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#275066 - 12/05/11 09:59 PM How small can a trout pond be?
fishNY4fun Offline


Registered: 02/12/11
Posts: 17
Loc: NY
i was hoping to build a backyard pond but money is not an issue but space is so i was wondering what i could do ?
My goal: is to stock trout and be able to fish whenever i please

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#275071 - 12/05/11 10:19 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
jludwig Offline


Registered: 05/14/11
Posts: 1442
Loc: Central Kansas
What kind of space restrcitions are you talking about?

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#275078 - 12/06/11 01:54 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: jludwig]
fishm_n Offline


Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 732
Loc: Sturgis, SD
I have caught brook trout out of a creek a foot wide and an inch deep in the summer before. That was moving water so it had oxygen, and under thick cover so there was no direct sun light to cook them.

The smaller the pond, the fewer fish it can have.

Or, the more smaller fish it will hold as apossed to fewer bigger fish.

Yes please give us specifics!!
Sufface water coverage, and average depth and deepest point.
how will the dam fill.

Lots and Lots of info on here,.... Just have to find it or ask the right question.

What side of the hill is the pond going to be on. North sides tend to have more die off than south side.... depending.

When you dig your pond, always dig it deeper than you want because it will/does, silt in, sink in, and fill up with crap.
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#275081 - 12/06/11 03:28 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishm_n]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Having a trout pond myself, smaller is actually better. Why? Carrying capacity is more dependent upon flow rate vs. size and a smaller pond can more easily be kept cold in the summer with less flow. I.e. raceways have an incredible amount of trout due to the high flow rates. (About 50 lbs.per gpm and higher) In my flow through earthen pond I use a rule of thumb of about 12 lbs. of trout per gpm. E.g. my flow is 45 gpm so maximum pounds of trout is about 500.

Some things to keep in mind though:

1.) Have as steep as sides as possible to keep down warming of the water in the summer.

2.) Use bottom diffuser aeration but only run it at night if your temps are marginal in the summer.

3.) If you can keep temps in the 55 to 65 F. range in summer you are good to go.

Here's an example of how small a pond you can have to grow trout if you have enough ground water flow. It's one of the trout ponds at Crystal Springs Trout Farm in Michigan.



Another picture of 10 to 12 pound Golden trout:



Here's a couple of trout out of my 88 by 59' pond:




Edited by Cecil Baird1 (12/06/11 10:46 PM)
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#275091 - 12/06/11 10:08 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Bill Cody Offline
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Doesn's that guy in the picture look like Tom Cruise? Evidently Tom is a fisherman too.

I've seen at least two instances of trout being kept in cement pools that were around 6ftX8ft and 3-4ft deep. One pool was even smaller and had constant spring water flowing into it. But as CB1 states, the small water with trout has to have cool (<70F) water flow through it or maintain low temps year round and always have high dissolved oxygen. Low DO for 2-10 min will kill the trout. A small trout pond with good cool water flow through could easily be as small as 50X50.


Edited by Bill Cody (12/06/11 10:13 AM)
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#275141 - 12/06/11 08:22 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Bill Cody]
fishNY4fun Offline


Registered: 02/12/11
Posts: 17
Loc: NY
i have a plan to create a 25 by 20 pond and i can make it however deep i please and i was planing to have two small streams coming off of my pond

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#275155 - 12/07/11 05:36 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Loc: Northeastern Indiana
Are you going to feed in well water? If so the only downside for a pond that small, if you have appreciable iron in your well water, could be a brown pond that is not aesthetically pleasing to look at and slightly stressful to larger fish. If you don't have iron issues then no problem.

My 88 by 59 foot pond is just big enough to dilute the incoming precipitated iron.
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#275185 - 12/07/11 08:15 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Bill Cody Offline
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It is possible that he has access to natural spring water with an appreciable flow. Amount of fish that you could raise in that small of a pool would be, as CB1 mentioned, determined by flow rate. Essentially it would be a wide short raceway. Generally the higher the system is loaded with fish the more potential there is for all sorts of problems.


Edited by Bill Cody (05/12/15 08:46 PM)
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#275195 - 12/08/11 08:05 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Bill Cody]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
It is possible that he has access to natural spring water with an appreciable flow. Amount of fish that you could raise in that small of a pool would be, as CB1 mentioned, determined by flow rate. Essentially it would be a wide short raceway. Generally the higher the system is loaded with fish the more potential ther is for all sorts of problems.


