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How to Build an Artificial Fishing Lake

Les Rouvets "Man-Made" Coarse Fishing Lake in Guernsey

Les Rouvets "Man-Made" Coarse Fishing Lake in Guernsey

How to Build an Artificial Lake or Fishing Pond

Ideally, when you decide to build a fishing lake, you need first to find a suitable piece of land and then have the "vision" to imagine how that piece of land will look once flooded with water.

The most suitable locations are to be found on low-lying land. This ensures that water will naturally and frequently drain into the lake to avoid it drying up. An added bonus, if a stream flows alongside the lake, is that this can naturally provide a supply of water that will drain through to the newly built lake (if you build a small ditch from the stream to the lake at the lowest point of your new lake).

Do not be tempted to allow the stream to directly feed into the lake itself because, in a matter of a year or two, the silt build-up in your new lake will have reached levels that require urgent attention. This is not only expensive to resolve but often hard to achieve once your surrounding trees have become established, making it difficult for machinery to access the silted-up areas.

It may even require you to drain your lake to enable the silt to be safely removed. However, this leaves you with the new problem of figuring out what to do with your fish stocks whilst the work is completed.

Common Problems With Fishing Lakes

Naturally, it is very tempting to simply dam the stream and allow the man-made lake to fill to the point it overflows the dam (as was done at Les Rouvets Lake pictured above). The risks here are that once the wooden dam degrades or begins to rot, it could give way at any time, in which case, where is all that water going to go? Also, the silt does gradually ruin the lake unless removed every few years.

In the case of Les Rouvets Lake above, the problem has been that the end of the lake where the stream enters is now only a couple of feet deep due to the large level of silt that has accumulated since it was first dug out in 1963.

In the years since the lake was first built, the surrounding trees and shrubs have matured, and now, the only way to remove the silt would be to drain the lake to around half full, then allow a number of weeks for the silt to dry out before getting ramps built to enable a digger to access the silt and remove it, without itself sinking into the silt buildup. Even then, a number of the mature trees and shrubs would have to be removed to allow access to a JCB (construction equipment) of suitable size to complete the work, and this in itself would prove a very costly exercise.

Make sure that if you do have a stream running next to your new lake, the bank between them should be high enough that if the stream is flooded after heavy rains, it will not affect the lake and will follow its own natural course as usual.

At the deepest part of the lake, a "monk" should be built, which allows the water level to be controlled but also allows the lake to be drained completely if required.

Do Trout Need Running Water?

It used to be believed that for trout to thrive, they required running water, but this has proven to be a false assumption.

So long as the water is clean and deep, trout will flourish. It has been proven over and over again that trout have successfully survived in man-made concrete reservoirs and artificial ponds with no flow of water running through them.

Depths and Temperatures

The depths you choose for your lake will largely depend on the fish you intend to stock it with later.

Temperature-wise, any water that remains over 20 degrees Celsius over the summer is ideal for coarse fish; cooler water that does not go above 20 degrees Celsius in summer is better for trout.

Rainbow trout will cope better with higher temperatures than brown trout. Coarse fish such as the cyprinids, e.g., carp and tench, are pretty tough, although ideally, they should have deeper areas of over 1.5–2.0 metres where they can go for the duration of the winter months and remain semi-dormant until the warmer weather arrives. Trout will require a minimum of 2 metres to ensure the water remains cool enough for them to thrive.

Oxygen Levels

Naturally, oxygen levels will be very important to your eventual fish stocks. In hot weather, oxygen levels can drop to dangerous levels.

To avoid this potential problem, it is important to first ensure your lake is not too muddy or full of underwater weed, and secondly that the surface area is sufficient to absorb as much oxygen as possible because a deep lake with a small surface area will not absorb as much oxygen as a shallower lake with a large surface area.

Water Quality

It will be an important consideration as to the quality of water you will be able to provide in your new lake. Ideally, the pH levels should be between 6.5–8 regardless of whether to intend to stock the newly built lake with trout or with coarse fish.

You will also need to determine that the water that feeds your lake is not polluted in any way, so follow your feeder streams to their source to ensure cattle, pesticides, sewage, etc., are not inadvertently being fed into your new lake.

Suitable Species of Fish for Clay- or Gravel-Bottomed Lakes

If your lake has a gravelly or hard clay bottom, then it will prove most suitable for trout, as the cyprinid species of coarse fish such as carp and tench tend to stir up the muddy bottoms of lakes looking for food, which would be difficult for them if the bottom was gravel or hard clay.

Wildfowl such as ducks on your lake are not a problem if the numbers are minimal, as the droppings they produce will fertilise the water, and the lake will therefore be the perfect habitat for the natural foods coarse fish consume.

Planning Your Lake

Before you go ahead and dig a big hole in the ground, consider that most anglers enjoy the feeling of being "the only person fishing."

It is therefore important to create a lake that is not a perfect circle and has bends and curves that can be separated by trees and shrubs to give the illusion of isolation for the anglers. In addition to this advantage, there will be a far greater fishing space around a contoured lake than a perfect circle.

You will obviously need large earth-moving machines to commence building your lake, and even this only follows you obtaining the correct planning permissions if you don't want to be forced to fill your newly dug lake in again.

Make sure you get a number of quotes for the work involved, ideally from companies who have experience of digging lakes out previously. Quotes can vary greatly, and make sure they are based on the completed job, not on an hourly rate.

Damming Your Lake

To dam a lake, the best course of action is to find an area of low-lying ground such as a valley, then build a dam to trap the water and prevent it from flowing away. This will be made far easier if the lake will be fed by a stream, although an overflow will then obviously be necessary. Bear in mind what I said earlier, though, about the stream not ideally feeding immediately into the lake to avoid silt build-up.

  1. Firstly you will need to remove all trees and shrubs from around the proposed area, as the roots of these would, over time, act as a point for water to drain out of the lake. The same will apply to grass, reeds, etc., as whilst they rot, they will create routes where water can drain through, and water will always find a way!
  2. Next, you will need to build a ditch approximately half a metre deep across the valley where you intend to place your dam (see figure 1 below). This will ensure the dam is secured on the site and avoid water seeping through. Please do not avoid this step as a shortcut, or you may well live to regret it.
  3. You will next need to lay a drainage pipe at the base of the dam, at least 30 cm in diameter, assuming you have only a very small stream feeding your lake. This pipe will only need to be used in the event you need to drain your lake using the "monk," which also needs to be built. Ensure your pipes have posts driven in each side of them to avoid the heavy action of the machinery from disconnecting them later on. These pipes must angle slightly downhill to make sure water flows in the right direction (much like your crockery draining board at home).
  4. At the top end of the pipe, you need to dig a hole for the foundations of the "monk;" the bigger, the better. Depending on whether you have a clay soil or not determines on the thickness. Hard clay will require one metre thickness, but softer clay will need digging out to whatever level is necessary to reach firm ground. A monk of 3 metres in height in soft clay will require a concrete foundation of at least 2 metres cubed. Do not make the mistake of taking shortcuts on this, as you will only end up with a monk that tilts or is not functional.

Make sure reinforcing rods are used within the concrete foundations (which must not be too wet to avoid water seepage), and these rods should go to the full height of the monk.

Bear in mind your monk should always be built at the deepest point of the lake in case you ever need to drain the lake down completely.

