Winter Tips For Fish Feeding And Aeration?
We’re receiving frequent calls asking if you should feed fish and run aeration during the winter? Short answer, feed minimal amounts. Turn aeration off December through February. Here’s why.
Since fish are cold-blooded critters, water temperatures influence feeding habits. As water temps drop below 70, a fish’s cold-blooded body transitions to winter. During summer months, they should consume a five-second-feeder spin in 10 minutes. By early November, that same amount may take 15 or 20 minutes. Their darting, swirling flashes soon appear in slow motion. Most folks stop feeding by Thanksgiving. If your goal is growing big bluegill, we recommend reducing feeder spin to one-second, once daily around 3 p.m. Activity will vary with weather conditions, but they will respond on warm days. If you have leftover feed, place it in a sealed container until spring. If you do not feed through winter, delete programmed times so feeders stop running and reduce wear and tear on the spinner motor. Keep batteries connected to the solar charger. If you remove batteries, still keep them charged for extended life. Reset normal feeding times and schedules by March 15.
Wet a hook every opportunity, even through winter. Work baits slowly. Female bass reach their highest annual weight in February when filled with eggs for late-March spawn. Don’t be left out when campfire conversations turn to fishing stories. If it gets competitive, just remember you have a personal consultant. We can discuss forage plans that take your bass to the next level and get the attention of buddies around fireside chats.
As for aeration, manufacturers suggests operating units 365-days a year. They feel continual service maintains healthy environmental stability. Lake managers say it depends on your region. Concerns for dissolved oxygen and related water quality issues subside during cooler months when thermoclines destratify. In colder zones, circulation prevents pond surfaces from freezing solidly, cutting-off oxygen, and causing a fish kill. In other areas, if you have an unseasonable cold spell, aeration circulation can chill a fish’s deeper, warm winter home and create stress. In our area, we recommend turning aeration off around December 1 and re-starting March 1. When resuming, carefully follow gradual start-up procedures for five to six days. Failure to follow these steps may cause a fish kill. Contact us for best policies in your area.
Seasonal transitions are good reminders to conduct important aeration maintenance. Failure to change filters quarterly can reduce circulation and damage compressors. Rebuild kits should be installed annually to replace parts worn from continuous operation. Prevent field mice from entering compressor cabinets, establishing a colony, and gnawing on air hoses. Keep tall grass from growing around the cabinet and blocking necessary ventilation. Monitor surface boiling action to ensure supply lines and bottom diffusers are producing maximum flow.
Aeration systems are an insurance policy to protect a large investment in your pond. Minimize potential for fish kills, unsightly algae, poor water quality, swarming insects, foul odors, and muck accumulation. We custom design systems for any size lake.