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#497774 - 10/22/18 01:21 PM Non fed ponds
bigpullerman Offline


Registered: 12/01/15
Posts: 60
Loc: central Arkansas
How many don't feed your fish with any kind of fish food? Just let them fin for theirself. I have never fed my fish in the pond and was wondering how many others don't as well.
_________________________
Nothing like seeing your bobber bobbing.
1 acre pond with LMB BG GSF BH CC and whatever else I can find
Not after trophies I just like catching and eating fish
Buddy R Hill

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#497777 - 10/22/18 01:37 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
Zep Offline
Hall of Fame 2014


Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 3111
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Originally Posted By: bigpullerman
How many don't feed your fish with any kind of fish food?


I have 3 small ponds and a 4 acre pond.

I've never fed in any ponds until recently I added a feeder in one of the small ponds that I call the "albino cat pond". I really had no specific reason for adding it...but just decided to try it.

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Fishing has never been about the fish....


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#497779 - 10/22/18 02:04 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
Redonthehead Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 191
Loc: Missouri
I don't feed and don't aerate. Not trying to produce maximum size or tonnage. Know of dozens of productive farm ponds and not one is fed or aerated. Probably fairly uncommon in Missouri.
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#497780 - 10/22/18 03:30 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bigpullerman Offline


Registered: 12/01/15
Posts: 60
Loc: central Arkansas
I haven't aerated either. Have thought about it but I will have to get electricity run down there first. Don't know if I ever will. Now I have seriously thought about making some kind of bug killer to hang over the water to knock some bugs in there to feed the fish. Still trying to figure out how to make one myself pretty cheap.
_________________________
Nothing like seeing your bobber bobbing.
1 acre pond with LMB BG GSF BH CC and whatever else I can find
Not after trophies I just like catching and eating fish
Buddy R Hill

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#497804 - 10/23/18 06:34 AM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
SetterGuy Offline


Registered: 10/30/13
Posts: 1319
Loc: NE Missouri
I feed very sporadically. My AquaPro feeder really helps when you are trying to conserve feed. whistle I did go through about a half bag of feed this summer. All was hand tossed. The water boils when I throw it. The grandkids love to watch. Last summer the feeder worked 75% of the time. I went through 3 bags of feed. My pond was so low until a few weeks ago, I wasnít sure feeding with such a reduced amount of water was the right thing to do.

I donít aerate either. So far my fish seem fine. Only in for three years though.
_________________________
4 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM, HBG, SMB, and HSB..
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.

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#497811 - 10/23/18 11:03 AM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 238
Loc: Texas
The way I see feed is this. If you have a 1 acre BOW and would prefer a 1 1/2 to 2 acre BOW ... then feed them. It's just a way of increasing fertility and providing more to eat.

If you are having trouble with managing size structure in the BOW as it currently is ... reconsider feeding until this is resolved. The mix of predator at appropriate sizes and prey at appropriate sizes leads to the greatest efficiency. If you are out of balance, feeding could exacerbate things making for a bigger problem in the future. If a 1 acre BOW is difficult to manage for size structure .. then the equivalent of 2 acre BOW is twice as hard.

If all is well, feed but also keep in mind that predators will lag. If you are managing for large forage fish ... you may want to boost predator presence in the appropriate size to compensate increased forage reproduction.


Edited by jpsdad (10/23/18 11:05 AM)

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#498226 - 11/01/18 01:54 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bassmaster61 Offline


Registered: 06/18/15
Posts: 147
Loc: St. Louis, MO/West Central Ill...
In the spring of 2017, as an experiment, we stocked about 55 feed trained LMB that weighed between 1-1.25 lbs. into a 1.6 acre pond that had an existing bass population. We also stocked in 400 adult 5"-7" native northern BG. The prior fall we had harvested 60 LMB from that pond. This was all part of a project to renovate the pond and improve the fishing. The feeder is now shut down for the winter so we have been feeding them for two seasons.

This season we caught some nice(3+ lb.)fish out of there when over much of the last 10 years we caught mostly 12"-14" bass. So it seems the combination of harvest targets (the initial 60 prior to the stocking + 20 LMB <14" per surface acre per year as "maintenance") and feeding have resulted in better quality fishing from a size and relative weight perspective.

But we still want these feed trained fish to eat natural forage. I feed a total of about 2 lbs. per day of pellets. A number of the fish hanging around the feeder look well over 3 lbs. but we don't fish near it often.....next year we will.