Draining your lake every year or two enables the removal of silt, debris, and diseased fish and facilitates easy repairs.

figure 1

figure 1

The Monk

Building your monk will largely depend on the depth of your lake. Any depth over 2 metres will require a concrete or brick monk, whilst under 2 metres a wooden one will suffice.

The advantages of having a monk are many, not least of which is the fact you can drain down your lake periodically to remove silt, debris, diseased fish, etc.

It is important that your monk is made from material sufficiently strong to allow for the huge water pressures it will have to cope with in the event you need to drain the lake. Ideally, a lake deeper than 2 metres will require a concrete monk reinforced with iron rods.

The three walls of your concrete monk will each need to be at least 30 cm thick, and in the event you plan to build a deep lake your monk may need to be four metres high or more.

The diagrams below illustrate the view of the side of the monk open towards the lake (figure 2), and the view from above the monk looking down (figure 3). These illustrate the grooves where the stop boards and gratings will be situated. U irons are ideal for using in these grooves as they allow the boards to slide up and down very easily when required.

If the pipeline and the apertures of the monk measure 30 cm the two irons will need to be welded together so they are running parallel 30 cm apart. Holding the two U irons apart should be two cross bars, one at the top and one about 10 cm from the bottom. These must not be on the lake side of the frame or they will make handling of the boards difficult. Ensure all iron is covered in anti-rust paint.

The two bottom ends of the U iron frame will need to be embedded in the concrete foundation, ideally when the concrete is being poured. The frame must be absolutely straight and should be checked with a spirit level both horizontally and vertically and supported in their position with poles. When the concrete has been set the frame can be used as a guide for building up the monk.

Depending on whether you need to simply let off surface water, or if you need the ability to let water away from differing levels will determine how many sets of boards you need. A single set will only allow drainage of surface water, whereas for differing levels two sets of boards must be allowed for. This means three sets of U iron grooves.

The outer will be to keep back debris and fish, the third inmost, to hold the boards regulating the level of the lake. The second, middle one to hold boards, one of which is replaced by a similar-sized grating. This grating must slide up and down easily and it can be put at the level at which you wish to draw off water, (see figure 4 below).

If, for example, you wish to draw water off from the bottom of the lake, you will slide the grating down to the bottom of the second, or middle, set of grooves, and slide the boards above down to rest above the grating. The water will then flow through the grating and then up and over the third, inmost section, down through the monk and out through the pipeline, (see figure 5). The actual level of the lake is always governed by the height of the boards in the innermost set of grooves.

figure 2

figure 2

figure 3

figure 3

figure 4

figure 4

figure 5

figure 5

Naturally, you will need to alter the draw-off level when required, and obviously, when the lake is full the grating and the boards will be covered in water so you cannot get to them. The way this is achieved is by placing an extra board temporarily in the third innermost set of boards so that all water stops flowing.

Each board has eyelets attached to them, and using a long hook iron, (see figure 6 below), you will then draw up all the boards and the grating, then remove the temporary board from the third section so that the water flows again.

figure 6

figure 6

The dimensions of the grating should be square so that the bars can be aligned either horizontally or vertically as required. When the lake has to be emptied the grating can be placed so the bars are horizontal. As the water flows through the debris will only block up the top bars, allowing the water free flow through the lower bars. Naturally, this will require less attention than if all the bars were vertical.

The boards used should not be made of oak, as if left in contact with the U iron for a long period the action of the acid in the wood can destroy the iron. For stop boards, elm is best.

Once your monk has been built it should be rendered inside and out to prevent leaks.

Ensure that the last three or four pipes at the outflow are bedded in with as much concrete as possible. This is because in the event of an emergency and you need to drain your lake down quickly, the force of the water could shift the last pipes with the result of washing your dam away completely.

The Dam Building Stage 2

Once your monk is completed and the concrete has hardened, you will need to dig a further ditch on the downstream side of the outlet pipes, and this will then need to be connected to the original stream. On the upstream side of the lake in front of the monk (which currently does not have any stop boards or grating fitted), you dig a further ditch towards the stream so that the stream is directed through the monk, into the original stream bed.

Next, you need to block off the old stream bed so that it dries out. It will soon be filled in once the dam-building commences.

The stream bed where the foundation of the dam will be must be completely cleared of all vegetation, after which you can bring in the heavy machinery.

Assuming you are using a bulldozer, it is important that the dam is built up layer by layer completely. For example, if your dam is going to be 50 metres wide at the base, the bulldozer should from the start push over the whole of that 50 metres of width, and as the dam grows higher and narrows, he should continue to travel over the full width of the dam. The weight of the machines will then consolidate the earth below.

As the machine comes closer to your pipes, you will need to be very careful that the pressure of the earth he is moving does not push your pipes apart and cause them to block up. This can happen even when the bulldozer is several metres away.

To prevent this, get the machine to stop 8 metres away from the pipeline. Then make the machine push its bladeful of soil at a reduced speed, and gently lift the blade and let the soil fall down in front of the machine before reversing away a good 20 metres or so at a gentle speed. This will need to be repeated until there is sufficient earth for two or three men to shovel it further towards the pipeline and eventually onto the pipes themselves, where they will need to tread it down firmly.

Once there are three or four metres of soil on top of the pipes, the bulldozer can carefully drive over the soil to compress it down. For the first 20–30 journeys over the buried pipes, the machine should be driven slowly until the earth has been fully compressed and the pipes have no tendency to move. It is worth periodically checking the pipe by looking down the end of it to ensure daylight is still visible at the other end. If not, the pipes have shifted and will need to be dug up and realigned.

The soil used to build your dam should be as waterproof as possible, therefore the obvious choice is a clay soil possibly topped with another type of soil so that the clay is not likely to simply slip away.

You can never overdo the width of your dam, and the wider it is, the more stable it is going to be. Generally speaking, the width at the top of the dam should be equal to the height of the dam. In other words, a dam that is 5 metres high should also be 5 metres wide at the top (see figure 9 below).

The final height of your dam should be around 50-60cm above the highest water level of the lake. The larger the lake, the greater this safety margin should be. The overflow will regulate the level of the lake, and this level should be a little below the top board of the monk. In other words, the surplus water should always exit through your overflow, not through your monk.

What is very important is that the depth your machines dig to should never be deeper than the bottom of the monk; otherwise, you will be unable to drain the lake completely. Also, the sides of the lake must slope towards the centre, and the bottom of the lake must slope towards the monk and the dam.

The Overflow

An overflow is important to have in addition to a monk, (which in itself should not be relied on solely as a means of maintaining water levels). Even if the stream feeding your lake is very small, the overflow will need to be considerably larger to allow for unforeseen storms or floods that may produce a massive surge of water through your lake.

If you look at figure 7 below, you will see that the overflow has been located where the dam joins the edge of the valley. It is important that your overflow is built on virgin soil that has not been disturbed by machines to minimise the risk of water seeping through, and possibly eroding away your dam at high speed.

First, dig a channel 30 cm below the future level of the lake. Commence this digging on the lake side, and then slowly downwards in an arch towards the stream where it emerges out of the pipeline under the dam. The width of the channel on the lake side should be about 4 metres. This channel can become narrower and deeper as it slopes down the offside of the dam.

The intake, the lake side, of the overflow needs to be very wide to prevent sudden rising of the water levels within the lake. It is also wise to allow room for a fish barrier made of finely meshed plastic net, which will prevent your fish from escaping, and catch any debris. The wider this barrier is the less attention it will require to clear it. The fish barrier is usually semi-circular and staked firmly one or two metres in front of the overflow.

