Feeding Fish – By Chad Fikes
Feeding fish is fun! There you are, sitting at the edge of your favorite pond with a coffee can of floating food, trying to entice those underwater creatures to come up and take a nibble. Maybe you even have your favorite fishing buddy with you. You toss some food out and wait. Then, slowly at first, those creatures from the deep start to surface, splash, and go crazy devouring every last morsel. Your fishing buddy starts squealing and shouting, “Look at those fish, Daddy! That is cool!!!” (That’s how my daughters still react.)
However, it isn’t just important for aesthetics of a pond; it is one of the best things you can do to promote fish growth and health for several reasons. Number one…feeding makes baitfish, especially bluegills, bigger. That’s pretty awesome because it means when we go fishing for bluegills they could be huge, right? Well, yes, but there’s another reason. Bigger, healthier bluegills produce more offspring. Did you know a single female can lay as many as 2,500 eggs per spawn? If she has been on a healthy diet of quality, protein food, she will be on the higher end of egg production and her eggs will be healthier. More eggs translate to more and healthier fry. This translates into more bluegill for the pond. This means a larger forage base for your predators. More bluegill = happy bass.
I know what you are saying. Something like, “That sounds great. I have some extra dog food in the garage. I can throw it in and watch those fish grow.” Not so fast. There is a lot more to it than that. There are several companies making high quality, nutritious fish food. Purina and Cargill are two of the better ones. Purina Mills has put a lot of time and money into researching food that has proper nutrition for aquatic species. In fact, they have even broken it down into nutritional requirements during difference stages of the life cycle. You can get food for fry that is about the size of a BB. They make nuggets as big as the end of your thumb that were specially designed for feed-trained largemouth bass.
Feeding fish is one of the best things you can do for a pond. Every time I conduct a survey, I can see the difference in lakes that have a well planned feeding program and those that don’t. The difference is astronomical. Lakes that are fed, and fed properly, have healthy bass/bluegill, predator/prey relationships. Size classes are more representative of a norm; bluegills come in all sizes and ratios we want to see. If nothing else, it is just plain fun to watch.
Got questions or want to talk about feeding, please contact us. We will be happy to design a custom program to meet your goals.