How much does it cost to stock a pond with fish?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to stock a pond with fish?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to stock a pond with fish?

$800 – $1,500Average cost to stock a pond (per acre)
$8,000 – $15,000Average cost to stock a lake (per 10 acres)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$800 – $1,500 Average cost to stock a pond (per acre)

$8,000 – $15,000 Average cost to stock a lake (per 10 acres)


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Cost to stock a pond with fish

The cost to stock a pond with fish is $800 to $1,500 per acre for a new pond or $8,000 to $15,000 on average for a 10-acre pond.

  • Largemouth bass cost $0.90 to $17.00 per fish.

  • Bluegill prices are $0.40 to $7.00 per fish.

Fish pond stocking cost
Pond size Average cost Package includes
¼ acre $170 – $500
  • 100 – 125 prey fish (one type or a combination of bluegill, hybrid bluegill, and redear sunfish)
  • 15 – 25 channel catfish
  • 20 – 25 largemouth bass
  • 1 – 5 lbs. fathead minnows
  • 1 – 2 triploid grass carp
½ acre $400 – $700
  • 200 – 250+ prey fish (bluegill, hybrid bluegill, or redear) 
  • 25 – 50 channel catfish
  • 40 – 50+ largemouth bass
  • 2 – 10 lbs. fathead minnows
  • 2 – 4 triploid grass carp
¾ acre $500 – $1,000
  • 300 – 650 prey fish (bluegill, hybrid bluegill, or redear)
  • 50 – 75 channel catfish
  • 60 – 75 largemouth bass
  • 4 – 20 lbs. fathead minnows
  • 3 – 6 triploid grass carp
1 acre $800 – $1,500
  • 500 – 1,000 prey fish (bluegill, hybrid bluegill, or redear sunfish)
  • 50 – 100 channel catfish
  • 50 – 100 largemouth bass
  • 5 – 20+ lbs. fathead minnows
  • 5 – 8 triploid grass carp
2 acres $1,600 – $3,000
  • 1,000 – 2,000 prey fish (bluegill, hybrid bluegill, or redear sunfish)
  • 100 – 200 channel catfish
  • 100 – 200 largemouth bass
  • 10 – 40+ lbs. fathead minnows
  • 10 – 16 triploid grass carp
3 acres $2,400 – $4,500
  • 1,500 – 3,000 prey fish (bluegill, hybrid bluegill, or redear sunfish)
  • 150 – 300 channel catfish
  • 150 – 300 largemouth bass
  • 15 – 60+ lbs. fathead minnows
  • 15 – 24 triploid grass carp
10 acres $8,000 – $15,000
  • 5,000– 10,000 prey fish (bluegill, hybrid bluegill, or redear sunfish)
  • 500 – 1,000 channel catfish
  • 500 – 1,000 largemouth bass
  • 50 – 200+ lbs. fathead minnows
  • 50 – 80 triploid grass carp

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Fish stocking prices by type

Fish stocking price by type
Type of fish Average cost per fish Recommended fish per surface acre*
Bass – largemouth $0.90 – $17.00 50 – 100
Bass – striped $2.00 – $5.00 50 – 100
Bass – smallmouth $8.00 – $20.00 50 – 100
Black crappie $0.50 – $2.00  100 – 500
Bluegill – standard, coppernose, or hybrid $0.40 – $7.00 500 – 1,000
Channel catfish $0.60 – $2.80 50 – 200
Redear bream / redear sunfish $0.50 – $3.00 175 –250
Triploid grass carp $11.00 – $19.00 2 – 20
Trout $1.50 – $5.50 100
Walleyes $1.60 – $3.20  20 – 100
Yellow perch $0.90 – $3.40 100 –500
Koi $10.00 – $60.00+  1 – 2 per 250 gallons
Fathead minnows $9.00 – $13.00 per pound  5 – 20+ pounds
Golden shiners $10.00 – $16.00 per pound 10 – 25 pounds
Tilapia $12.00 – $18.00 per pound 10 – 40 pounds

*For new pond stocking.