I am somewhat concerned that these large fed fish will be much harder to catch. I will likely decrease the amount of feed next year as I want to make sure they are also figuring out how to eat natural forage which, I think, will make them more likely to hit our lures.

Like I said, this has been and will continue to be an experiment. We do not plan on putting feeders on our other two BOWs (6.5 & 1.5 acres). We are renovating those ponds as well and have hit our harvest and maintenance harvest targets for the last 2 years. Relative weights are increasing in those ponds as is the length of the average fish. Clearly harvest and habitat have been key in both of those.

Buying a quality feeder like a TX Hunter and using quality pellets like Aquamax MVP is not cheap. Plus the maintenance of keeping the feeder filled and pellets in stock takes time and some planning, especially since we do not live on the property....it is a weekend place. I would recommend not going crazy with the feeders, at least initially. If you decide to feed, buy just one feeder that holds 70 lbs. of pellets or so and just see if it works for you or not. I like having a feeder and its fun to try and grow some larger fish but we have no intention of buying another. BM61.


Edited by bassmaster61 (11/02/18 12:44 PM)
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#498227 - 11/01/18 02:15 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19620
Loc: Miss.
bassmaster61 have you sampled the BG population in the experimental pond and if so what did it show? Thanks for the report above.
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#498228 - 11/01/18 02:46 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bassmaster61 Offline


Registered: 06/18/15
Posts: 147
Loc: St. Louis, MO/West Central Ill...
Eric, we have been catching a good number of BG at the pond with the feeder. Note that this pond, until our experiment began, had a population of stunted LMB and some monster BG (obviously a common pond problem as you well know). We quite frequently caught BG in the 10"-11" range ("monster" IMO anyway) and every now and then some a little bigger.

We continue to catch some of those larger BG but are also catching many more in the intermediate 6"-8" or 9" range. I have not taken any relative weight measurements for the BG but I plan to do more of that starting next season. Note that we have intentionally not harvested any BG at all from any of our ponds during this renovation/rehab project.

I still need to read up and study a bit more about whether I should or should not harvest BG from this experimental pond (or from the other 2 for that matter) down the road. My thought process here is that the pond had too many LMB that were stunted because they did not have enough food....why would I want to take out that food now that I have the predator population in better balance? Like I said, I need to study this topic a bit more before next season. BM61.


Edited by bassmaster61 (11/02/18 12:49 PM)
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#498396 - 11/05/18 03:28 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
RStringer Offline


Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 35
Loc: Parsons KS
I was feeding my cats til it cooled off here in Kansas. Pond is about 1/3 arce or so. We had the pond built bout 10 years ago put 12 pounds of flathead minnows in there and let them play (lol). Put 100 cats in it from dunn's never feed them til this year and they went crazy on it. Just some fish feed from the local farm store. I never have aerate either.
_________________________
The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me.

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#498400 - 11/05/18 04:01 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1531
Loc: East Texas, USA
One underappreciated benefit of feeding is watching the fish. More fun than catching! grin


Edited by anthropic (11/05/18 04:49 PM)
_________________________
8 acre E Texas, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12 inch N LMB & 1k GSH 10/17. 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18

There are only 10 types of people; those who understand binary and those who don't




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#499159 - 12/01/18 11:16 AM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bigpullerman Offline


Registered: 12/01/15
Posts: 60
Loc: central Arkansas
Read this this morning from the Kansas Wildlife,Parks & Tourism. Basically if you want big fish or fish to grow faster and to their full potential feeding is what you need to do. But if you don't the fish will pretty well take care of their self. I'm looking into ways to create more natural food for the small fish. Thinking about making one of those bug killers deals that knocks them in the water.

Feeding Fish

All ponds produce some natural food for fish. The amount of food produced is a function of the pondís productivity. Food quantity, in turn, determines what weight of fish the pond can support. The average amount of fish in a Kansas pond of average fertility is about 250 pounds per acre, of which only a portion (30-50% by weight) can be harvested per year. Fish populations in most Kansas ponds are not harvested heavily enough to overtax natural food production. Supplemental feeding is thus not usually required. In special cases where the harvest demand is high or where large fish are desired, feeding can be beneficial.

Formulated fish feeds in pellet form are available at most feed stores. The most common feed is formulated for catfish, but it is also suitable for bluegills. These feeds are available in the form of sinking pellets or floating pellets. The advantage of floating pellets is that the person feeding the fish can determine whether the fish are eating the feed.

