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Home / Fisheries / How To Build A Farm Pond / Introduction

How To Build a Farm Pond

 Introduction   |   Planning   |   Construction   |   Stocking


Note that "Farm Ponds," as referred to on this web site, are recreational in nature. Calculations and management techniques mentioned here are not intended for use in commercial "farm ponds." For more information on commercial pond management visit the MSUcares Aquaculture section.

Click here for a printable version of this publication: Managing Mississippi Farm Ponds and Small Lakes

A pond that consistently produces good catches of fish is a result of proper planning, construction, and management. Poor planning, improper construction, or lack of proper management results in lakes and ponds that are relatively unproductive or problematic.

It is critical that as a landowner you clearly define your objectives in the beginning, before the first soil is moved. Do you want to catch good numbers and sizes of bass and bream? Or do you want trophy bass? Maybe you prefer to catch big bream? Or just channel catfish? How much will the pond be fished? Will the pond be used for purposes other than fishing?

You must decide before construction begins how the pond will be used so you can create a proper management plan for the pond. Keep in mind that all objectives cannot be met in a single pond, and compromises may be necessary. Landowners with multiple ponds may consider applying different management plans on different ponds.

After the pond is completed, success or failure depends on using practices to establish and maintain good fish populations. Proper stocking with the correct species and numbers of fish, stocking at the proper time of year, a balanced harvest, water quality management, and aquatic weed control are basics you should understand. Many unmanaged ponds could produce many more pounds of fish than they now produce if good management practices were followed.


Mississippi Law requires that anyone proposing to build, modify, or repair a dam must get written authorization from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) before beginning construction. Written authorization is not required if the dam is less than 8 feet high, impounds less than 25 acre-feet of water at the top of dam, or the dam does not impound a watercourse with a continuous flow of water (as long as failure of the dam would not threaten public safety downstream). A surface water impoundment permit may be required, even if written authorization to build the dam is not required. The impoundment permit has a fee of $10 and is good for 10 years. Penalties may be imposed for failure to file. For more information contact the MDEQ Dam Safety Division at (601) 961-5061 or on the Web at and click on the link titled Dam Safety.