How to build your own fishing lake

How to build your own fishing lake

26 May 2020

How did you cope with fishing being off-limits during lockdown 2020? What if you owned your own fishing lake? That’s right, we said it! We see you now staring off into the distance thinking about it.

But owning your own fishing waters does not have to be a pipedream! Scale down your fantasy and even a good size garden should offer enough space for you to create your own fishing pond. Here are some key considerations:

It’s all in the planning

Find a suitable space

The first step of course is to locate a suitable space, be it your garden, or a piece of land you privately own. Consider the sun and shade levels - a position with morning sun and shade in the afternoon is perfect for keeping the water cool. Remember that while trees provide shade, they will also shed leaves and seeds into your lake.

Check permissions

Checking permissions with your local council is key. The last thing you want is to invest time, effort and money for your lake or pond, just to be filled in. It’s worth giving the planning department a quick call. Be sure to clarify that the fishing waters would be for personal, not commercial use.

Then do the fun part

Plan what type of fish you want in your waters. There is no point daydreaming about catching large carp if you only have the space for perch. Likewise, if you gain no joy from catching endless bream then now’s the time to consider what you do want to stock - this is your pond after all.

Stocking your waters can be a lot of fun. Be sure to build in shallower areas suitable for egg laying, and ensure a good balance of male and female fish. A good stockist will be able to advise on fish numbers, so be sure to know your pond’s square footage.

Tools for the job

Be realistic about the accessibility of machinery both due to availability and logistics. If your land is off the beaten track, getting machinery to site will pose a challenge, as it will in an enclosed garden. Similarly, be realistic about the delivery of rocks, sand and building materials.

You may need to hire professionals for some parts of your build, electrics in particular if you are going to run a pump or diffuser. Even if you are simply one person digging a hole in your garden, planning the tools for the job is essential. Invest in some decent footwear and a quality shovel, and spare a thought for your back. Sustaining an injury could halt the creation of your fishing haven!

Test the waters

If you’re unsure whether to have a liner, first dig a waist height hole and fill it with water to test the water retention. Do this in the morning, top it up in the evening then cover it with a board overnight. If most of the water remains it is ideal soil for a pond. If it has drained away, then opt for a pond liner.

Consider the water conditions preferred by your desired fish stock. Much like in gardening, there is the saying ‘right plant, right place’, there are right conditions for the right fish. Particular fish may thrive better depending on the water’s oxygen levels, depth or temperature.

Have a little patience

Whether it is lockdown restrictions or your budget keeping your workforce small, be aware that without great machinery or large teams, this build is going to take time.

Planning permission can be a drawn-out process, deliveries may still be taking longer than usual, and the build - like any DIY - is bound to take more time than you expect. Even when work is done, waters must be left to settle for at least a day before adding fish, and fish must acclimatise to the waters gradually.