The 30 cm channel you dug below the level of the lake is to form a floor for the overflow made of concrete. This floor will need to be extended a metre or more into the lake, (see figure 8) below to view this in profile.

The floor will need to be extended a metre or so into the lake to prevent water seeping underneath. The sides of the overflow to the back of the dam can be made of brickwork or concrete, and the whole structure will need to be reinforced with iron rods.

It will also be necessary to have "ears" of concrete both sides of the overflow that extend into the soil, also to prevent seepage.

Do not forget when the overflow is being built that it controls the level of the lake, therefore in relation to the monk it must allow for a level of water slightly lower than the top of the board in the monk.

Bear in mind the overflow is being built before the lake has started to fill with water. Currently, all water is running through the monk and the pipes under the dam. Problems could arise if you experience unforeseen heavy rains for a number of weeks, in which case the monk and pipes may not be able to take all the water. If the water rises to a point where it reaches the top of the dam and then runs over it, your dam could be washed away completely. If your stream is unpredictable it is a good idea to build the overflow before the dam.

The lake can be filled three to four weeks after the work has been completed. This delay is to allow all concrete to harden and to check to see if the monk or the overflow have settled in any way. When you do commence filling the lake it should be done slowly, and the inflow hatch boards should be adjusted to ensure the lake does not fill by more than 5 to 8 cm every day. As the water rises the pressures on your structures will be considerable, so if the water only rises slowly it will enable you to correct any problems.

figure 7

figure 7

figure 8

figure 8


  1. Find a piece of land that is suitable for the type of fish you intend to stock your lake with. i.e., 2–3 metres of depth for a trout fishery or at least 1.5 metres for a coarse fishery.
  2. Determine your levels so that no neighbouring land is in danger of being flooded.
  3. Divert the stream (if you have one), into a new stream bed around the lake.
  4. Clear away all vegetation from the ground where you intend to site your dam.
  5. Lay your pipes and build your monk.
  6. Ensure that the earth that makes up the newly built dam is properly consolidated and that the correct angles have been achieved, i.e. towards the lake is 1 in 4 and on the offside the angle is 1 in 3 (see figure 9 below).
  7. The overflow is built in its correct place where the dam joins virgin soil on the side of the valley.
  8. Dig the draining ditches on the bottom of the lake to make draining in future years easier.
figure 9

figure 9


All you need to do now is to consider what vegetation to plant around your lake and if you want to build decked fishing swims, etc. It is wise to give the lake a month or two to settle down before attempting to stock it with fish, and then you will probably need to supplementary feed for a while until the natural food supplies establish themselves.

Research Sources

Apart from my own experience, I found the 1984 book called Sports Fisheries in the Making written by the late Alex Behrendt, a very useful source of research.

The diagrams used in this article were drawn by Katharine Behrendt and were also obtained from the same book as above.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Mikeh1809 on December 22, 2018:

yes our lake did, if we used the term"Pond" then it probably wouldnt. I asked the planner the difference he laughed and wasnt able to answer!!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 10, 2018:

Not in our case John, because our lake already existed and we restored it.

John on November 10, 2018:

Did your lake require planning permision?

Austin Daniel on September 18, 2018:

I am the mayor of a small town. Well my dog is and we want to make a lake because it is called lake city so I don't get how to do that.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 17, 2017:

Hi Cindybarg. I wish I could advise on this aspect of building a fishing lake, however the planting of all the shrubs and trees was done by the gentleman who built ours in the early 1960's so I am not sure of the names of the exact plants he used. The trees we have around our lake were also planted by him and include weeping willows, sweet chestnuts, leylandii, oaks and other native type species. I would avoid the Leylandii because they get huge, are only shallow rooted and therefore tend to blow down in severe wet and windy weather. We have lost two huge ones over the last 11 years and they were a lot of work to chop up and remove. Not sure I could advise on the stones either, but think any clean rocks would be fine. Our lake is fed by a natural stream so any stones or rocks were already there. Your local garden centre may well sell rocks suitable for ponds and rookeries though as I know ours do.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your exciting new project.

CindyBarg on February 17, 2017:

Hi Cindy,

I see you do have trees and shrubs next to your lake. Any suggestions which sort work best so as not to dry up the lake?

And the placement of them...i'd like to send you some plans eventually so you could help me decide the safest options.

Also, if you have any advice on what type of stones to incorporate into a brook that will not contaminate the water?

These are just the beginning of questions I have as this is a new property for us and we're very excited for this opportunity to live closer to nature, to create wildlife habitat and decrease our footprint.

I love this article and your feedback to people's questions...

thanks so much!

CindyBarg on February 17, 2017:

Hi Cindy,

I see you do have trees and shrubs next to your lake. Any suggestions which sort work best so as not to dry up the lake?

And the placement of them...i'd like to send you some plans eventually so you could help me decide the safest options.

Also, if you have any advice on what type of stones to incorporate into a brook that will not contaminate the water?

These are just the beginning of questions I have as this is a new property for us and we're very excited for this opportunity to live closer to nature, to create wildlife habitat and decrease our footprint.

I love this article and your feedback to people's questions...

thanks so much!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 04, 2016:

Our lake was originally built as a trout lake as it goes. Before the silt began to build up it went to depths of about 17 feet. We don't get very cold winters here in Guernsey so the lowest temperature we get to is about -5 degrees Celsius and the lake has only frozen over once in the 11 years we have had it. I am not an expert of trout I have to say, but would imagine 17 feet is sufficient if the lake is unlikely to freeze over, but if it is likely to freeze over deeper is usually better.

Glad you enjoyed this article.

goldentouch on August 03, 2016:

Great Blog ! What depth should a lake be if you plan on having trout in the lake? In the winter, temp get down to 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. The lake would be frozen over in the winter. I suspect their would be winter kill in the winter time.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 21, 2013:

Thanks Kirk, that would be great. I also sincerely wish you the best of luck in getting the house as you do sound passionate about it. Look forward to seeing your lake if all goes well, and of course we would love to show you around ours :)



kirk tennant on July 21, 2013:

thank you for your info if we defo get the house i will defo let you have a had full of the fish in the lake in exchange for your knowledge thanks again. rather not say where the house is till i defo no we have it as the less people no about it the better chance we have getting it will let you no as soon as we do . as i am in love with it lol

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 19, 2013:

Hi Kirk,

You don't need a licence as such, but what you might need to do is speak to the planning department to make sure they are happy with the 'change of use' to being a public fishery. They shouldn't cause you too much of a problem so long as you aren't looking to put toilets, litter bins etc on the site. You would need an inspection from Health and Safety too as they do like to check to see if you have adequate safety measures in place e.g. we put out two lifebelts on ropes so they could be thrown out to someone who had fallen in, we fenced off certain areas of the lake where there was a risk of people falling in etc. You would also need to get public liability insurance if you are planning to sell day tickets, this costs around £250 per year.