Experts recommend stocking a 10:1 prey-to-predator ratio. The number of each species to stock depends on:

  • Location

  • Species combination

  • Individual fish size

  • Whether the fish will be fed

  • Whether or not the pond is fertilized

Cost of stocking a pond with bass

Stocking a pond with bass costs $0.90 to $17.00 per fish, depending on the fish size.

Stock a new pond with 50 to 100 per surface acre of bass fingerlings or 5 or 6 per acre of adult bass. Stocking too many bass results in stunting.

Price to stock a pond with bass
Bass length Average price
2" – 4" $0.90 – $1.60
4" – 6" $1.90 – $3.50
6" – 8" $3.10 – $5.30
8" – 10" $4.80 – $9.70
10" – 12" $9.00 – $12.00
Over 12" $13.00 – $17.00

Bluegill stocking prices

Stocking a pond with bluegill costs $0.40 to $7.00 per fish, depending on the length. Stock 500 to 1,000 bluegill per acre, depending on the number and type of other fish stocked.

Bluegill stocking prices
Size Average price
1" – 2" $0.40 – $0.60
2" – 4" $0.70 – $1.00
4" – 6" $0.90 – $2.10
6" – 8" $2.60 – $7.00

  • Standard bluegills are prolific breeders and require a substantial predator population like bass or catfish to prevent overpopulation. Stock a large amount of bluegill sunfish to foster a healthy bass population.

  • Hybrid bluegills—a cross between a female green sunfish and male bluegill—grow larger and are more aggressive than standard bluegills. Hybrid bluegills often need periodic restocking due to their lower reproductive rate.

Price for stocking minnows in a pond

Stocking minnows in a pond costs $9 to $13 per pound. One pound typically contains 200 to 300 minnows.

Some retailers sell minnows in 1,000-fish batches instead at $0.03 to $0.10 per fish.

  • Stock fathead minnows in the spring at 5 to 20+ pounds per surface acre to establish a new pond's forage base.

  • Ponds already established with bass or other predator populations require up to 100 pounds of minnows per acre. Adding bluegill instead of minnows is often more cost-effective.

Catfish pond stocking cost

Catfish pond stocking costs $0.60 to $4.00 per fish, depending on the size.

  • Stock up to 200 catfish per surface acre for a catfish pond.

  • For a bass and catfish pond, stock up to 50 catfish per acre in an unfertilized pond or up to 100 per acre when fertilized.

Catfish pond stocking prices
Catfish length Average price
4" – 6" $0.60 – $0.90
6" – 8" $0.70 – $1.60
8" – 10" $1.30 – $2.80
10" – 12" $1.80 – $4.00

Grass carp prices

Grass carp prices are $6 to $19 per fish, depending on the type. Triploid grass carp or white amur are sterile fish commonly used as a natural weed control alternative.

Grass carp prices
Type Average price
Diploid 8" ­– 10" $6 – $12
Triploid 8" – 10" $11 – $19 

Most states have strict regulations for grass carp. Many states allow only the triploid variety because diploid carp are prolific breeders that negatively impact other fish and plant species.

Crappie prices to stock a pond

Crappie prices are $0.50 to $2.00 per fish on average, depending on the length.

  • Crappie are highly reproductive and require a large bass, catfish, or other predator fish population to maintain a balanced habitat.

  • Stocking crappies is not recommended in ponds less than 100 acres.

Crappie pond stocking prices
Crappie length Average price
2" – 3" $0.50 – $1.20
3" – 4" $1.00 – $2.00

Redear bream sunfish prices

Redear sunfish cost $0.50 to $3.00 per fish, depending on the size. Redear sunfish are also called redear bream or shellcrackers.

Redear sunfish eat mostly snails, clams, and insects, which balances the pond's ecosystem and reduces parasite potential in bass, bluegill, and catfish.

Redear sunfish prices
Fish length Average price
1" – 3" $0.50 – $0.70
3" – 4" $0.80 – $1.00
4" – 5" $1.00 – $3.00

How to stock a pond with fish

Long-term fish stocking plan

Introduce species separately to create a healthy, long-term fish habitat:

  • Stock foraging fish like sunfish and minnows first, allowing them to spawn and establish a forage base.

