Trout Ponds

places for trout ponds

trout ponds design

Trout habitat: warm water farm ponds

Trout pond water quality

trout species guide for ponds

Trout ponds habitat quality

types of trout ponds

Rainbow Trout

Brook Trout

Brown Trout

Cutthroat Trout

How deep does a trout pond need to be?

Guide to creating private trout & salmon habitat

Lake Pond Stream & Waterfront • Planning • Design • Construction • Manage
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Join our Biologists in Scotland next May for an epic fishing adventure for arctic char deep in the Cairngorms Wilderness & the year's largest Atlantic salmon from the luxury of Scotland's most romantic Castle.

You will learn fishing techniques and biology we only share with our closest friends. All levels of angling proficiency will be accommodated. Parties of 8 or more may select dates. See the trip details and video

List of States we design build trophy fishing & trout ponds:

Oregon, Washington, southern to northern California, Colorado, Montana, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, North Carolina, Utah, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Idaho, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Missouri, Maine, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Nevada, West Virginia, New Mexico, In Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec.
We are Design Consultants & Biologists / designers of Trophy Trout fishing ponds & Habitat for wild native trout including rainbow, brown & brook trout for private trout habitats. Call us for building / designing consultants or managing & management trout ponds by Fishery Biologists. We are builders for central Oregon stocking trout ponds & lakes, oregon trophy trout fishing ponds & trophy private fishing lakes, + Washington & California trout.

Guide To Building Trout Pond Lake & Stream Habitat

ponds by Biologists

Building Trophy Trout Habitat with Designs by Biologists

Trout Lake & Pond Habitat Elements:

  : cool, clear and clean water is a very valuable resource as are the creatures that live there. Clear water trout ponds, lakes and streams are the quintessential expression of clean waters. Spring Creek is a group of Aquatic Biologists who excel in creating the most natural trout lakes, ponds and streams. Our trout habitat designs range from small landscape or garden trout ponds up to one-hundred acre trophy fly fishing lakes and streams. Clients across North America seek us out for anything from phone consultations for specific issues, to site inspections, complete trout habitat design and lake design-build to ensure every detail is perfect.

Our science based trout pond and lake designs produce all the ideal qualities of the perfect trout lake: larger fish, cleaner, oxygen rich water, optimum growing temperatures, clear water, greatly reduced maintenance and a much more natural and beautiful body of water. They will also significantly improve your property value. The alternative to quality trout pond design is either defaulting to stocking warm water fish or succumbing to ongoing lake maintenance that encompasses a significant annual expense. A well designed trout lake will not only save in maintenance, but it will greatly extend the life of your trout pond or lake.

Over four decades of our experience and trout pond research have been dedicated to getting more trout, more habitat quality and more enjoyment out of ponds lakes and streams with the minimal level of water resource. We have repeatedly bent and broken most of the rules to deliver the best experience for our clients.

We have worked with many "do it yourself" pond construction scenarios to build trophy trout environments. If the client can follow instruction detail and is competent on heavy construction equipment, we can supply the blueprint to a great trout pond. This avoids those painful words " I wish I knew all this before I built this pond the first time". While an ordinary irrigation or stock pond may be a simple venture, a real trout habitat is absolutely nothing like those simple bodies of water.


Natural ponds lakes and streams are far different than farms and hatcheries. Fish farmers are very good at growing hatchery fish. They lack the biological experience needed to be habitat designers. What works for pellet-fed hatchery trout does not apply to wild ponds where the fish are not going to be constantly fed a pelleted diet. For a deeper discussion and to learn the perils of hatchery "Kamloops and Donaldson" trout read our pond myths page. That page is a good test of knowledge when you ask the local trout farmer about these stocks of fish. Of course if a pond is intended to be fed pellets every day, it is more of a fish farm than it is a natural lake. Those suggesting trout needs to be fed daily are not knowledgeable enough to create a rich habitat to support the trout.  


Many thousands of warm water fishing ponds can be converted to trout habitat with a bit of help from our quiver of knowledge. In poorly designed ponds, stocking trout can fail when the water reaches roughly 70 ° F. The trout in lakes and ponds of our designs have exceeded 80 ° F temperatures. While this is not consistent with popular publications, we have spent our careers exceeding common knowledge. It is best to record temperatures of existing ponds during late summer, but we have enough of a knowledge base to make a judgement call after we know a bit about your existing waters.


How Deep does a Trout Pond need to be?

