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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    Kioti DK45

    Default Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    I am planning to dig a farm pond 250ftx150ftx10ft deep. Any suggestion on method of construction such as proper bank slope for erosion protection and breeding is appreciated.

    I also plan to stock the pond. What do you suggest? I live in Louisiana. The pond will be dug in an area that used to be a rice field.

  2. #2
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    Rent a dozer and a man to operate it who knows what needs to be done. Seriously. Trying to dig a pond with a CUT is a very very long project. Depening on your soil, you may need to bring in clay for the bottom and/or you may need to add a synthetic liner.



  3. #3
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    Your planned pond is very similar to the same size as one of mine. I dug it with my backhoe over several months. The digging was the easy part, removing the dirt was what realy took the most time.

    I only went 4 feet deep except for a drain hole that is about 7 feet deep. I did that to allow me a place to pump from if I wanted to drain it for some unknown reason in the future.

    On pondboss.com they talk allot about pond construction, stocking and design. It's similar to this sight.

    They all recomend only going 4 feet deep since fish only use the top four feet of water in the pond anyway. The other problem with deeper ponds is twice a year the water will turn over. The cold water at the bottom will rise to the top and force the warm water down. I forget why this happens.

    When it does happen, you can expect a massive die off of your fish because they will remain at the same top 4 feet of water, which is now much, much colder then what they need to survive.

    The mixture of fish you use is really important to your area and what your goals are. I don't know a thing about fish, so I wont comment on it.


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  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Waco, Texas
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    Kubota B2910; Kubota T1670

    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    EddieWalker,

    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with your recommendation to dig no more than 4' deep for a pond. While it may work in certain cases such as ponds with a constant level and little influx of sediment, it's a recipe for disaster in Texas. It's not uncommon for evaporation alone to lower a pond by 3-4' during the summer here. Unless your pond is supplemented with a well and sediment influx is very minimal, you are going to have problems very quickly.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I don't know who you were listening to over on Pondboss but they gave you some bad advice it sounds like. If you let me know some more details either here or in a PM, I'd be happy to give you some additional advice.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    michigan thumb
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    jd 970, JD GT235

    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    That didnt sound right to me either. Might be able to raise carp and shoot ducks though.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    CajunRider,

    I suggest you visit the link provided by EddieWalker and myself for more information specific to your location. I can give you some general advice.

    You will need a dozer for a pond that size. From what you describe, it sounds like you will be digging a hole and not constructing a dam. Make sure you have a source to fill the pond, whether it's groundwater, surface flow, or a well. If you plan on doing it yourself, I would still get some advice from a knowledgeable person on site, even if you have to pay a little for it.

    You want probably a 3 to 1 slope, but that would depend on your soil type. One thing you want to avoid, unless you want submerged vegetation for duck food, is shallow water. I would recommend reaching 3' deep water as close to the shore as possible.

    Don't make a big bowl with no habitat in it. Put some brush piles and humps in there between 4 and 8' deep at the base.

    As far as stocking, the standard across the south is to stock 500 2-3" bluegill and 5 lbs of fathead minnows per acre in the spring. Many stock 300 bluegill and 200 redear instead, and that is usually what I recommend. In the fall you can add 50 4-6" bass and 100 4-6" channel catfish per acre. If you plan to feed the catfish, you can stock them the first spring, but if not I would wait until the fall.

    There's a lot of other stuff to consider also, but I think this answers the questions you've already posed.

  7. #7
    Super Member Dargo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    I dug a pond in a wet area of a field that is about 250' X 310' X 18 feet deep with an island in the middle. I was digging where there was a natural spring, but the spring alone would not have been nearly enough to fill the pond. I have approx. 18 acres of run off land to fill the lake besides what runs off of the gutters of my 60 X 80 pole barn and house that are drained into the pond.

    As someone mentioned, I would also advise against having any shallow water if possible. I'd say that the average depth of my pond is around 8'. I wanted it deep enough to swim in and not have my feet hitting the mucky bottom. We stocked it with hundreds of fish 8 years ago and I can count on one hand the number of dead fish I've seen in the 8 years.

    I live in an area where it is not uncommon to have zero precipitation for 4 month or more straight. If my pond was only 4' deep, it would be dry with fish baking in the sun by the end of some of our summers. According to my local DNR, it is common to have 2" of water evaporate a week during our summer months. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Silver Member
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    West Virginia
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    Kubota L5030, M9540

    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    CajunRider: Based on the size of the pond, you will be removing 13,000 cubic yards of dirt. The real question is, where will the dirt being removed from the pond go. The reason why I ask this question has to do with the most efficient and cost effective method of moving the dirt.

    We base excavation production on the distance the soil has to be moved. Such as, a bulldozer in the size of a D6 to D7 range are cost effective up to moving soil less than 300 feet. The smaller the dozer the less effective it is and the shorter the distance it is considered productive. The cost to move soil with a D6 or D7 up to 300 feet is around the $2.75 to $3.50 per cubic yard.

    If the distance is over 300 feet and the soil is not rocky, we move it with John Deere 9520 Tractors pulling two John Deere 1810E scrapers with a combined capacity of 36 cubic yards per load. This combination usually allows you to move soil in the $1.80 to $2.50 per cubic yard range depending on distance of travel.

    My suggestion would be to rent a 150 hp tractor and a 10 cy scraper and do it yourself or hire someone with a scraper to do it. The bulldozer is effective in certain applications but is considered to be the most expensive method of mass excavation.

  9. #9
    Gold Member
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    Lake Charles, LA
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    Kioti DK45

    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    I getting a pro to do this for me. He has done many ponds. The dirt we removed will be used to build a pad for my house. He told me there are different configuration for ponds in my area (shallow in one end & deeper in another, 3ft deep ring around the edge for spawning area etc..). He told me to ask TBNers for advice.

    As to filling the pond, I don't have to worry about it. My neighbor just got his pond dug and the pond just fills itself up to about 18" below the top. We figure that the spring rain will fill it up to the bank.

  10. #10
    Super Member Dargo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Digging a farm pond - need advice.

    WVBartMan, you've obviously moved some dirt. I completely agree with you on the equipment needed. My issue was that I wanted the relatively steep drop to prevent vegetation. I ended up using an 800 series JD excavator and running 3 tandem axle dump trucks non-stop. Once dug, I then used an old Cat 955 high lift to crumb out the bottom and smooth things out and level the levee. I rented the excavator, owned the dozer, and owned one of the dump trucks and borrowed the other two.

    With me running the excavator 12 hours a day and having my dad and two other buddies running the other dump trucks, I moved the biggest part of 18,000 cubic yards of dirt in just under a week. It ended up costing me under $1 per cubic yard to move the dirt. Being that some of the dirt was put 300 yards away from where it was dug, I figured that I came out pretty well on expense. My dad worked at a strip mine that had a dragline that had a 106 cubic yard bucket. He kept telling me that they move more dirt than I moved in half of a shift.

    The worst part was blowing the hydro line right at the pump on the Cat with a bucket full of mud when I was using the bottom of the island bottom to help fill the bucket. Sitting in 6" of water and having no hydraulics, I had to fix it where it sat since it wouldn't back out and the one dump truck I had left wouldn't budge it. That sucked! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

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