What I would say to you is not to expect to make a profit from this. We have struggled in Guernsey to get people to even try coarse fishing, and this is not least because Guernsey people are set in their ways and really only seem to be interested in sea fishing. They can't get their heads around why anyone would want to pay to fish for fish they have to return to the water and can't eat, when they can go to the sea and fish for free and eat what they catch. Even the Guernsey Freshwater Angling Society only has about 55 members and they pay about £60 a year membership which entitles them to fish various disused quarries and one or two ponds around the island. We charge people £50 a year membership or £10 for a 24 hour day ticket, and we don't even cover the low rental we pay for the lake and the land around it. I think right now we have about 10 members, and we probably sell around two or three day tickets a week in the spring and summer, and none the rest of the year. It really is a labour of love rather than a viable business venture, especially when you factor in the extra costs like having the grass around the lake cut, the insurance, the general maintenance of things like the weir, dealing with the hassle of moving and cutting up any trees that come down (we lost 12 during the snow this year), keeping an eye on the lake to make sure no-one is poaching the fish etc etc.

I am curious to know where the house is you are buying here, not least because there aren't many houses in Guernsey that have large lakes with them. I would also be interested to know if you would be interested in selling two or three of your large Mirror Carp as we are not allowed to import any Cyprinid species of fish into the Channel Islands due to the risk of them introducing the KHV or SVC viruses to the island which we are currently free of. For that reason we have had to rely on some we were given and some youngsters we managed to buy locally about 6 years ago. The rest of our Carp were all sourced from either the Reservoir here, or from fish that were donated to us by local people giving up keeping fish. It would be fabulous if someone like yourself was willing to part with two or three already at good sizes that we could add to our existing fish (right now ours go up to about 32lb in weight, and that one is a large Ghost Carp). Anyway, we would be grateful if you would consider it.

If you want to contact me privately you can email me at You might also like to take a look at our website if you haven't already (the link is in blue in the text of the third paragraph of this article).

Hope to hear from you.



kirk tennant on July 19, 2013:

hi i am at the moment buying a house in guernsey that comes with a very big lake stocked with fish and was wondering what licence you need to let public fish on it as an income it is stocked with very big mirror carp and so on

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 11, 2013:

You can make the stream look lovely at a higher level, just make it look like a miniature waterfall with rocks etc for it to splash over (all helps trap oxygen in the water). A stream flowing in at the same level as the lake is easily missed, and doesn't look particularly special (or even noticeable) at all. I know this because the stream that feeds our main lake is only a 'same level' stream, and it is barely noticed by anyone, plus it becomes overgrown easily. A waterfall however doesn't just look nice, but it sounds nice too.

A good range of plants and fish will help keep your lake water healthy, especially if you include some oxygenating type plants from early on.

As you will lose a fair amount of water to evaporation, pumping fresh water from your well will help keep the water fresh and clean also.

You are embarking on an exciting project, and I am sure if you persevere you will get the results you are aiming for, and by being unique you could have a great business out there either for locals or tourists if you wanted to go down that route.

shamsAlAriyaf on July 11, 2013:

True I can always make the stream at a higher level, but it wouldn't look as nice as a low-level stream. I will try to reduce the residence time of water in the lake by increasing the speed of water going into the stream, so that water does not stay stagnant in the lake for more than (I don't know) 3-5 days. May be that will help.

To be honest with you I have some considerable trepidation about the whole thing as it is a large project and a new concept for me... I fear that I may mess it up! I will, though, work out the design with an engineering office, if I find one. I'm seriously thinking this might turnout to be an amazing project, which has not been done anywhere in Saudi Arabia!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 11, 2013:

Well we currently have a Koi pond that is also man made and that is fed with water that comes from the main lake (which in our case is fortunately at a higher level than the Koi pond). To aerate the Koi pond we ran a simple syphon system using a length of hosing leading from the main lake into a length of standard drain pipe that we suspended above the Koi pond. Gravity does the rest as the syphon constantly takes water from the main lake and causes an effect much like a fairly fast running tap. This means no need for pumps electricity or anything. What you could do is get your pump to pump the water from your lake to a mini pond (or even a tank) that you create at a higher level of ground, then set up a similar syphon system so that it goes from the tank or pond back into the main lake. Alternatively is there any way you can raise the stream to a higher level than the lake itself so that when it 'arrives' at the lake it is already a few feet above the waterline and would therefore arrive almost like a small waterfall. You could still pump the water into the man made stream, but it would aerate as it arrived into the lake either way. Overall this would save you the cost of running an aerator (and the hassle if it ever breaks down).

Re-planting the plants when the lake is still empty. Well, I wouldn't do that unless the lake had at least some water in it already. The plants are designed to live in water, so planting them in a plain clay soil bed would be unlikely to work. You would definitely need to weigh them down with stones initially regardless, as otherwise when you do fill the lake they won't have had time to root in properly and will just float up to the surface. Plant the plants early on too, at least a couple of months before you add the fish or you risk the fish dislodging them (more in the case of the flag iris type plants as they are more awkward in shape to weigh down properly, unlike lilies which are easy).

Re-the concrete wall, well it really shouldn't be necessary if you are using plenty of good clay soil, but I don't suppose it would hurt to do so as a back up plan. Even incorporating plenty of rocks into your clay mix would help to stabilise the sides without the need for a wall though. When we restored the Koi pond from being mostly empty of water and totally overgrown and we had to make it watertight again, we simply plugged the gaps with loads of hardcore rocks and stones etc, and then covered all of that in a thick layer of clay soil. The pond was immediately watertight and filled right up in about two days.

I hope this helps.

shamsAlAriyaf on July 11, 2013:

Great pointers again, Misty/Cindy! Yes, I think dropping the stream back onto the lake from a high level is good, but it may be difficult to do so because I'm planning on using pumps to pull water off of the lake into the stream and then let gravity lead the water back to the lake. I would have to use another set of pumps to pull water from a collection pool at the end of the stream to drop the water. So, I'm thinking may be an aerator could do the job instead.

Great tip on dropping the plants into the water by attaching them to stones... I will try that. You don't think planting them before filling the lake would work?

Finally, I'm thinking of erecting a conceret wall, 1 meter high, around the base of the lake alongside the edges to help keep the lake from collapsing! Not sure if that's necessary but it sounds like a good idea.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 10, 2013:

Hi Fahad,

Sounds like a great project and one I see no reason for being unsuccessful. We don't filter or oxygenate our lake, but the stream that feeds into it is natural so new water is being provided all the time. I suspect your biggest problem will be water evaporation in the high heat, but if you are going to pump it from your own well this may not be an issue to you. If you are recycling the water for oxygenation purposes then try to pump it so that when it returns it drops back into the main lake from a slight height to trap as much oxygen as possible (say a metre or two above the surface of the lake).

Re-growing plants, well we have never had a problem, and clay soil actually holds on to nutrients far better than most soils so there is no reason for plants not to grow in it. As time goes on a natural layer of decaying plant matter, fish faeces etc will provide a rich medium for plants to grow in. We have water lilies mostly right now, and they thrive and spread happily (plus looking pretty and being ideal for fish to hide under, spawn within etc). Simply get some young plants, tie them to a rock, and gently throw them into the water where you want them to grow (but try to make sure the existing leaves are no more than 12 inches below the surface so they can quickly grow to the top (don't worry, they will naturally spread to deeper water). We also have flag iris on the borders of the lake, and they also thrive in the conditions. A lake of 6 months old or more will naturally have more potential for plants and fish to be successful in it.

Hope this helps and I really wish you luck with this project.

shamsAlAriyaf on July 09, 2013:

Misty, needless to say, you have provided some very useful, and hard to find, information on this subject! Your thoughts on my situation will be very much appreciated... I'll make it in bullets for conveneience.