The answer to this question has so many variables that an entire book could be dedicated to the subject. The three biggest factors to trout lake and pond depth are design, water supply and the genetic stock of trout. The more efficiently we design and utilize water, the shallower the ponds can be. We will say our habitats have ranged anywhere from four feet to over 20 feet deep. This may not be the simple answer people desire, but it is the responsible way to answer a complex question.

One of the main faults of most ponds and lakes is they have been dug too deep which causes the colder water of the bottom or hypolimnion to lose its oxygen leading to an anaerobic condition that kills trout. This is a leading reason why many thousands of ponds and lake owners have settled for warm water fish instead of trout. The good news is these issues can be fixed with our propietary techniques that do not involve a redesign of the habitat. It should also be noted that most owners of trout habitat should own a dissolved oxygen meter to proactively prevent leathal habitat conditions.  


Bottom aerators in ponds and lakes can easily kill a population of trout. While they are popular for aerating warm water bass, bluegill and catfish ponds, they are usually leathal for trout since they mix the cold refuge water with the hot surface water which leaves no suitable habitat for cold water fish species such as trout and salmon. The only exceptions we have found to this guideline are in two cases: one- summer temperatures are cool such as in high mountain habitats and, two- there is a large cold water supply that keeps the lake / pond sufficiently cool. The vast majority of potential trout habitats do not enjoy these conditions.

We realize these recommendations differ from what is read across internet forums and trout farm websites. This explains why we create successful trout habitat where very few others have succeeded.



The general rule is colder, cleaner and oxygen-rich water makes the best trout habitat. The good news is trout ponds that are well designed can overcome the challenges outlined in the table below. There are hundreds of thousands of bass and blue-gill ponds today that can be converted to trout habitats without completely rebuilding the basin. People may say to simply dig the pond deeper, but that can be a big mistake as lakes with poorer quality water lose oxygen when they get deep enough to hold cool water for trout. We will get into depth further down the page. The next thing one might hear is "add an aerator to the pond". There are a great deal of potential trout waters that have been ruined by aerators since they mix the hot shallow water with the cold bottom water. The best strategy is to reduce the oxygen consumption in the pond via good design. At that point, the cold water on the bottom will sustain at least brown and rainbow trout. These types of habitats have several moving parts that complicate the overall goal. If we can identify critical elements, then we can correct them without having to restore the entire system.


Water Sources for Trout Habitat Ponds

Water Source
























Ground Water






Rain Runoff






Tap Water






Thanks to Enoscientific for the well water temperature map. A new page will open to their original page The most popular and practical water source for trout lake and pond habitats is well water. Wells allow habitat creation over a much wider geography than streams and springs. Futher, land values without livewater springs and streams is often much less costly. The key to creating trout habitat from well water is in extremely efficient designs. This is especially true in warmer climates. Considering we are now able to create viable trout ponds and lakes in regions with ground water approaching 70 degrees F, this map demonstrates just how much of North America can now become home to trout. These upper limits apply to warmer water tolerant rainbow trout. Species like brook trout require cooler water. The amount of time and flow rate required from a well depends on the length of the hotter summer season along with details about wind and humidity.

Trout are very demanding of quality aquatic habitat. Lakes and ponds designed for trout are easily the most difficult yet rewarding fish habitats to design and build. Each site has a set of unique circumstances that must be addressed in order to achieve successful trout habitat. Combining the desire for clear water and trophy size trout along with colorful wildflowers for natural aesthetics makes the pond design that much more challenging. After we identify what is missing in your location, we create a pond design to address the deficiency. The result is a completely naturally functioning trout environment including trout spawning habitat. We improve the biology, geology, chemistry, geography, and physics of aquatic environments. Getting the sun to shine more often is the only element beyond our control. When the trout lake design and construction come together with careful guidance, the results are incredible.  

Species of Fish for Stocking Trout Ponds


Temp F°





Scientific Name

Rainbow Trout 






Oncorhynchus mykiss

Brook Trout      






Salvelinus fontinalis

Brown Trout     






Salmo trutta

 Cutthroat Trout 






Oncorhynchus clarkii

Knowledge of habitat by itself is not sufficient for the best trout stream, lake and pond designs. We work with a wide range of trout and salmon, which are threatened and endangered species. Trout pond habitat design and genetic stocks of trout are matched together in order to ensure your project's success.