  • Add predator fish like bass or catfish the following season.

  • Stocking fingerlings or small fish also works well with this strategy, making it a cost-effective approach.

Quick-start fish stocking plan

Consult a biologist to determine the best species and stocking plan for the location, pond size and type, and goals. Stocking all fish simultaneously requires pairing predator and prey species of different sizes to ensure a sustainable forage base.

Fish swimming in a freshwater fishing pond.
Fish swimming in a freshwater fishing pond.

Fish pond stocking cost factors

Factors that affect the cost include:

  • Fish size & type – Fish prices depend on the species and size. Small foraging fish like minnows cost as little as $0.03 per fish, while one 10" largemouth bass costs $9 to $12.

  • Pond size & depth – The larger the pond, the more fish are needed to develop a balanced and sustainable habitat. Pond size and depth also impact the species a pond can sustain. Stocking largemouth bass requires a pond to remain at least 3' to 4' deep year-round.

  • Location / delivery fees – Most fisheries charge $2 to $5 per mile for fish stock delivery.

  • Minimum order – Many fish stocking companies require an $800 to $2,000 minimum for stock delivery.

  • Bagging fees – Fisheries charge $1.00 to $2.50+ per bag to bag the fish with oxygen for transport.

  • Permits – Most areas require a permit to build a fish pond. Pond building regulations, water management restrictions, and fishing permit requirements and vary by state.

  • Pond condition ­– Existing ponds may require a professional to assess the pond's current habitability and remove wild fish before stocking.

  • Season – Fish species availability varies by season and location. Many species become stressed in extreme temperatures, and fisheries only carry them during mild months when the fish can best withstand the stress of transportation.

  • State assistance – Some states have free fish stocking programs. Check with local authorities for pond qualification requirements.

Cost to restock an established pond

The cost to restock an established pond depends on its current condition and population:

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  • An electrofishing survey costs $650 to $2,000+. Electrofishing temporarily stuns fish, allowing experts to assess the number, type, age, and health of the existing fish and provide a habitat management plan.

  • Professional water testing costs $100 to $200. Test the water before restocking, especially when replenishing the pond due to a fish kill.

Frequently asked questions

What is a stock pond?

A stock pond or stocking pond may be used for recreation, fishing, livestock support, or for attracting and preserving wildlife.

Stock farm ponds are typically 1+ acres. Stocking a smaller pond is possible but requires more attention and management to maintain a balanced habitat.

The cost to build a pond is $1,200 to $6,800 per acre, not including the fish.

When should I stock my pond with fish?

Stock your pond with fish like bluegill, sunfish, fathead minnows, and golden shiners in early fall to late winter. Allow these forage fish to reproduce and establish themselves before introducing predators.

Stock sportfish like bass and catfish in spring or when temperatures are at least 65°F.

Stocking all fish at once is possible, provided each fish species is sized appropriately to ensure a sustainable forage base.

What fish to stock in a farm pond?

The best fish to stock in a farm pond are largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish. Bluegill and redear create a forage base. Bass and catfish are predators, ideal for fishing and eating.

Finding stock fish for sale

Before buying fish from a pond stocking company, be sure to:

  • Only purchase fish from a licensed commercial fish hatchery.

  • Ask friends or neighbors for recommendations.

  • Browse their reviews on Google or HomeGuide.

  • Check into free fish stocking programs in your state.

  • Have your water tested to ensure an optimal environment for fish.

  • Hire an electrofishing service to assess the current fish population for an existing pond.

  • Never transfer wild fish from another body of water to your new pond as this may negatively affect the eco-system.

Questions to ask

  • Are you a licensed commercial fish hatchery?

  • What fish stocking plan do you recommend for my pond?

  • When do you recommend stocking a pond?

  • Do you have a package or plan for stocking all fish simultaneously?

  • Will I need to restock the pond later, or is it self-sustaining?

  • Do you recommend feeding the fish? If so, what and how much should I feed them?

  • Do you offer water testing? If so, what is the cost?

  • How much do you charge for delivery?

  • What is your minimum purchase order for delivery?


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