things more relaxing than fire pit and water.
Posted by: RStringer

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/08/18 03:25 PM

My pond I have more for looks and just fun fishing ( lots of action ). You can put a worm or minnow on and some kinda fish will be bouncing your bobber within minutes is not seconds. Are you wanting to swim in it at all? You could put a couple piers in it or an island but I don't like them as much (island). Maintence manly I like mine to being pondscaped short.
Posted by: KW35

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/17/18 04:41 PM

I spent the better part of two evenings reading the book recommended above, "Just Add Water". Great read with a ton of information; however, it really did not address my two original questions:

1) 3-4 acres, blank page to work from, structure, habitat, anything goes...what would you do?

2) Fish stocking strategy? Thinking HSB, HBC, WE, and hopefully a couple spoonbill. Not a trophy pond, just good/fun fishing.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/17/18 05:07 PM

KW...Will you be feeding the fish pellets? If so, how much, supplemental or full nutrient support?

I ask this because it makes a big difference on your structure plans. Regardless of how you feed, you should put forage fish/minnows in about a year before the game fish. It made a huge difference in my pond! Then, if you will be relying on the offspring to feed the more mature fish, the YOY will need a place to hide so that they can grow to be meals for the larger game fish. Otherwise, the YOY get decimated before they get very big. If your going to feed pellets for full growth, then I would leave the brush structure out. Come to think of it...I don't see any fish in your plan that reproduce well in small BOW. There's something to think about too.

Simply put, If you are taking the fish farm approach, as in feeding then what they need, then you don't really want structure. You don't really need any reproducing fish either. If you are trying to develop a more self-sustaining pond, then structure becomes very important as does reproducing fish populations.
Posted by: KW35

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/17/18 05:42 PM

Supplemental feeding with pellats, not full nutrient support.

I am good with a year of forage fish/minnows only. FHM or would you suggest something different?

"Put and take" was the line of thinking with the fish selection. I am not opposed to switching up fish selection, just needs to be something fun, unique, good biters/fighters...and not named large mouth bass! LMB are EVERYWHERE, so I would like something different.

With "Put and take" I can switch over to different reproducing species if I want almost at any time, but reversed would be impossible without draining. Maybe a mixed strategy? I would listen to pros/cons for sure.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/17/18 09:40 PM

KW, my apologies. I thought your main question was where to start on building the pond.

I won’t comment on the fish. Too much of this stuff is regional.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/18/18 08:33 AM

I can't speak from a lot of experience, but I can tell you what is currently working for me. I stocked HSB, HBG, & RES after a full year of FHM reproduction. About 1000 FHM's turned into more than I can estimate. It was ridiculously amazing what 7 stacks of sunken pallets (for egg laying purposes) and $30 worth of minnows could do. I started to worry about too much biomass in my small pond. You should think about what to stock that can reproduce and supply forage for your game fish. The minnows seem to be considered temporary so you need something that can maintain some reproduction and survival beyond the first year. This is where some of the smaller species come in along with the appropriate habitat and structure.

My HSB went from 4 to 6 inches long (estimated 2 ounces) to the current record of 13+ inches long / 1.4 pounds all in 5 months. I credit the massive amounts of minnows available. Next year, I suspect the minnows will disappear, mostly, and the fish will require more pellets. Pellet feeding this year was not very aggressive compared to other reports of ponds that did not have the available minnows.

The concept of my stocking plan was to supplemental feed, but also rely on the offspring of the HBG and RES to help feed the HSB. My original goal was to grow some larger HBG while using the HSB to keep the HBG populations from getting out of control. So far so good, but who knows what mother nature will do to my plans. I used HSB as a population control predator because these fish can get larger without the mouth gape of a LMB and LMB tend to over-reproduce. Larger mouth gape means that larger HBG would be consumed and the larger predators would need to be culled out (if your goal is larger HBG). I bet that the HSB can get much bigger than any LMB could but still not need to be removed from the pond due to mouth size. I will start removing some HSB and HBG in the next year or two and start ladder stocking to keep my pond viable unless it gets really out of whack, then it may get the flathead treatment or maybe even bluecats. Can you imagine how big a few flatheads could get on an overpopulated HBG pond? I'd need to get a bigger pole!
Posted by: KW35

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/18/18 10:08 PM

Dave - no problem! The book was very informative and I enjoyed reading it.

One of my original questions was about design and/or structure while very similar intentions in mind. I was looking more for installing structure at design like hump, shelve, faux river channel, ledge, drop off, gravel, etc.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/20/18 06:52 AM

Eric West, Ewest here, has some pretty good pics. Hope he sees this. I like artificial structure leading from deeper water to shallow. Humps, ridges, etc all seem to erode over time. I also use cedar trees in shallower water. They seem to disappear in about 5 years but are RELATIVELY easy to replace. You need to weight them with a concrete block.

Structure leading from deep to shallow creates a fish highway.
Posted by: ewest

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 10/21/18 10:54 PM

See this link.
Posted by: robjones

Re: New Pond - Starting Construction - 11/01/18 09:58 PM

There are great pond builders that you can use of, you can find them in Youtube. I have learned from them a lot. Look for