I have dreamed of owning my own fishing hole since I was about 12 years old. In the winter of 2002 I began making plans to make the dream a reality. I gathered as much information and learned all I could. I consulated with my county's soil and water department and met with local excavating companies. After a great deal of research and thought, I decided to build the pond myself. I negotiated prices with rental companies and ordered equipment. I had little excavating experience so I hired an experienced operator and got some additional help from friends and family. We began building in October of 2003 The pond took 3 weekends working longs days with 3 or 4 people to complete. I didn't have to move dirt more than 100' so I rented an excavator and two dozers. The topsoil was stripped and digging began. A core trench was dug around the perimeter and packed with clay. Another core trench was dug and packed along the back fence and swales were cut in to direct more water from the field into the pond. The excavated soil was used to build up the rest of the lot for my home. An overflow pipe was installed dumping into a nearby ditch. Water kept coming in and the pond had to pumped daily to continue digging Structure (pallets, clay tiles) was added. The pond filled quickly. 10lbs of Fathead minnows and some spawning size bluegills were added. The following Spring, more bluegills (220 total plus 25 Hybrid BG) were added along with about 15 channel cats and I began feeding. I planned adding bass the following fall. The fatheads and bluegill reproduced like crazy so 25 fingerling largemouth were added late June of 2004. The water level dropped during the hot summer months of 2005 exposing a several feet of unsightly bank. Because the pond is so close to the house we put down geotextile fabric and had about 90 tons of #2 limestone delivered by slinger truck. By the spring of 2006 some nice bluegills and channel cats were being caught along with bass in the 10"-12" range. Some more structure that was added in 2006 based on the idea of a guy from another pond forum. In July of 2006 I saw a cloud of small fish and decided to catch them with my cast net. To my surprise, they turned out to be gizzard shad. Having read they can be bad for a small body of water I was very concerned. Bob Lusk recommended that I use Hybrid striped bass to control them so I stocked 20 6-7" ones. They pounded the heck out of the schools until no more were observed. In 2007 the channel cats were getting too big and eating more than their share of pellets so I've been removing the ones I catch. I also added a bottom diffuser aeration system to improve water quality and increase carrying capacity.