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How to Make a Bait Pond

Keith Dooley

Live bait is often preferred by anglers for both fresh and saltwater fishing. Minnows are commonly used as live bait, because they are a favored food of many fish and provide great action in the water when properly rigged. Although live bait such as minnows can be purchased, you might prefer to construct a simple pond for maintaining a ready supply of live minnows at home. Creating a small pond requires that a suitable area for water containment be established.

Create your own bait pond for a ready supply of minnows.
  1. Locate an area for the bait pond that will not receive full sunlight throughout the day and will be in a convenient location. Remove ground clutter such as leaves, twigs or limbs or other debris.

  2. Dig a hole with a shovel that will be large enough to hold the amount of water necessary. Base the amount of water you will need on the number of minnows you will be keeping. A good starting place for the pond size is 4 to 6 feet across with a depth of 2 to 3 feet. Adjust the size based on personal preference and number of fish.

  3. Smooth the hole with a shovel so that roots, rocks and large clumps of earth are removed. Pour sand into the bottom of the hole and spread it evenly with a shovel or rake. Use the sand as a cushioning layer for the plastic liner.

  4. Place a liner in the hole to hold the water. Use a liner specifically designed for outdoor ponds or use a thick mil plastic sheet. Spread the liner over the hole, and work it down along the sides and across the bottom of the hole. Press the liner with your hands to mold and shape it to the hole.

  5. Pour small diameter gravel onto the liner, and spread it evenly across the bottom. Use the gravel to help hold the liner in place and provide a base for larger rocks or aquatic plants if desired.

  6. Smooth the liner along and over the edge of the pond. Place larger rocks around the edge of the pond to hold the liner in place. Vary the size of the rocks or stack them in areas for a more natural appearance.

  7. Fill the pond with water, and place an aerator designed for outdoor use in the pond. Allow the aerator to operate for several days, up to a week, before adding minnows. Add minnows gradually by leaving them in the plastic bag in which they were purchased. Set the bag in the water for a few hours and then pour the water and minnows into the pond.