Absolutely Bill. Not only is temperature a limiting factor but so is dissolved oxygen and ammonia, nitrites, and to a lesser extent nitrates. If there is enough flow all of these things won't be a problem. If possible using gravity to aerate the incoming water to saturation would be a plus.
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#275199 - 12/08/11 09:01 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Redspruce Offline


Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 15
Loc: Nova Scotia Canada
GO DEEP. Your trout will need cold water.

I'm still learning a lot about ponds, but I'll share with you the details of my small trout pond (hope it helps). My pond is 40'X 55', I had it dug out to the hard-pan rock underneath, which was about 8' or 10' down. The soil is a thick clay, very stable, you could make pottery from this stuff. The backhoe operator left steep banks (like crazy steep, the kind you keep your kids away from). It's been a little over a year since it was dug out and all of the banks eroded to some degree but not too much. I'm sure it has silted in a bit since then.

It's spring fed from both underground and a small spring from the north end that usually runs year round, but gets pretty slow in August. I never checked the temp at any point through the year, just kind of hoped for the best. I live in a northern climate (Nova Scotia), our hottest days might get to 28C - 30C, but they don't last long.

I've got a small "over the bank" spillway that I made out of gravel and larger rocks (rip-rap style). It seems to work fine, and can handle the heavy rains and spring runoff.

I stocked around 45 brook trout last spring and didn't lose any (that I know of). I was concerned that I put too many in but so far so good. If I remember correctly they were about 3"- 5" in length. I usually fed them at dusk, and have since caught a few around the 10" - 13" length.

For feeding, I used floating pellets. Because I like standing at the pond I would hand toss the pellets and watch them feed. Once their feeding slowed I'd stop and watch. I didn't want to waste food or overfeed.

I was also worried that the pond was a little too turbid for trout when I put them in, but they seem to be doing ok.

Just trying to track down some sinking pellets to feed them through the winter. If you care to see, I added some pics on this web site, under the image gallery "Pond Renovation Oct 2010...".

One more thing. If you check out my first post when I joined this site you'll read some awesome advice. These guys are great!

Have fun!

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#275201 - 12/08/11 10:29 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Redspruce]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Registered: 08/08/02
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Loc: Northeastern Indiana
RedSpruce,

You can easily make your pellets sinking by hydrating with water in a zip lock bag. The ratio may vary depending on the manufacturer and size of the pellet, but I am hydrating 5D05 Aquamax 3/16th? inch pellets by added water in a 3:1 ratio (3 parts feed to one part water). Getting the ratio right is important as if you add too much water you get mush and not enough and they don't fully hydrate. Through mixing of the contents of the bag is important too. I mix the bag over and over again in my hand for the first minute or so and then flip it over occasionally on a flat surface for the next five minutes. Then let sit for a couple of hours.

The hydrated pellets will still mostly float, but you simply have to pinch them individually or squeeze a handful in your palm to get them to sink.

Remember you don't have to feed the trout much in winter. My trout aren't fed at all under the ice. They seem to come out of winter just fine.

Thank you Bill Cody for sharing this info albeit he mixes his in a container and measure his out with a mixing cup.


Edited by Cecil Baird1 (12/08/11 12:14 PM)
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#275251 - 12/09/11 02:46 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Redspruce Offline


Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 15
Loc: Nova Scotia Canada
Cecil Baird 1

Thanks for that tip, a great idea. We're having a mild winter so far, they are still coming to the surface to eat. However their feeding has slowed considerably. I think I'll go give your suggestion a try right now.

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#275253 - 12/09/11 03:44 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Redspruce]
Bill Cody Offline
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The average air temperature in RedSpruce's area is very probably lower than that of fishNY4fun in NY. With warmer air temps more flow of cooler water becomes more imporatant for trout survival. In the northern areas, thick ice without open water in trout ponds becomes an important management consderation to prevent winter kill from too low of dissolved oxygen (DO).


Edited by Bill Cody (06/23/12 11:55 AM)
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#275348 - 12/11/11 04:14 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Bill Cody]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Registered: 08/08/02
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Loc: Northeastern Indiana
Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
The average air temperature in RedSpruce's area is very probably lower than that of fishNYfun in NY. With warmer air temps more flow of cooler water becomes more imporatant for trout survival. In the northern areas, thick ice without open water in trout ponds becomes an important management consderation to prevent winter kill from too low of dissolved oxygen (DO).


