Why is everyone so afraid to have willow bushes in their ponds? That's ridiculous. My pond is basically 30 by 24 feet and a bit over 5 feet deep. I've rarely seen a pond in nature that did not have willows growing in it. To me they are the most beautiful plant in a pond. They provide great color, some shade, great habitat for all kinds of bugs and birds and good cover for little fish to hide. I dug my pond out by hand in April and early May, used aiir mattresses for underlayment (I got them from 2nd hand store and cut them open in half to get more area covered) and then used 30 mil epdm liner from BTL Liners in Prineville, OR. I got the liner in and the pond full by third week in May. I went to the nearby lakes and dug up some willow, cattail, grasses, etc and a bit of lily pad and placed them on the shallower benches along the edge of my pond. I did this over the course of a couple weeks. I wanted Blue gills, but initially was unable to find any, so I brought 5 brown bullhead catfish home to at least have some fish. I also brought some minnows from the local stream. I got Blue gills a couple weeks later. When the blue gills started nesting I observed the catfish in on the nests feeding so that evening I caught all 5 cats and filleted them out to eat. Currently I have 23 adult blue gills and I expect youngins any day. Our water is mostly clear. When I'm in it (daily) I can see my feet when standing in water up to my chest. I have a long way to go with surrounding the pond with plants, but the water looks good. It is my opinion that the willows are doing the lion's share of cleaning the water right now. And I only have 6 willow clumps about 1.5 to 2 feet around. The pond has multiple lodgepole pines around it so the water is partially shaded throughout the day. The willows look so beautiful. Don't be afraid of doing the willows. I plan to add some small bass and small trout.