Frequently Asked Questions

We service the whole state of Michigan. We travel 30 mins into Ohio and for special projects in other surrounding states.

The loaded question, do I need a permit. In most cases it is 50/50 chance weather you need a permit or not. If you are digging a new pond, we usually advise to call your local township to see if a permit needed. The MDEQ should be contacted if and when there are wet lands involved.

> 500 feet of a lake or stream

>Within a regulated wet land

>Within a 500 year flood plain

>5 surface acres are bigger

A permit could take up to 3 months to get, but sometimes come in as quick as 30 days with help from Schlicht Excavating. We work with the MDEQ and know most of them on a personal level. If you are just simply cleaning out an existing pond a permit is not needed we just call that a renovation.

You can contact MDEQ at 517-373-9244. You can apply for the permit yourself or contact our firm at 810-845-6070 for assistance.

The main killer of fish is Michigan’s winter. Fish don’t “freeze” like some may think. The ice actually deprives them of their oxygen.

That being said, our team uses a “punch hole” approach to create deeper areas in your pond, which helps with the fish surviving.

There are many factors involved when building a new pond. Some of the factors include

  • Pond Depth
  • Material hauling
  • Does the pond need a permit?
  • What is the surface area of the pond we are digging?

That being said, here are some ballpark costs associated with building a new pond.

1/4 acre pond         $6,500

1/2 acre pond         $15,000

1 acre pond             $25,000

When the cold weather starts to break make sure you add a water conditioner to any water you add from the hose. Some people add chloramine to tap water, which never spreads throughout the pond, and which also provides an excellent food source for algae.

Adding barley straw to a pond at the beginning of the season is also wise. It comes in bail, pellet, or liquid form. As barley straw breaks down, it creates enzymes that help to keep water clear.

Phosphate removers, whether in liquid or pellet form, will also help fight algae in ponds. Phosphate is one of the main nutrients that algae use for food, so removing excess phosphates helps to kill algae.

There are also products on the market that dye pond water blue. These liquids are usually added once a month, and are not only pleasing in appearance, but also effective at preventing algae. The blue dye in the water reflects sunlight so that it does not penetrate the surface of the water, which prevents algae from turning the sunlight into the energy it needs to spread throughout your pond.

When a pond gets over grown with weeds and full of sediments from leaves, aquatic weeds, twigs and branches, and decaying organisms such as fish and snails. The pond then needs to be dredged. This usually needs to take place every ten years or so. The dredging process will turn your pond back to its original condition or most times better. In some cases only the edges of the pond need to be dredged. In some severe cases the entire pond would need to be pumped down and cleaned. Depending on the size of the pond this could take a day and up to a week. The spoils that come out of the pond should go somewhere on the property to save time and money. If they need to be hauled away it can sometimes double the cost of the clean-out.

Your options will be limited to the species allowed and provided by your Fish and Game division/department. When you stock a private water body, you need a permit from your state government, and your Fish and Game department will provide the fish to be stocked from a hatchery. This process is not like going to the deli — you can’t say, “Give me a bluegill, a couple crappies, and a nice big bass.” They will tell you if you can stock fish and what kind of fish you can stock, based on characteristics of the pond, its connection to other waterways, etc. Since this pond is fed by a small stream that means its hydro logically connected to other waterways and the state will want to be careful about what they put in there. Usually nonnative species are not stocked unless they are sterile, which means you have to restock periodically.

If you’re not doing this the “official” way, then you’re sort of rolling the dice. A lot of unexpected things can happen you embark on a career as an amateur fisheries biologist. Let’s say you decide you want bluegill in your pond. You go to some nearby lake and catch a bucket of bluegill, and then you bring them back to your pond. Who knows if they’ll survive? Maybe the pH is off or the average temperature is too warm or there’s not enough biomass to support fish. They may all die off or they may migrate away through the stream. But let’s also say that a few carp larvae got sucked into your bucket of bluegill — within a few years your pond will be full of carp, and then it won’t be fit for anything.

But let’s forget about the problems of amateur fish stocking. I’d say that your pond is probably best suited for crappie or perch, which have a high tolerance for temperature variation, can spawn in lots of habitat, and can survive on a wide variety of forage (including each other). They’re also good to eat and fun to catch. Here again, however, you run into problems if you just start throwing fish into a pond. The most common problem with sunfish I’ve seen in small lakes and ponds is overpopulation — sunfish will fill every ecological nook and cranny and soon you will have an abundance of fish, but only a small percentage will be big enough to fish for.

The simple answer is YES. Digging ponds in the Michigan winter has its pro’s and con’s.


-Some spots of the property that may normally be soft may be frozen in the winter months, which may make them more accessible in the winter.

-Don’t have to worry so much about the rain, snow does not impair digging conditions like rain.

-The water table should still be at its low point during winter.

– Winter is also a slower time of year for us pond diggers, there is normally not a huge rush to get to the next pond.

-If you have your pond dug in the winter, it is then ready in the spring for grass seed and is a great time to implement soil erosion techniques.

-By the late hot summer days, your grass should need its first cut and you can start to enjoy your pond.


-Some times in a real harsh winter the frost in the ground can penetrate as deep as 3 feet, this would make a winter dig very difficult.

-If moving dirt on site, the dump bodies of our trucks can start to get filled with frozen spoils that will not dump out. We may spray the boxes with calcium chloride in order to prevent this.

-If there is a need for pumping of water in the pond during winter months our pumps can freeze if left unattended for long periods.

-The cold winter weather is very hard on our equipment in the morning when we try to start them.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what season it is to us. We will dig a pond rain or shine, snow or sleet, it is what we do.

Have some more questions?

Our team is standing by to assist you with any questions you may have about pond maintenance, new pond builds or any other pond related questions.