Excellent Point Bill. I usually run a little air on an edge of the pond to keep some water open to prevent that. In fact i do that in all of the ponds I have fish in. (Drain and refill production ponds).
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#296703 - 06/23/12 08:30 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
RAH Offline
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Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4215
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I too am thinking about a well-fed trout pond (in central Indiana). I would like the trout to reproduce. The pond would be earthen. I was hoing to use a household submerged pump during warm weather, and let it run artesean when colder. How can I calculate how big and deep to make the pond in order to keep it cool enough? I would like to use the incoming water for aeration, but that will warm up the water. Any input on pond design and how to let the water aerate before it enters the pond is much appreciated. I was thinking of a small/short rocky stream for the water inlet. Is planting trees around it for shade a viable idea?

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#296719 - 06/23/12 10:51 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: RAH]
esshup Offline
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Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
RAH, getting the trout to reproduce will be hard. They reproduce in streams/rivers. Can you get enough water flow?
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#296723 - 06/23/12 11:04 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
RAH Offline
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Registered: 05/17/09
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Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I am guessing that with a normal well pump, maybe 3 gal/min. Does that sound about right?

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#296726 - 06/23/12 11:37 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
Bluegillerkiller Offline
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Streams and rivers produce alot more than 3gal/min smile
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#296727 - 06/23/12 11:44 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: Bluegillerkiller]
adirondack pond Offline
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Registered: 08/31/07
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Loc: big moose ny
There is an article in the sept.-oct. 2006 pond boss mag. on how to build a trout spawning box by Mark Cornwell.
Might be worth a try.
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#410949 - 05/11/15 09:19 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
RichMN Offline


Registered: 04/26/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Northern MN
I just dug a 54'X54' pond with the center 30X30 part 12-14 feet deep then the outer 12' is around 6 feet deep. Im running a dual bottom diffuser and a 17000gph pump to circlulate the water and run thru my 1000gallon sand filter. I will be pumping in well water for the water that evaporates.
Hopefully the temps stay low enough for my trout.The pond was dug in a wooded area with all clay ground. We lined it with a multiweave 24 mil liner . I have 600 rainbow trout fry that I hatched out last December that are ready to go in.


Edited by RichMN (05/11/15 09:36 PM)

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#410954 - 05/11/15 09:40 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5588
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Welcome to PBF RMN,

So you have a 1/20th acre pond and are stocking 600 trout fingerlings, correct?

I am not a pro but I am sure one will be along to comment.

Again, welcome to PBF!

Bill D.
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#410981 - 05/12/15 07:07 AM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
Dave Davidson1 Online   content
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That seems, if my math is correct, to be about 4 fish per ft. That might work when they are fingerlings but not sure at what point they will be overcrowded.
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#411067 - 05/12/15 07:45 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
RichMN Offline


Registered: 04/26/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Northern MN
I wasn't expecting so many to live that's why I have so many. It was my first time hatching them. I have a friend who is taking some. hopefully I can eat a bunch this fall and get the numbers down smile

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#411068 - 05/12/15 08:17 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5588
Loc: Boone County Illinois
I definitely do not have any experience in this area. FWIW I would assume trout at 1 lb would be nice to have. Trout need cool water and lots of oxygen. Overstocking is a bad idea. IMO you would be aggressive in such a small body of water stocking 100 fingerlings if 50% survive you have 50. If the water is cold enough, you are willing to feed them pellets and aerate you might make it. 50 lbs of fish in a 1/20th acre pond is a lot. Hopefully, somebody that knows what the heck they are talking about (that's not me!) will weigh in!

No matter what, have fun with it!

Bill D.
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#411072 - 05/12/15 08:42 PM Re: How small can a trout pond be? [Re: fishNY4fun]
Bill Cody Offline
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ewest may be able to help verify this with a reference. I once saw in a research journal article about trout that were raised in a quart jar and at the end of the study, the fish biomass practically filled the jar with fish. The authors did this feat by constantly flowing water through the quart jar similar to a hatchery race way system. Trout are very tolerant to crowding as long as the water quality (temp & DO ) remain high.

As Cecil said above "If there is enough flow ammonia, DO and nitrites won't be a problem."


Edited by Bill Cody (05/12/15 08:45 PM)
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