Many people love the romance of truly wild trout in their waters. The wild fish actually adapt better to natural ponds than do hatchery trout. The question is should wild trout be transplanted to a new pond? Most of the time in smaller ponds we are going to suggest hatchery trout that are sterile triploids. These are inexpensive, they live longer and can grow larger than typical hatchery trout. To be the best stewards of wild stocks of trout, only large ponds and lakes should be stocked with natural wild stocks of fish. Spawning habitat should also be available when stocking wild trout. If those two conditions are met, then a sufficiently large population of trout can be maintained to avoid the perils of genetic inbreeding. These waters become an asset to wild fish as a refuge in case of catastrophic loss to the wild population.

For those keenly interested in having pure wild trout genetics for their ponds and lakes, read about our Wild Trout Refuge program where a landowner can help save sensitive and threatened stocks of wild trout and salmon.


Once the best species of trout are established in the pond / lake, the next goal is usually to ensure a sustainable population of fish. There are two main approaches to this goal, one being to continually stock sterile fish from a trout hatchery and the other being to provide viable spawning habitat for the fish to reproduce either within the pond or in a stream constructed as part of the lake habitat. The first method is the least expensive since trout fingerlings can be purchased for a very reasonable price. Providing habitat for spawning goes well beyond providing ongoing restocking of trout ponds. Allowing the fish to spawn relieves the stress of maturation that kills many fish during the spawning season. If fishing for larger trophy size wild trout is important for the habitat, then a spawning habitat will be important. Spring Creek can design a uniquely simple spawning habitat in leui of a major investment in a stream. Many clients prefer a stream since they can be built large enough for fishing and floating in small boats. To answer the question "Can trout spawn or reproduce in a pond", the answer is yes. It just takes more knowledge to accomplish.


A wide range of reasons and goals for building trout habitat exist. A few of the more popular types of habitats include:

  • Trophy trout fishing lakes These are most often public waters and private resorts. Guest ranches and resorts with trout waters are very popular destinations.
  • Fly Fishing Lakes Fly fishing lakes are a bit different than other trophy fishing waters in the idea these waters are designed to grow very large crops of invertebrates and bugs
  • Farm Ponds for Trout These are usually meant to supply a few dinners each month while still providing for recreational fishing
  • Pay to fish Trout Ponds This type of water should be considered more of an outdoor amusement park instead of the common idea of a place to grow trout. The successful pay to fish trout pond will sell many times more fish than they can grow themselves.These pay for fishing trout ponds are not all created equal.
  • Backyard Trout Habitats Small backyard ponds are a very good place to enjoy the beauty of trout when size of real estate is an issue. We often ask why create still waters when a small trout stream produces gorgeous aesthetic qualities to a home?

EXPERIENCE AND CREATIVITY. With over thirty years of biological experience and creative problem solving across North America, along with the practical construction experience, we provide you with scientific and practical solutions to build trout pond habitats correctly the first time. Because of our uniquely effective trout habitat designs, we build trout ponds, streams and lakes all across North America, including some very surprising southern locations. Our projects have ranged from trout in small landscape ponds, up to large lakes and analyses of entire watersheds. We have a great deal of experience pushing the limits of temperature tolerance of trout. We have developed a range of creative methods to accomplish what many will claim is not possible. From decades of experience, we know what is required. If we do not believe it can be done, we will happily give you a conservative assessment. Your successful trout habitat is too important to our business.

WHAT HAVE WE DONE LATELY? We recently completed a small trout pond project in the searing heat of central California. While we ensure success by layering additional design features, we did not have to go to the nth degree to achieve success on this project. Again we learned how to push the boundaries of possibility even further via this experience.

click for a larger map. A new page will open Our clients know what they want in a trout pond. Usually the answer is: everything. Clear water, trophy size trout, beaches, natural beauty and low maintenance. We rely on our wealth of fish pond construction experience across the continent to deliver and exceed those goals. We may add a beach for families or a stream large enough to catch over-sized trout on very light tackle. We will blend our creative solutions with your dreams to build an outdoor recreation dream for not just the trout fisherman, but everyone who enjoys cool clean natural water.

click on 3d lake for larger view

We have an outline for your use to plan and carry out your project with as much or little help as you require from us. Spend some time looking through our aquatic PLANNING GUIDE to assist you in developing the best aquatic habitat possible. Be sure to visit our TECHNICAL FAQs page for answers to your important questions.