* I intend to create a 0.75 acre (around 3000 sqm) lake in my property in the middle of Saudi Arabia! Yes right there, where it's hot and sunny a good 4-6 months a year.

* I have plenty of water in a nearby well.

* Main objective is aesthetics, but private fishing would be a big plus.

* After reading your wonderful article, I decided to build the lake myself, with help from paid workers of all kinds. I don't think there are specilaized companies, and even then they tend to charge too much.

* I plan to dig 2.5 meters creating some random lake shape.

* Mud and clay seem to be available on the property itself. People used to build their homes here using clay. I will line the base and sides with about 1 meter thick clay.

* But here is something different I'm thinking, and want your input on. I plan to use water pumps to pull water from the lake and pour on a winding stream that leads back to the lake. Do you think this is a reasonable alternative to filtering and oxygenating the lake?

* Finally, how do you grow plants in the lake with all that stiff clay on the bottom?

I know activity on this article has slowed down a bit, but hey, it's still a great article. Fahad.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 19, 2013:

Hi Mohammed, I am not sure I can really help here. Firstly so much depends on where you live (planning permissions required, soil types etc). 80 square metres is not all that big, so if you were to create a fishing lake you could not keep many fish in it assuming you wanted them to grow to decent fishable sizes. You also need to check out how deep you could dig because Carp especially need a good depth of water. Most of the other information you need is already in this article (or in the comments), so I cannot really add to it further.

Good Luck.

Mohammed on February 19, 2013:

Hello there,

I would like to build an An artificial lake in the garden of my house it is not that big one but i have imagined may be it could be a good idea, however i would like to have your advise please, Where my garden with an area of 80 square meters.

my email address is:

Best regards.

Mohammed Bin Eid.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 23, 2012:

I wish I could help Sean, but I live in Guernsey, so I am not aware of the relevant companies that help to plan and design lakes near to where you are. I do know that such companies do exist though, but you might need to do a Google search for 'lake designers', 'lake planners' etc and see what comes up. For example when I just tried this the first site on the list was this one:

Sean Gorman on December 23, 2012:

My email address is please if you can help me, I have 45 acres of land in the center of gloucester. Next to the river severn and a stream that runs along side there is a area of about 5 to 7 acres which i would like to turn into a fishing lake I have talked to the planners and they are happy with the idea so i need to find out who can help me plan and design a suitable lake or lakes. Please email me back if you can help, Yours with many thanks Sean Gorman.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 29, 2012:

I am afraid I don't have any experience of using these 'greenfingers26' , but I have heard about them and suspect if emptied regularly these will at the very least drastically reduce the amount of silt build up. If they work, then naturally these are a far better option than draining the actual lake and moving fish.

greenfingers26 on November 29, 2012:

hello, firstly this hub is very interesting, ive just been reading some of the questions and your answers about making fishing lakes, the topic of silt build up is very interesting. i have a stream flowing into a 0ne acre lake and there are two silt traps prior to the water entering the lake. the first silt trap is about 10ft round and 4ft deep and situated just as the stream enters my land, and the second is just a few metres from the lake which is about 8ft x 4ft and 2.5ft deep. distance between traps is about 100ft both traps are full and ready for a clean out, so they seem to be doing their job. i hope they are as getting heavy machinery in to get the silt out is a frightening prospect. do you or any fellow hubbers have any experience of these type of silt traps? and are they a better solution than having to drain the actual lake and move fish? as i say both traps are full but i have no idea how effective they actually are.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 29, 2012:

I am so pleased you found this helpful Pablo and I would love to hear how you get on

drummer 1 on April 29, 2012:

wow that was quick,i have been looking for ages now with no results ,i typed in what you said, and bingo it came up on a site, i have already sent them a email and am waiting for them to get back to me.......thank you for the correct spelling of coarse it made all the difference,thankyou once again for your promt reply, i will let you know how i get on.mucho regards.pablo....

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 29, 2012:

Hi Pablo, it is tricky to know who could transport fish to you in Spain as we got our coarse fish locally to us. There are plenty of coarse fisheries in France, which might be your best bet as they could be transported to you without needing to go overseas. I would be inclined to recommend a Google search for 'French Fisheries', or 'buy coarse fish in France', 'buy coarse fish in Spain' etc (remember it is spelled 'coarse' not 'course' which is a common mistake made). If you can find just one good contact this way they should at least be able to recommend a source of coarse fish to you even if they are unable to supply you themselves. The main fish you will want are Carp, preferably Mirror Carp and Common Carp, so you could also run similar searches for these, and hope the places you find can put you in touch with suppliers of other coarse fish such as 'Tench, Rudd, Roach, Bream' etc.

Don't forget to check the legal requirements for importing fish into Spain as you might need health certificates for them etc.

Good Luck

drummer 1 on April 29, 2012:

hola,my name is pablo and i live in spain. i am about to create a 1 acer lake on some land i bought a few years ago.i have found your page very useful.the problem i have now is that i cant find any live course fish to stock the lake,do you know of any exporters that i can contact..................

Khan313 on April 29, 2012:

oho! sorry madam,

thanx for every thing.............we are peaceful people

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 28, 2012:

I am afraid I don't have anything I can email to you Khan, but everything you should need to know is within this article anyway. I wrote this a few years ago now and it came from my own experience, research and utilising the info in the book I mentioned within the article itself. I can only suggest you try to obtain the book too although it is out of print now and can be quite expensive to buy therefore. The book is a 1984 book called "Sports Fisheries in the Making" written by the late Alex Behrendt. I found our copy through an online Google search, so you might also find a copy the same way.

Khan313 on April 28, 2012:

Khan313 on April 28, 2012:

Hi Madam,

if you have an easy model for fishing lake construction in document form please send me on my e-mail...... Thanks

Khan313 on April 28, 2012:

Thanks madam

Khan313 on April 28, 2012:

thanks madam,

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 27, 2012:

Concrete is not ideal as I explained to someone else earlier in the comments here. My words to them were:

"I wouldn't go down the concrete route because 1) concrete is porous, 2) 3" thick would be nothing like strong enough to stop things like slight shifts in earth movement or tree roots from cracking the concrete and 3) it is not a natural surface so it would take years for any kind of natural debris to build up on the bottom for the creatures like bloodworm etc to thrive in ready for the fish to eat. Many fish rummage around in this mud when feeding, (especially Carp who are mainly bottom feeders.)You would also restrict the possibilities for plants etc if there was concrete all around the sides and the bottom of your lake. I would describe what you would end up with as more of a reservoir than a lake."

Khan313 on April 27, 2012:

Assalamoalikum Madam,

if i made the fishing lake by concrete is this is good for fishes or not?

Khan313 on April 26, 2012:

thank u so much about every thing......

Khan313 on April 26, 2012:

thank u so much.............

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 25, 2012:

Hi Khan, 30 feet really is quite small, and you might struggle to keep many fish successfully in such a small pond (especially if you plan to fish for them) although it is not impossible. If you are determined to try this you will at least need to make sure it is pretty deep, and remember that oxygen in the water will vanish much quicker in a pond with a small surface area (especially in a hot climate), so you won't be able to keep many fish in it unless they are fairly small.

Your latter questions are answered in the article and the comments here already, but in brief, you need to clay line your pond to a decent thickness to avoid the water draining away, you need to plant appropriate oxygenating plants in the pond, you need to give the pond at least 6 months to become established before introducing any fish, and natural food should be produced in the sludge that forms on the bottom of the pond/lake over time, plus insects etc that will fall or be washed into the water day to day. You may need to top up the food somewhat with fish pellets etc if the pond is not very well established or if it is overstocked with too many fish. If your fish begin dying they may not be getting either enough oxygen or enough food.