Bluegills will eat artificial feed, but feeding alone will not usually increase the sizes of overpopulated bluegills. Adequate predation on small bluegills by bass along with the feeding can, however, result in increased bluegill growth rates and larger bluegills.

Channel catfish are practical to feed, either as the only species in a pond or together with other species. They quickly learn to eat artificial feed and their growth rate increases. Both catfish and bluegill should be fed no more than they can consume in 15 minutes, up to a maximum of 20 pounds per acre per day. If fish are overfed, decomposition of wasted feed can result in oxygen depletion, killing fish. It is a good idea to monitor water temperature and oxygen content. Feeding should occur daily or at least every other day when water temperatures are over 60įF. Once a feeding program has been started it should continue throughout the growing season unless the pondís oxygen content falls below 5 ppm at the surface. If it is stopped, fish will lose weight.

Muddy ponds or ponds less than half an acre usually do not produce enough bass and luegills for consistently good angling. It is in such ponds that densities of 200 or more channel catfish per acre can be maintained through supplemental feeding.

Channel catfish can also be fed in cages constructed of 1/2- 3/4 inch mesh screen suspended from floats and anchored in a pond. A cage with a volume of one cubic yard can support 200-275 channel catfish 6-10 inches long. Diseases and oxygen deficiencies due to overfeeding are much more common with confined fish; no more than 1,000 fish per acre should be raised in cages. Food formulated for cage culture should be provided every day of the growing eason, but no more food should be furnished than can be consumed in 15 minutes.
_________________________
Nothing like seeing your bobber bobbing.
1 acre pond with LMB BG GSF BH CC and whatever else I can find
Not after trophies I just like catching and eating fish
Buddy R Hill

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#499166 - 12/01/18 12:21 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 238
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: bigpullerman
I'm looking into ways to create more natural food for the small fish.


bigpullerman,

If you don't have them already, get some PK shrimp. You should be able to collect some locally or buy a few. If you have a fish free persistent puddle upstream put them there otherwise grow in a kiddy pool. They eat a broad range of things depending on available foods. They will begin breeding in Feb/Mar and when you get a fair number of them you can stock in Late April. You can feed them alfalfa or cottonseed meal. If you don't have aquatic vegetation, then cut some cedars and sink them without leaves before you stock the PK's. Stock PKs in cover. They are extremely prolific and can breed in Texas from Feb to Oct and in your locale probably from Mar to Sept. If you can provide enough cover to get 10 lbs to overwinter each year they will be a free source of many, many times that weight in free forage.


Edited by jpsdad (12/02/18 02:41 PM)

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#499220 - 12/03/18 01:27 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19620
Loc: Miss.
This entire thread has been placed in the Fish Foods & All About Feeding Fish topic of the Forum Archives: Common Pond Q & A
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=400108#Post400108

For producing fish a pond that relies solely on natural production:
Start with the basics. The pic below shows a basic food chain. To have more without any feeding you have to enhance the food chain. The basic building block is the plankton shown in the circle inset. You can by adding to any level increase the next level above (like adding pk shrimp to help the next level up). You need some basic info on your ponds fertility to start.




PK shrimp, scuds, and crayfish are both predators, shredders, and detritivores who help break down organic material and also serve as good fish food. Adding detritivors to a pond ecosystem can enhance the overall pond system.
Common foods are detritus, coarse and fine particulate organic matter, filamentous algae, diatoms, animal matter, its own species, and zooplankton such as Daphnia spp. Smaller individuals feed on detritus more frequently.

Detritivors also known as detrivores, detritophages, detritus feeders, or detritus eaters, are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as feces). There are many kinds of invertebrates, vertebrates and plants that carry out coprophagy. By doing so, all these detritivores contribute to decomposition and the nutrient cycles.


Attachments
C5_fig_5.4jpg-aquatic-science-texas.jpg (381 downloads)



Edited by Bill Cody (12/03/18 02:42 PM)
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#499232 - 12/03/18 04:16 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bigpullerman Offline


Registered: 12/01/15
Posts: 60
Loc: central Arkansas
Thanks guys.
Been looking for some of these PK shrimp and I see them for sale on ebay. I don't think I want to go that route. Might get a dipnet and try to find some this spring. Might look around some pet supply stores while out Christmas shopping. The shrimp look interesting and I think would be a good add. I have more reading to do with the thread that ewest added. I am just trying to make the best out of my pond without a constant feeding program. I have lots of work to do along with lots of reading.
_________________________
Nothing like seeing your bobber bobbing.
1 acre pond with LMB BG GSF BH CC and whatever else I can find
Not after trophies I just like catching and eating fish
Buddy R Hill

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#499235 - 12/03/18 05:26 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 238
Loc: Texas
They are pricey at ebay >$1000/lb. Even so a few can become millions but you would need to have a way to jump start the introduction by having away to reproduce them without a fish presence. A couple of other ideas ...

