View Full Version : Thinking about building a farm pond...

04-08-2006, 11:15 PM
Fishing Folks: I have a farm in southern Madison County about half-way between Washington Court House and Columbus. I am seriously considering building a 2-3 acre pond/lake on the farm. I have two questions for some experts. First, the farm borders the North Fork of Paint Creek. Many years ago the winding creek was channelized to expand a pasture area. There is about a 2-3 site, which would essentially be the old stream bed, that I am considering for a lake site. There is a spring at one end and ultimately water flows out of one end into the North Fork where channelization occured. Does anyone have the expertise to comment on whether an old stream channel would hold water and not leak. It would be similar to an "oxbow lake" effect. Secondly, I have some thoughts on some points, cuts, varying depths, and adding rocks for structure. Has anyone ever done something like this? I want to turn it into a bass-fishing lake.


04-09-2006, 08:48 AM
i would contact the odnr, they have a lot of info and will help pay for the work with some of their programs for wildlife habitat.

04-09-2006, 09:16 AM
i would contact the odnr, they have a lot of info and will help pay for the work with some of their programs for wildlife habitat.

One thing to keep in mind when using public funds for such work are the strings attached. For example, if you use public money, it may require that your pond become public access and you provide an easement!

There was an article in this month's Mother Earth News about pond building. It also mentioned contacting your County Extension Agent, but again these would be public funds. No online link yet to that particular article: Mother Earth News (http://www.motherearthnews.com/toc) .

I think the ODNR will at least give you some advice on where and how to build the dam, but I don't have any experience with it.

My business partner is working with Jones now to stock his pond this summer, but I don't think it is for bass fishing. At any rate, I'll post back on how it goes and how the folks at Jones are to work with.


04-09-2006, 10:17 AM
We have a small pond that I manage for fishing. Something to keep in mind that I wish that I would have done is take a picture and film the pond before it fills up with water. That way you can use it for reference as to structure and dropoffs once it does fill up. I would dig a deep point of at least 15 foot and then have a shallow sandy area with brush and trees for a spawning site. Building a dock would also add a great deal of stucture for the fish, as well as a shading spot in the summer.

04-09-2006, 12:22 PM
Every county in Ohio has a soil and water conservation office. Get hooked up with them, the have the experts that will help you for free, no strings-attached. Use your own money or the may be able to guide you into some cost-sharing.As far as I know most of thier programs do not require public access

04-09-2006, 09:01 PM
Maybe I should clarify my public funds comment, especially since I don't have any firsthand experience.

I think the public access and other strings apply only if you take $$ to help build the pond. I am sure several gov't agencies offer some free services to help out with the planning part which is obviously worth taking advantage of.


04-10-2006, 09:15 AM
As far as getting public funding the best way to approach your specific program would be to inquire about the WRP (Wetland Program) whre you may, along a existing waterway be able to take those 3 acres and have SW&CD pay you to put them into a 30 year plan, on the high end, they may give you like 500 an acre to do this, but it does help, no strings attached other then no developing around it on those 3 acres etc. Its worth a call and yes the SW&CD will send a agent out to discuss the pond site for free, I would definately discuss that with him.

As far as holding water, I assume you would be digging down like a gravel pit/barrow pit to get below the water table and the pond would fluctuate between high and low levels if your building in an old flood plain, in other words, would it hold water, no, but if you dig down enough, it should seep enough water to maintain the water tables like gravel pits. But without seeing the soil and the lay of the land and bringing in laser sights to measure the topogrophy, its gonna be hard to say. Most old flood polains have a gravel aquifer fairly close to the surface,


04-10-2006, 09:24 AM
I was just going through the same process. First step should be your county extension agent because they will help you for free. They will also tell you what other county organizations you need to contact for any permits based on where your pond location is.

The best thing about the help the county extension office gave me (in Greene County) was that they had me dig test holes along where the dam would be. In my particular case, I had silt going down over 9' which was as deep as the small backhoe i rented would go. This meant no pond for me.

The bottom of a creek bed should have this silt washed away. Where I wanted to build the pond was actually along a wash that was going through the middle of some farm land behind my house. It had drainage tiles installed years ago to keep the silt from washing into the creek below it.

Ohio State also has a decent paper on farm building. I found it on a google search. There are tons of articles that help. Google "ohio pond constrution" and you'll find some good articles.

04-10-2006, 06:19 PM
If I were unable to build and manage a pond/lake without public funding, I think I would pass. Yes there are public funds out there but they do have a price. Imagine you taking funds for your site and then being told who and when will be on your property to do "shocking" and other survey type of work. I personally believe that if I want exclusivity to what I consider mine, then don't take anyone else's money.

My dad bought a dozer and built a pond about 4 years ago. It has developed into a great fishery mainly due to the fact that he has had total control of design, cover, fish management etc.

Leave the state out of it. They already have their noses in to much of our business!

(P.S. Look at they way they manage their own fisheries! Do you want that for your pond?)

04-11-2006, 09:50 AM
There are many types of funding available to help build a pond, but they are not always available. If you qualify, there are funds out there to help build ponds for flood control. These funds don't come with the same open access requirements other types of funds might.

When I was working with my county extension agent, none of the programs had been funded this year so it was a mute point. Just be sure to explore your options.

04-13-2006, 12:59 AM
Heres another hatchery you can look in to.


They are out of Lebanon Ohio, in Orgonia

I used them when building my pond 2 years ago and they were very helpful.

As for problems with leakage... there is a clay material (Bentonite Clay) that you can have added to the base of your pond when its being built that expands in water to seal up holes and crevices..

Good Luck with you pond!

P.S. I had also heard there were strings attached when you get the state involved...those strings being that you had to allow public access to your pond :-< bummer...

04-13-2006, 07:51 AM
The SWCD will not stick thier noses in your busness, only guide you with the design and construction of your pond. I would highly recomend seeking thier assistance.

04-17-2006, 10:25 PM
I work for an Ohio SWCD and can tell you that there is no government money to build recreational ponds. There is money available through USDA to build ponds to provide a water source for livestock, but if a better quality water source is available on the farm, your SWCD/NRCS representative will probably try to discourage you from building a pond due to cost. WRP (Wetland Reserve Program) was mentioned, and while there is money available to develop wetlands, these are night-and-day different from fish ponds. A wetland constructed to USDA specs will not support fish life for more than one season, as they are designed for shallow water wildlife habitat and not for the depths that fish need (ponds are designed for at least 25% of the pool area at least 8 feet deep).

The Division of Wildlife does not provide money for ponds either. They provide cost share for wetlands only. The same goes for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Your local SWCD can provide valuable information in regards to the soils on your farm, and determine if a pond is feasible in your desired area. They can also provide technical assistance on how to construct the pond, but I don't know of many SWCD's that still provide engineering assistance in the construction of recreational ponds. The workload just doesn't allow us to do fun stuff like that anymore.

04-18-2006, 06:46 AM
Look at they way they manage their own fisheries! Do you want that for your pond?)

I can agree with that