I hope this helps.

Khan313 on April 25, 2012:

Respected Madam,


I am from a far away area of Pakistan [KPK Kohistan(Rural Area)] & i am the student of Environmental Sciences 6th Semester at COMSATS University. As I want to build a very small lake for fishing about 30 feet, I need your advice on the following problem:

The area where i want to build the fishing lake is very stony and also what i have to do for fish feed any artificial or natural sources if any natural and easy way please tell me Madam i'll be very thankful to you..........

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

Good Luck KJErd, I am sure you will be very successful and find the whole experience very rewarding.

KJErd on March 12, 2012:


We first dug out the lake with my own equipment and laid down light gravel at the base for engineering purposes. We also used some concrete to help for moving around and used some rebar and reinforced concrete for some parts but now we are using clay, about 2-3 feet all around as you suggested.

Thanks for everything, we will contact nearby companies for advice on the proper plants to have.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

I live in Guernsey KJErd, so I have no idea of where you can source the right plants, but you could contact your local fisheries or a local aquarium to see what sources they suggest.

Concerned about you using gravel and concrete to line your new lake. Gravel is a natural drainage medium, and concrete is easily damaged by tree roots, pressures from the land shifts etc. Clay soil is the best option, but use a thick layer as I described in an earlier but still recent comment.

As for getting your plants to grow, well they will quickly establish on their own providing the water is not polluted, so just make sure you put enough in to get your new ecosystem started. We were lucky, our lake was already was established when we took it on, surrounded by flag iris etc. We simply added a few more plants like lilies to make it better for anglers.

KJErd on March 11, 2012:

Great read! I have all the equipment necessary to dig a lake and have the land to do it. But once I dig the lake, I am planning on lining it with light amounts of clay, gravel, and some concrete to help keep the water in. Will this work? And when I want to stock it with fish, what do I have to do to make plants grow? Where do I get these plants?

Thanks for the read1

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 06, 2012:

You are welcome Anit :)

Anit Ghosh on March 06, 2012:

Grrrrrreat !! thanks a lot :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 05, 2012:

Hi Anit. In your situation I would buy in the clay soil to line the bottom and the sides. You will need a thick layer though or the water will penetrate it. I would go for at least 2 foot thick. If the clay soil has simply been moved from a site where it is naturally it shouldn't need any treatment (although you could get a soil sample tested to make sure there are no signs of contaminants) as you won't be stocking the lake with fish for at least six months after it is filled anyway, by which time the plants you will have added will have established and nature should have found a natural balance. Of course you will need to get the water tested before you stock the lake too, but you will have a good idea of if all is well by whether or not you see other wildlife thriving in and on the water, (birds, dragonflies, midges, frogs etc).

I wouldn't go down the concrete route because 1) concrete is porous, 2) 3" thick would be nothing like strong enough to stop things like slight shifts in earth movement or tree roots from cracking the concrete and 3) it is not a natural surface so it would take years for any kind of natural debris to build up on the bottom for the creatures like bloodworm etc to thrive in ready for the fish to eat. Many fish rummage around in this mud when feeding, (especially Carp who are mainly bottom feeders.)You would also restrict the possibilities for plants etc if there was concrete all around the sides and the bottom of your lake. I would describe what you would end up with as more of a reservoir than a lake.

I can't think of any other suggestions right now, but basically I believe clay soil is your best bet anyway.

Anit Ghosh on March 05, 2012:

Hi.I read through the page and realized that this is very informative and exactly what i was looking for.Thanks a LOT !!! I need your advice on the following problem : I have built a lake (2000 ft square) and am unable to hold water.would it work If i buy clay soil and line the bottom ? If so, what should be the thickness of the layer ? Also, does the clay soil need any treatment ? Alternatively , would a 3" layer of reinforced concrete solve the problem ? Lastly, is there any other way to solve the problem ?

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 04, 2012:

A stream should not be necessary as long as the lake is lined with a decent layer of clay as the natural water will build up through rainfall. You might want to get the lake partially filled initially using tankers just so you can start off some oxygenating plants to bring the lake to life. You certainly shouldn't need an electric oxygenator as the right balance of natural plants and wildlife will keep the water oxygenated. Give the lake at least 6 months of this before attempting to stock it with fish, and preferably get the water tested by your local fishery or water board before introducing them.

dealea on March 04, 2012:

hi there, was wondering if you could help me out... iv just been granted planning permission for a one acre lake on my land in the northwest uk, the land is flat and there is no near by stream to top the water level up, would it still be worth doing and if so would i use an electric oxygenator? thanks x

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 01, 2012:

Sorry jonny and andi, comment had to be deleted as SPAM. Feel free to post a genuine comment with no links included.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 21, 2012:

Thanks zendaya, I am pleased you think so.

zendaya on February 21, 2012:

wow this site is really informative

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 24, 2012:

Hi Rob,

That is a bit like the 'how long is a piece of string' question. The variables are huge, factors like:

what country you are in,

what local rates you have to pay,

third party liability insurance costs where you are,

labour costs,

machinery hire or purchase fees,

prices and availability of suitable fish in your location,

size of the lake you intend to build,

etc etc.

It would be impossible to give you a figure, all I can do is tell you what I have done here as a rough guide to what sort of things you will have to pay out for. It would best to get quotes local to where you are for the relevant things on the list.

Rob on January 24, 2012:

I am looking to open up a fishing lake and farm, what sort of costs after buying land would i be looking at?

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 15, 2012:

You are welcome Martin, good luck and I hope you find a solution, perhaps even using a dragline digger from the dam end.

Martin Mathieson on January 15, 2012:

Thanks very much: you've been extremely helpful.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 14, 2012:

These images might help with the dragline digger too. They use them a lot in mining etc, so thinking about it you might be able to use one if the damn end has a place the dugger could get to.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 14, 2012:

The dragliner digger is a bit like a crane, and it swings a bucket on pulleys out into where you need it to be, then the pulleys drag the bucket back towards the crane where the bucket is then lifted and emptied, (see picture in link below). I have to say from what you are describing I think you have a significant problem unless you can create access by removing trees. Have you considered trying those chemicals that break down the silt without poisoning the water?

Martin Mathieson on January 14, 2012:

Thanks for that - how does a drag-line digger operate? My lake is circa 400 yards long either side and between 50-80 yards wide. On one side there is a bridle path (and esablished trees preventing access), on the other there is a steep bank and established trees. The only access is at the top, just beyond the dam wall. I've had a few people look at it, but we are struggling to find a solution!

Any advice you could offer would be appreciated.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 13, 2012:

Hi Martin,

I don't know how bad your access is, and I know ours isn't great, but we are in the process right now of getting silt removed from the lake by using a 'drag-line digger'. This was the only option because of the access and the impossible 'arm reach' a JCB would have needed even if we could have got one down to the lake where we needed to (which we couldn't).

To achieve this we have drained the lake right down so that it is only about 25% full (the fish are contained in this area). At this point it is our plan to have a large 'silt trap' (simply a 6 - 8 feet deep hole), dug out in front of where the stream comes into the lake. This will take years to fill with silt, but when it does it will be far easier to simply lower the lake level slightly, and then scoop out the build up from this trap. As far as we have been advised this should solve most of the problem with silt build up so long as we periodically get the hole dug out again.

