Pond Stocking 101: How to Stock a Pond

By Pond King
Stocking a pond with fish from a truck

There are many different factors that go into the process of stocking your pond. Consulting with a Pond King biologist is the best place to start. We can help determine what species are best suited for your pond, as well as the rate of stocking.

Choosing the right species and quantity is a critical step to ensure your pond reaches a maximum potential as a fishery. Whether you want to stock the fish, or have a Pond King biologist deliver and stock for you, we are here to guide you through the pond stocking process.

If you want a fishing pond for your grandchildren, a trophy bass fishery, or anything in between, setting goals must be a priority. Goals provide the direction you want to take your fishery, and what it will end up producing. Pond size is the limiting factor for what species will thrive.


Certain species have specific habitat requirements, and those requirements change with life-stage and season, too. Examples of habitat requirements are depth, amount of structural coverage, and surface acreage. Stocking fish in the appropriate pond environment is key to their growth and reproduction, and providing the right habitat within that ecosystem helps reduce stressors to your fish. 

That said, Pond King Biologists don’t typically recommend stocking Largemouth Bass in ponds less than one acre, due to the lack of space. Reproduction each season increases competition, and small ponds typically don’t have the spatial requirements to maintain a population that many anglers would refer to as a "trophy Bass fishery."

If raising trophy-class Bass is your goal, you'll need a larger pond or lake to support a larger population of predatory species, like Bass. Another important pond quality to consider before stocking is clarity. For example, turbid or muddy ponds are considered acceptable for catfish. However, within a Bass fishery, ideal clarity should fall within a range of two to three feet.

Water Clarity

If you have turbid water, there are options for treatment and management. Restricting cattle access, mitigating runoff, and applying gypsum are a just few ways you can manage clarity within your pond. Reaching this ideal range of clarity is important for ponds with a predator-prey dynamic like a Bass and Bluegill fishery.

Too much clarity and the predators will expend more energy than would otherwise be necessary to capture prey. Too little clarity and systemic productivity suffer. Fertilizing to induce an algae bloom can help achieve this ideal clarity range and will give your pond the greenish tint we are all familiar with; while also kick-starting the bottom of the food chain.

Pond King offers a variety of fish species and sizes, which are perfect for stocking your pond. But if you’re interested in a customized fish stocking plan our biologists can create one specific to your system requirements and goals. Whether you want to stock adults and go fishing this weekend, or stock fingerlings and have a trophy pond in the years to come, Pond King has the right plan for your needs.

Although we have a wide variety of species for stocking, some of our popular fish species are Hybrid Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass (Native, F1, and Florida strain), Coppernose Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, and Channel Catfish. Different fish sizes are available depending upon your budget and your goals.

Fish Stocking

The benefit of utilizing correctly paired sizes of different fish species is that you don’t have to wait to stock predatory species. Pond King Biologists always recommend stocking the correct quantities and sizes of fish to produce a viable and thriving fishery, immediately. We also offer several Fish Stocking Plans which will give you a good idea of the stocking requirements for a 1-acre pond. For smaller orders, Pond King has a fully staffed Fish Barn where you can place your order and leave with fish in plastic bags.

Calling Pond King prior to the arrival of fish pick-up ensures that we have enough fish available to meet your stocking plan. For in-store orders, Pond King representatives will bag your fish and explain the acclimation process so that your fish make it to your pond as healthy as possible. After leaving our facility, we recommend releasing fish into your pond within a two to three-hour time frame.

For fish stocking outside of our recommended max travel time, we suggest scheduling a fish delivery or discussing other options. Planning ahead and bringing the proper vehicle with storage space is necessary for large fish orders. Once you’ve arrived home with your fish, acclimation should occur before releasing the fish. Fish acclimation is recommended because there may be temperature differences between your pond and the water within the bag, and this period gives them time to adjust. Releasing fish without acclimation is not advised.

For a larger order, delivery is available as an option. Fish are transported in our fish hauling tanks, where they have continuous oxygen flow while in transit. Once the fish have arrived to your property, the Pond King biologist will acclimate the fish to your pond. You can learn more about fish transportation options, visit our YouTube channel

After acclimation, fish will be released into their new home. For more details on fish deliveries and scheduling, contact us at (940) 668-2573. Following the Pond King Pond Stocking 101 outline will guide you through the pond stocking process. Selecting the correct stocking plan and managing your pond should ensure great angling opportunities for years to come.

As always Pond King biologists are always happy to answer any questions you may have about the pond stocking process.

Editor's Note: Originally published in April 2018, this blog was updated in December 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. 

Tags: Fish and Fishing

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