Hyalella Azteca --- https://goliadfarms.com/shop/gammarus-scuds/

Also if you have silty bottom without submergent vegetation covering ... then I read of a very interesting way to collect Hexagenia mayfly eggs. When the hatch is on in a nearby lake, drive up to bank at night, the paper referenced that they used a boat ramp. Shine the car lights onto the water. Below your car lights, have tub filled with water. You will see mayflies coming into the light as the skip(fly intermittently) across the water. At the light they will settle to the water and lay eggs. Distribute these eggs in your water. These critters were exceptionally important in my home town's munincipal lake hatching from June through August with a peak in June. But they won't benefit from a weedy pond the way PK shrimp and scuds would.

Gambusia are native in your area. If you don't have them, you can scoop them up with fine mesh net from the dollar store. Many times park ponds have them. It doesn't take many as they are resilient fish. Time introductions in May or June.

If you have alot of BG that are small then they probably have limited the secondary trophic level. Reducing their number will allow secondary trophic organisms to flourish. More LMB in 6" to 12" well help ... remove any LMB > 14 inches that might eat your 5" - 7" LMB. If there is no statewide length limit for LMB in your state you might find a farm pond with an abundance of LMB as a source of supplemental LMB. You want LMB that are feeding on BG if you supplement.



Edited by jpsdad (12/03/18 08:05 PM)

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#499243 - 12/03/18 08:32 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
Bill Cody Offline
Moderator
Ambassador
Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12550
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Fishes balance of proper size distribution is very important to creating a high quality fishery created solely by natural production. The more the numbers of size classes get out of balance then the natural foods become over grazed then growth of fish slows. Proper harvest either by predators or humans is very important to maintain high quality natural fisheries.
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#499248 - 12/03/18 09:35 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1531
Loc: East Texas, USA
If you do go with PK, be sure to acclimate them to your pond water temp & chemistry, then carefully stock them in very weedy areas. In open water they won't survive, too easy pickings for the fish.
_________________________
8 acre E Texas, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12 inch N LMB & 1k GSH 10/17. 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18

There are only 10 types of people; those who understand binary and those who don't




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#499261 - 12/04/18 10:21 AM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bigpullerman Offline


Registered: 12/01/15
Posts: 60
Loc: central Arkansas
So much reading to do and have done. My pond is over 20 yrs old and has not been managed. I believe the LMB are overpopulated. My CC are now a large predator. I know I have to remove all the LMB and CC I catch to give the little guys a chance. I will call in some reinforcements to do this. A fish fry will be in order. I have been working on brush piles and shallow areas for the little guys to hide in. I moved my spillway up and added about a foot to the water level and now I believe I have over an acre at full pool. I have been adding BG and GSF to add to the forage.I got to learn how to identify minnows and very small fish and get a dipnet to start catching some of these little critters like the Gambusia My pond has just been a bucket stocked deal with just the natural food chain. I kinda want to keep it that way but enhance it with some management. Thank You for all the responses. I think that there are others with the same ideas about having just a natural non fed pond. I think that with some information and managing the pond it can be doable. The problem with mine was it was not fished regularly enough for years and no records were ever kept. Now I am doing that and working to make it better.
_________________________
Nothing like seeing your bobber bobbing.
1 acre pond with LMB BG GSF BH CC and whatever else I can find
Not after trophies I just like catching and eating fish
Buddy R Hill

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#499293 - 12/04/18 08:19 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 64
Loc: NW Kansas
bigpullerman, I don't want to push anyone into doing something they don't want to do but may I recommend reducing the number of GSF as a start. This species (in my neck of the woods) has proven to reduce BG numbers and "anything else" numbers. They are incredibly aggressive and are known to overpopulate in areas where other species used to be king. GSF are also proven to be a huge nest predator as well as a LMB fry converter. A fish fry would be a good thing but I would pull about everything I caught-out, except maybe the smallest of the LMB, maybe 8" or less. Everything in there may have a growth rate so slow it doesn't have enough life left to gain much size even in the best of conditions. It also doesn't happen overnight. But to start I'd pull every GSF you can.