Martin Mathieson on January 13, 2012:

Hi - I have recently purchased a 7 acre lake near Limoges in France. I'm keen to keep it a nature haven, however, with a stream feeding in and exiting at the dam end, we do have a problem with silt and access. Most of the lake is not accesible due to tree's and the surrounding features. Any recommendations? Going forward, would silt traps help if so how are they best constructed?

Many thanks.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 02, 2012:

Hi Paddy,

I am afraid I don't, although I think it is a great idea to do this with your land. You could try contacting some of the Irish Fisheries to ask them as they will know plenty of people in this field I would think. This link might help:

Good Luck

paddy kennedy on January 02, 2012:

hi i am a farmer from carlow in the south east of ireland

i have 10 acres of land that is running alongside the river barrow i have a plan for to turn 4 acres of it into a course fishing lake but i dont have enough knolage of how to do so i was wondering if you knew any experts in this field in ireland that i could hire for consultancy advice.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 22, 2011:

Hi sister928b, I am sorry, I have no idea on this as we live in the British Channel Island of Guernsey, and our laws, authorities etc are therefore completely different to yours. I hope you find a solution.

sister928b on December 22, 2011:

A homeowner in our subdivision built a lake that we think is is flooding every ones property around it...there was a creek running behind the neighborhood and he just dug a big hole. We don not think he acquired permits, etc. Who do we report him to. We live in N.C.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 16, 2011:

Silt is a pain in the neck, but you can control it to a degree with certain chemicals and periodic draining down and dredging out of the lake (every ten years or so). Silt does tend to take a long time to build up though, and right now our lake has been drained right down by about two thirds whilst a new weir is put in and then the existing silt is removed by a drag-line digger. We are doing this via friends who can use the equipment, and if you have people who can do this (and you have free access to the equipment), I would advise this method because labour is so expensive per hour otherwise, and this is going to take a lot of hours (this advice applies for any work when building a lake, including digging it out).

Josh on December 16, 2011:

Hi my father and I own some land in the Midwest part of the states. There are two gullies that meet in the middle of the property and could potently be dammed for lake about 5 acres in size. There is the problem of water and silt because water only flows when it rains. Due to one of the gullies having an S-shape and the small size of the land, its impossible to build lake to the side of it to prevent silt buildup. What do you think would be the be the best way around this problem? Also, is it better to rent earth moving equipment if you know how to use it, or just hire a professional?


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 29, 2011:

Thanks for sharing Avril :)

Arvi on November 29, 2011:

for a lot of budding lake owners; check out these guys work:

lots of lakes and resources to understand how they are building the lakes.

discaimer: dont know them but maybe hiring them for my 16 acre lake project that i hope to start in about 4 months time in india

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 21, 2011:

Good Luck Andrew, I hope it goes really well for you.

Andrew on November 21, 2011:

Hi Thank you for getting back to me,We got one person in the village how think we need to get proper civel enginer, we got the district council and he said its fine,[he only look at the lake[ the lake is about the size of you first photo, we dont think there a problem. Thank You again.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 21, 2011:

I think you will need to check this out with your local authorities Andrew as the laws vary from region to region, but it sounds quite likely some sort of inspection might be required with the history of your lake. Certainly I would recommend you take out some third part liability insurance when you do have the lake full of water again.

Andrew on November 21, 2011:

Hi We have cleaned out an old lake, silt fallen trees, is there a law that we have to get a civel enginers out to pass to job, its above an old village, it bust the bank 50 years ago in a flash flood in the winter days, Thank you

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 04, 2011:

You are welcome Abdul. Thank you for commenting :)

Abdul-Jabbar on November 04, 2011:

Thank you very much for the nice information

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 27, 2011:

I can't really answer this one sadly baldeagle88, because my experience has been on the Channel Island of Guernsey where prices for everything from land to labour are far higher than the UK. You would be best off getting a proper valuation of the land and some quotes for clearing the bullrushes, digging it deeper etc. The total price you would pay for such a project is location specific, and having lived in S/E England myself I know this is quite an expensive area to buy property, but I am not up to date with the current prices.

baldeagle88 on September 26, 2011:

I have a 1/2 acre pond adjacent my property in s/e England which is completely covered in bulrushes, how much should I offer the owner and what would it cost to clear?

stephen on September 20, 2011:

Hi M

Thank you for your kind advice.This is for anybody who is trusted and would like to partner with me for a fishing

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 19, 2011:

Hi Stephen, thanks for the compliment. I wish there was a way to connect you with Dunny, Szack and Clarkey so you can exchange ideas, but all the information I have on them is in their comments here, so I don't even have an email address for them. Your best bet is to leave an email address here so if they, or anyone else likeminded, wish to make contact with you they can do so through this page.

Good Luck with your fishing lodge, it sounds a lovely idea and a great project.

stephen on September 19, 2011:


your hub is really good.I have been habouring an idea of a a fishing lodge for quite a while now.I would like you to connect me with the likes of Dunny,Szack,Clarkey and we see whether we can exchange ideas on having fishing lodges.I have brilliant ideas we can share

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 17, 2011:

One extra facility you might want to consider adding is a small shop that sells bait, e.g. boilies, worms, maggots (in various colours), sweetcorn (flavoured), luncheon meat (also flavoured), hooks, lines, floats etc. This is convenient for those on site fishing.

Another option I have seen on other lakes is a 'packed lunch service' where you deliver sandwiches, hot bacon rolls, flasks of coffee etc to the bank so the anglers don't have to bring their own. You can do this to order if you go around the lake in advance, take an order when they book to fish or even call them on their mobile phones by the lake (assuming you took their number when they booked). This can offer a good extra income.

Do bear in mind this is a long term investment, as building a lake is expensive, tens of thousands of pounds in fact, and unless your facility is top class you will wait along time to get into profit. However, Coarse Fishing is the most popular sport in the UK, so if you do it right you will be in with a good chance of being successful. Make sure you don't 'scalp' the land, (anglers like trees and shrubs between them so they have camouflage and privacy). Parking is important, and angers don't want to hike miles carrying all their fishing tackle to the banks of the lake. Parking is also important. Offering the option to allow anglers to 'bivvie up' (camp) overnight, is another major plus as so many places do not allow this a chuck their anglers out at around 8pm at night (overnight is the best time for fishing so a bad time to not have any fishermen allowed on site).

You will need to consider that having a bailiff go around the lake a couple of times a day will deter those who try to fish illegally, or without a rod licence (they will need this even on private property and can obtain it from the post office).

You might want to consider security to ensure Eastern Europeans do not try to poach your Carp as food (in many countries such as Latvia Carp is considered a delicacy, trouble is that they are valuable fish here, so to have them stolen for food is a costly loss).

I really hope all of this has helped you out, and wish you the best of luck :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 17, 2011:

Hi Anna,

Good questions, and firstly I should say that to make a good lake commercially viable the bigger the better. Our current lake is just under the size of a UK football pitch, and this provides about 12 fishing points (swims), each about 15 feet apart.

Next you need to remember serious coarse anglers want to fish for Carp, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Ghost Carp etc. Another very popular fish is a Tench, mainly green Tench.

Carp require a good depth of water to produce a decent weight/depth of belly, (ideally at least three metres), shallow water loses oxygen quickly in hot weather also, so this makes a good depth very important. Before the stream began to silt up our lake the depths were over 17 feet in places, and even now much of the lake is over 12-15 feet deep and the fish thrive and grow.

