How Much Does Stocking a Pond Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 9, 2018

Whether you’re thinking about digging a pond for fishing or you currently have one in the backyard, stocking a pond is an option to consider if you want to stock it full of freshwater fish.

Reflections on a pond by cobaltfish, on Flickr
Reflections on a pond” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  cobaltfish

How much does stocking a pond cost?

The cost of stocking a pond will greatly depend on the company you choose, the size of the fish, how many you purchase at once and the type of fish you want to stock.  With a variety of fish to choose from, refer to our chart below to see what you may have to budget for:

Type of FishAverage Price
Black Crappie$1 each
Channel Catfish$0.50 each
Coppernose Bluegill$0.50 each
Fathead Minnows$12 per pound
Grass Carp$6 each
Hybrid Bluegill$0.50 each
Hybrid Striped Bass$2 to $4 each
Largemouth Bass (3-4 inches)$1.50 to $3.50 each
Redear Bream$0.60 each
Walleyes$3 each
Yellow Perch$1.50 to $3

NOTE:  Many suppliers will have a minimum order requirement before they confirm the order.  From what we researched, most ask you purchase 25 to 50 at a time before you can receive the prices mentioned above.

At Dunn’s Fish Farm, for instance, they list the prices of their fingerling fish for both ponds and lakes on this list.  250 to 300 fathead minnows cost $10.95 per pound, while a six to eight-inch largemouth bass can cost $350 per 100.  Refer to their list to see what these fish could cost at an actual fish farm.

What are the extra costs?

A delivery fee may apply if you don’t meet the minimum order requirements and need the fish delivered.  This can cost an additional $2 to $4 per mile.  Freight charges, if being shipped from an online provider, will depend upon the number of fish being shipped.

A bagging charge can cost $1.50 to $2 per bag.

State permits may be required, depending on where you live.  Refer to your state’s regulations to see what you’re responsible for.

Stocking the fish is only the beginning if you don’t have a pond already.  For the perfect pond site, according to Field and Stream, you should be prepared to pay $3,000 to $5,000 per acre with permitting and dam building included.  Beyond the architecture, however, the fish can set you back up to $500 per acre for baby bass and another $15,000, at a minimum, for the excavation and permits.  By the time you throw in the necessities, you will max out at $25,000 for a pond.

Tips to know:

At most fish farms, from what we witnessed most offer largemouth bass, bluegills, sunfish, catfish, minnows, carp, koi and crappie.  These tend to be the standard species available for your average backyard pond.

Availability will vary, depending on the species.  While some are available year-round, some fish, such as bass may be seasonal.

Always check your Ph levels before stocking your pond.  A Ph of 6.0 will naturally hold the fish; however, it should be closer to 7.0 to 8.0 for optimal results.  Also, the temperature, according to, should be at 60 degrees or lower.  The best time to ship bluegill, minnows and catfish is during the winter season, from November to early April, while bass should be stocked in June and July.

The recommended pond and lake stocking rates will depend on the condition of your pond, the climate in the area and the pond owner’s goals.  It will also depend on the size of fish desired, how the fish are being transported and if the pond has existing fish.  With this information, a reputable fish farm will be able to create a fish stocking plan.

How can I save money?

The more you purchase at once, the more you can save with most suppliers.

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