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#499306 - 12/05/18 05:11 AM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
Dave Davidson1 Online   content
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13632
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I've never found a problem with GSF when bass are present. They only spawn annually so I don't have a problem with them. OTOH, I have a small pond, les than 1/4 acre, with only about a dozen cats as predators. There, the GSF dominate. But, their limited spawns, compared to BG, are perfect there.
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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#499310 - 12/05/18 08:31 AM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bigpullerman Offline


Registered: 12/01/15
Posts: 60
Loc: central Arkansas
Snipe I don't catch many GSF in my pond. The ones I get come from a drainage ditch close by and are only 2-3" so I really think I am just feeding my LMB when I dump em in. I have only caught some BG-GSF hybrids. I don't catch much of any small BG either. I think the problem is YOY not getting a chance to grow. Too many predators. I think all the shallow areas will help the YOY to survive. I will be making some really dense brushpiles for the little ones also. Been reading a lot about aeration and how it effects all the little green critters along with clearing up some of that muck at the bottom. I think that is also a good step for a natural feed pond as to enhance those things at the bottom of the food chain.
_________________________
Nothing like seeing your bobber bobbing.
1 acre pond with LMB BG GSF BH CC and whatever else I can find
Not after trophies I just like catching and eating fish
Buddy R Hill

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#499548 - 12/10/18 11:06 AM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
bigpullerman Offline


Registered: 12/01/15
Posts: 60
Loc: central Arkansas
Long cold weekend so I had a lot time to read. My conclusions about non fed ponds are that it's a viable way to have a fish pond if it's just for some recreation and catching some fish is all that you want. And that is exactly what a lot of pond owners want. A place close by to get a hook wet, maybe enjoy a few cool ones and might even catch a fish. Just dump some BG and LMB in there and let them do their thing. This is the low cost way of doing it for those who don't have a lot to spend on their pond. The next step up would be to keep records and try to manage things a little bit. Do some structure, expand, do some habitat enhancement and try to balance things out by adding and/or taking fish out. This is currently where I am at. I know around here where I live there are a lot of farm reservoirs that have some pretty good fishing. And they are not stocked or managed. The fish get in from pumping and runoff from ditches or creeks. But over time the fish have figured out their place. Water levels go up and down all year by a lot. Nature has way of working it out. May not be what a person wants so they do their thing with management. Now the pond owners who wish to have record size fish should do what the experts say and start out with proper stocking and strategies. It's no doubt that proper stocking, close management, aeration and feeding will yield a lot bigger and healthier fish. But you will have to commit a lot of time and money to get to that point and that's OK if that is your goal. I really admire some of these ponds and fish caught out of them. Some really nice places that took lots of time, money and effort to get to that point. And it takes constant management to keep it that way. So like the experts on here always say, "What are your goals" that is the first thing to do with your pond then act accordingly. This forum is a great place to start with all the knowledgeable people here. The next step is to subscribe to the Pond Boss Magazine. It's on my Christmas list so I look forward to my first copy. Then get out there and work your pond and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Thank You to all the great people here that has made this such a great resource.
_________________________
Nothing like seeing your bobber bobbing.
1 acre pond with LMB BG GSF BH CC and whatever else I can find
Not after trophies I just like catching and eating fish
Buddy R Hill

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#499559 - 12/10/18 02:48 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
Matzilla Offline


Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 348
Loc: Iowa
I feed on my pond as often as we can...we use Sportsmans Choice feed, however, which is cheap and not the best choice (no pun) out there. I feed mostly for piece of mind - I'm sure it does help a bit to the fish who choose to feed. My sons took over the feeding chores this year and enjoyed it quite a bit. I enjoy watching the fish feed and making the hike down there when I can.

If you are looking to get the most out of the fish on your pond or would simply enjoy seeing your fish more often - then feeding is a no brain'er. It is in no way required, however.

My pond also has an extremely excellent food base for all fish living in it - from larva and insects to crawfish and YOY.


Edited by Matzilla (12/10/18 02:49 PM)
_________________________
Mat Peirce
1.25 acre southeast Iowa pond
LMB, BG, YP, WE, HSB, RES, BCP

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#499570 - 12/10/18 10:28 PM Re: Non fed ponds [Re: bigpullerman]
4CornersPuddle Offline


Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 252
Loc: southwest Colorado
bigpullerman, wonderful post. Thanks for putting all those slow day thoughts into words.
Our mutt ponds have their own charm. We get to play around, experiment in a laid-back way, try things and watch for results. The unexpected variety in the watching, feeding and the fishing offers its own rewards I believe.

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