Carp are not cheap to buy, and bearing in mind they only gain 2-3lb a year in weight, you will need to buy them at a good size in the first place.

If you wish to interest anglers seriously your Carp need to be 30-40lb+ in weight. You will also need to try to ensure they come from a fishery where they can verify they are KHV and SVC virus free, which are Carp diseases that are now prevalent in the UK.

Each fishing swim ideally needs a minimum of 20 feet between it and the next one, but more would be better as anglers like their privacy and don't want their lines to cross if a fish on the hook drags the line into a neighbouring anglers line.

A circular lake is fine as long as it has 'features' within it such as islands. A meandering lake is also fine with the right depths, but again features are good as the Carp feed up against things like islands, under water lilies etc.

You don't need decked swims/jetties per angler unless there are overhanging trees etc behind the swim that require the angler to be further out into the lake in order to avoid getting snagged up in the trees when he/she casts their line out. We have 12 marked swims, only three of which are jetties/decked swims.

Facilities that would be ideal would really consist of toilets only. Most lakes don't even offer these as anglers are quite happy to go into the woods for those 'functions'. I think cafe's etc would ruin the experience for most anglers, who want things as close to nature as possible. You could offer tackle on loan I guess, but this would require a deposit and far more input in terms of delivering relevant tackle to the lake and collecting it at agreed times afterwards, not to mention the deposit's too.

We always pleasantly surprised anglers new to the lake by allowing dogs on leads, small disposable bbq's and even small camp fires in designated areas. Most lakes do not allow these things, so it helped to gain popularity with the people who were ex-UK anglers who had moved to Guernsey.

I hope this info has helped, but feel free to contact me again if you have more questions :)

Anna on September 17, 2011:

Hi there, we are complete beginners when it comes to fishing being more horsey but we have purchased an agriculturally property which means we need to carry out an agri' business.

A friend has suggested we seriously look into building a lake & running it as a business. We own the land, we have our own plant equipment and a stream feeds all our water troughs currently on a 10 acre site. We also intend using the manure from our livery yard to produce our own worms.

A couple of questions are

1 How big should a lake be to be profitable? If the average client with day pass pays £10 and we want to earn min £500 per month. How much space between clients is needed? It made complete sense to not have just a circle but rather a meandering lake which provides greater space for clients and also a large lake for oxygenation rather than small and deep. Which are cheaper fish to buy to stock and therefore how deep for that fish? Should my husband build jetty from bank for each client to protect land? What are considered to be excellent facilities... Toilets, cafe' etc

Sorry if this is exhaustive but you are the expert and we prefer to contact an experienced individual. thanks

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 13, 2011:

We did for the first few years philipandrews188, but like many things you can have any time you want, the novelty wore off and we tended just to enjoy the surroundings but not bother fishing. Other people still do though, but in November we are giving up the lake as we can no longer afford the rental the land owner charges us. It is a real shame, but he won't negotiate on the rental at all so we are left with no choice. :(

philipandrews188 on September 13, 2011:

That sounds interesting, Misty. You could just go fishing at your own home anytime you want. Very fun to do!Great hub.

henry96 on August 15, 2011:

i like carp

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 14, 2011:

Thanks Trebuchet, although this really is geared more to lakes than ponds, although I guess the definition of the difference varies country to country. Here in the UK / British Isles a 'pond' would be small back yard type set up, perhaps 6ft x 4 ft containing goldfish etc. A lake would be anything considerably larger than this. Our 'lake' is about the size of a British Football pitch, or a tad smaller.

trebuchet from Buckeye State on August 14, 2011:

Top notch Hub...useful insight for someone considering a shot at constructing a pond. Thanks

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 30, 2011:

I am not sure I can answer this Heidi, as if it has a fountain it sounds 'artificial', whereas our lake is pretty much completely natural, and therefore requires little or no maintenance unless a tree comes down or it gets really silted up. A 1 acre lake is big for a fountain, so I assume the maintenance might be minimal, but I would ask the vendors for advice if I were you, as it largely depends on if it has an artificial liner or if it has a natural clay soil lining etc.

Heidi Marie on March 30, 2011:

Hi, your sight is so informative, and wonderful! My question is how much maintenance is required for a lake. We are purchasing a home that has a 1 acre lake on the property. It is very clear, stocked with fish, plants, and has a large fountain running. I have only had 100 gallon ponds previously, and so we have no knowledge on the maintenance if any on a 1 acre lake. Thanks so much!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 13, 2011:

Hi Carpkid, well in the summer here our stream slows down very considerably, but I wouldn't say the overall level of the lake has ever dropped more than a few feet, even when it is really quite hot for three or four weeks with no rain. So long as the lake is quite deep it shouldn't dry up on a clay bed unless you are in a very hot climate. Hope this helps and good luck.

carpkid on January 13, 2011:

Hi misty,I am looking at digging a threee acre lake on my dads farm have done some test holes and found it to be clay .I could pump in water to fill it from a brook which is about a mile away.but once it is full would have no water supply how much do you think the water level could drop in a long dry sunny period.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 28, 2010:

Hi Clarkey, I would imagine that the results of the Geological survey will best determine the suitability of the area you have in mind. Without knowing the supply of water this well can provide it is hard for me to comment, although the 'natural hollow' sounds ideal as our lake too is in a natural valley where water tends to drain to anyway.

Three acres should provide a nice sized lake, and depending on how much accommodation you wish to build should be adequate. Our lake and land is less than 3 acres and can happily provide fishing swims for up to 18 anglers. If we were allowed to build log cabins or similar around the area there would still be plenty of room to do so.

I am afraid I don't know where you can apply for European grants or get advice on this though. It is not something I have any experience of as we took on our lake after the building had been long since completed and paid for by a private individual.

Good luck with your project.

clarkey on November 27, 2010:

Hi Misty, we are looking at a 3 acre site close to the north eastern coast of Bulgaria. We want to develop this as a carp lake. The land sits in a natural hollow & looks to be ideal, although we will have a geological survey before we go any further. The lake would have to be fed by a well which is dug to a depth of 30 metres. Will this be suitable? Is 3 acres big enough to accommodate a lake & maybe accomodation? We are going to look at the possibility of european grants to help with the cost of building this project. Any ideas where I could get some advice?

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 05, 2010:

A hard one to answer funny, the problem is that labour costs vary enormously area to area, as does the cost of land. Assuming you already had the land it might be stoney, need clay adding, streams diverting etc etc. It is like saying how long is a piece of string? Even the size you want your lake to be is a factor in price, plus the cost of plants and vegetation if none is already on the site. Do you want islands on the lake or not, how deep do you want the lake to be...... this list goes on and on. All I can say is that the overall cost if starting from scratch is going to be many tens of thousands of pounds, and this is not a project I would recommend you take on unless you are very wealthy or are doing it as part of a syndicate of people, perhaps to form a fishing club or business.

funny on November 05, 2010:

how much money would this cost

f on November 05, 2010:

how much would this cost

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 05, 2010:

Hi Szack, no a stream isn't required to build a healthy lake, so long as the water in it has been given time to settle before it is stocked with fish, and it isn't overstocked, and it has the right plants to keep the water healthy etc, then the only concern you might have is if you have a hot spell and the water level drops, but if you are below the water table this is unlikely to cause you a problem.