Looking for pond, lake or waterfront property? Take a look at our new PROPERTY LISTING PAGE to locate or sell existing prime property for aquatic habitats. If you are in the real estate market with particular interests in waterfront properties, spend some time reading the WATERFRONT and LAKE PROPERTY BUYERS GUIDE to evaluate river and lake front properties.

IN THE NEWS: Our Senior Fishery Biologist was the Technical Adviser for an important new trophy trout fishing book titled: Big Trout. This book will change the way you think of chasing trophy trout.


Share Our Message - for better habitat and natural resources

If you find this information valuable consider spreading our message by copying a link to any of our pages into places you frequent on the internet. link to Spring Creek.
Virtually every habitat we create increases habitat for species of native rare wetland plants, sensitive species of fish or wildlife such as frogs.

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Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts

Lake Placid, NY       Portland, OR       Bend, OR

(971) 266 4669
© 1999 - Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts
No part of this material may be reprinted without permission of Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts.

Trout Habitat

Habitat design by Biologists who design trout habitat for sensitive or threatened species of trout & salmon ask about our wild trout habitat on private land refuge project. Main topics: trout fishing property for sale. Property on a trout stream for sale. fly fishing property lake property & waterfront real estate for sale. Each listings for trout fishing property / properties / land are located in the following states: Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania. We are Biologists who design natural trophy trout habitat without any need for artificial " trophy trout " from trout hatcheries in habitat development or creation. We design and improve natural habitat on wild trout streams. Enhancement of trout streams by Fishery Biologists use non invasive techniques to create and improve quality of trout streams - not all trout streams need a bulldozer to help them. We hold a deep understanding of trout streams. Wild Trout lake construction designed & developed by Fishery Biologists who design completely natural trout lakes, manage and build trout lakes to produce trophy size trout without stocking large hatchery trout. Note;changed h1 in the section compartment to h2 hid on 9/12  

Rainbow trout ponds

Trophy rainbow trout ponds for fishing that feature clear water for excellent fly fishing for rainbow trout ponds lakes and streams . These are Naturally spawning or reproducing rainbow trout in ponds built and designed by Biologists. Rainbow trout pond construction and design by Fishery Biologists for trophy rainbow trout habitat in clear water ponds lakes and rainbow trout streams featuring habitat for mayflies, stoneflies, damsel flies, dragonflies and fresh water shrimp. Within the rainbow group, we include redband trout as a subspecies although the majority of redband trout are wild and not available from hatcheries. Redband trout are a more inland subspecies to their coastal rainbow trout relatives.  

Brook trout ponds

Our Biologists create Trophy size Brook trout ponds with clear water offering pristine fly fishing in natural trophy brook trout ponds lakes and streams. We build naturally spawning brook trout in ponds by Fishery Biologists. The designs use the best in Trophy Brook trout fish pond construction and design featuring fishing for colorful spawning brook trout in clean clear water ponds brook trout streams and lakes.  

brown trout ponds

Brown trout habitat ponds are designed with brown trout's nocturnal piscivorous nature in mind. These are not for the casual trout pond fishing experience since trophy size brown trout are most active late at night when most fishermen have retired to bed. Due to their fish eating nature, brown trout might be more closely compared with large mouth bass, than rainbow trout since brown trout turn to eating bait fish at a smaller size than do rainbow trout.  

Cutthroat trout ponds

Trophy cutthroat trout pond habitat runs a wider range than any other species of trout since cutthroat trout species have existed longer, they have developed into many more subspecies and life histories to take advantage of more habitats. For instance Lahontan cutthroat trout are highly piscivorous and evolved in very alkaline desert lakes. West slope cutthroat trout ponds are designed for trout that eat mostly insects.  

Types of Trout Ponds

Spring Fed Trout Ponds

spring fed ponds are the most temperature stable with the fewest problems.

Run off fed Trout Ponds

Runoff ponds need the highest level of design help to improve water quality.

Trout fish farm ponds

murky water of fish farm ponds create challenges for trout survival due to low oxygen levels.

Trout fishing ponds

catch and keep or catch and release. Fee fishing ponds on trout farms are common.

Fly fishing ponds

trout ponds design for fly fishing with insect hatches and trophy trout. building lakes for fly fishing in streams and clear waterfish ponds. building lakes is more complex than farm pond construction is more cost effective than building ponds for back yard fish.

Trout ponds for residential trout ponds in developments by Biologists

garden or backyard trout ponds for natural landscaping. pond construction