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#502808 - 03/08/19 12:22 AM Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start
Nathan&Kelly Offline


Registered: 02/28/19
Posts: 9
Loc: St Louis, MO
Hey guys, I need some guidance. After several recommendations from PB members Iíve decided to buy a TX Hunter (pick it up tomorrow) and start feedifg once my water temps get up around 60 degrees. The pond is 4.5 acres, is 50+ years old and ranges from 14í to 4í in depth. It has Crappie, Spotted/Kentucky bass, channel cats and BG that I know of. However none of these fish have ever been feed trained. Whatís the best way to introduce a feeding program/ schedule?

On another note. What are your recommendations on feed brands too? Iíve been reading and some threads say only Optima. Others are saying Aquamax or Cargil even saw a few saying they liked tractor supply fish chow. My goals are to have as big of bass and Crappie as I can.

Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts.

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#502810 - 03/08/19 03:00 AM Old Pond never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 216
Loc: NW Kansas
Not sure I'm qualified to answer-but I will..
For something such as what you have I would think Purina or Optimal, (I have high hopes for Optimal myself) both have many blends available use something in a size that can be utilized by all..
Optimal Pond bass or Bluegill, Purina AM500 or 600.
You can get pretty specific but I think supplying the BG/Crappie, etc., will find it's way up the food chain, directly (consumed) or indirectly (Bass consuming species that are eating it)and so on.
I've read a lot on Optimal, I've also talked to their people..I feel they are looking to provide the very best product every day, I just received my first batch of Optimal today, right on my door step 2 days after it was shipped.
I'd start with a very low amount once a day, evening or morning.
Use a floating product so you can see when the activity starts.
When you see fish starting to utilize the food, don't increase until you can see they are eating most of it. I'd think after 5-7 days you'll start seeing activity of some sort. When they appear to be eating everything, start feeding the opposite time of day a second time that you started with. If you started in the mornings, when they are actively feeding start an evening feeding at the same rate. When you see they are feeding at both times and cleaning up the feed in 5-10 min, start increasing amounts of feed slowly like maybe every 3-5 days until you see feed still floating after say 15 min. At this point, back off time of feed flow just a hair and see how it goes.
The Cats will eat anything you throw out in most cases so watch as close as possible to whats utilizing the feed.
My 2 cents!


Edited by Snipe (03/08/19 03:07 AM)
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#502812 - 03/08/19 07:02 AM Re: Old Pond never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13737
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I use Optimal, Al Hall uses Cargill and Lusk uses Purina. We all raise big bluegills.

The only thing available in my area is Purina. The problem is that it is sometimes old. A bunch of us get together to have Optimal shipped in to our area.
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#502814 - 03/08/19 08:04 AM Re: Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5401
Loc: SE Kansas
I feed both Optimal and Aquamax. In the past I would also feed some of the lower protein feed from Tractor supply. Sometimes they had Sportsman Choice (Cargill)36% and sometimes Purena at 32%. I would feed these if I had run out of the higher quality Purena Aquamax and could not get any more in a timely fashion. In the beginning I actually fed catfish chow (it was all I knew about and available) then transitioned to the TSC sportfish feed and ultimately to Aquamax once I learned more about the quality of fish food.

The fish feeds at Tractor Supply are far superior than no feed at all and BG will grow well on it. I consider it more of a recreational supplimental feed. If you are serious about fish growth (and considering you bought a premium feeder I suspect you are) I would skip the cheaper, lower protein feed from TSC and get either Optimal or Purena Aquamax or whatever high protein Cargill equivalent there is.

Be mindful that if you feed you inceease the standing crop of fish. More pounds of fish in the same water equals the need for a higher management level. Aereation and or more harvest should be considered. The more you push the pond with higher production, the greater chance for a fish kill if you do not also consider the water quality and the pounds of fish the pond will ultimately support through varying seasons and conditions. Pouring the feed to them without considering the other living conditions the fish are in is like feeding out a hundred hogs in a pen only designed to handle 50.

You can start throwing out a handfull of feed around the feeder once the water temperature gets to 55 on sunny days to get the fish interested. See if you get any takers.


Edited by snrub (03/08/19 08:17 AM)
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#502820 - 03/08/19 10:33 AM Re: Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 972
Loc: West Central Missouri
I do not know anything about the TH feeders, but wanted to warn you that the lowest setting may throw out too much food to get things started. Hopefully I am wrong, but my simple deer feeder that I use for the fish will only go down to a 1 second throw and that would have been way too much at first. I hand tossed feed (a closed fist full) every day within a 1/2 hour of 5pm until the fish developed the habit. IIRC, it took about 2 or 3 weeks before it was a daily occurrence that they showed up. Before too long (a few more weeks) my lowest feeder setting was all being consumed in 20 minutes. Sidenote: my fish where all stocked a few weeks prior to feeding and were fed trained from the fishery.

Consequences of over-feeding for a few weeks are probably minimal, depending. Excess nutrients for FA growth and the waste of feed are two that pop into mind.

I used Optimal last year with excellent results...

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=38025&Number=494998#Post494998


Edited by Quarter Acre (03/08/19 10:42 AM)
Edit Reason: added food preference
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#502822 - 03/08/19 11:10 AM Re: Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
Nathan&Kelly Offline


Registered: 02/28/19
Posts: 9
Loc: St Louis, MO
Good point. With none of mine being feed trained Iím curious as to how long it will take then to get onboard. Iím building a home there (break ground in 2 weeks) but wonít be there to hand feed to start. If I start the feedings in the AM once per day for the lowest setting am I likely to have any massive negative impact on a 4.5 acre lake if they are slow to eat it from weekend to weekend?

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#502825 - 03/08/19 12:06 PM Re: Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 972
Loc: West Central Missouri
I pretty sure that you will be fine if a few weeks of uneaten food get put in. It really depends on how little food the feeder throws at it's lowest setting. I am no feeding expert, but I would set it at it's lowest setting and see if it is about a handful (about a 1/10th pound) of feed that comes out. That simulates minor hand feeding. Then, check them out the next week to see if fish are eating. If so, adjust the feeder to throw as much as they will eat in 15 to 20 minutes. If not, leave it on the lower setting.

I would also consider setting it to feed in the evening instead of the morning. It was my experience that my fish fed better during the spring in the warmer/brighter evening hours when compared to the morning times. YMMV (your mileage may vary).

I don't know when you will be there full time, but I can say that spring feeding is less energetic and waiting until summer may speed up the habit forming process. Just in case your feeder throws more food than you think necessary.
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#502845 - 03/08/19 05:04 PM Re: Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 216
Loc: NW Kansas
N&K, when I had finished my pond last summer, I went to one of my closer lakes and caught 10 CC to stock for Tiger salamander larval control (we have tons and they eat little fish to 4").
2 months later I stocked my SMB, YP and RES. I started throwing some feed to see if I got any response from anything, I had planned on going 2 weeks and if nothing showed up I'd stop. On the second night I had a couple of the CC coming to feed-these were wild fish, not reared. After 5 nights it looked as though all 10 cats stocked were showing up. After 3 weeks I stopped because I never did see any of the others come in but YP, SMB and RES are not often quick takers without being feed trained in the hatchery.
My point is it may take some time but I think there will be some fish learn to utilize your offerings.
Fish are receptive to a "repeatable" situation especially when it comes to food.
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#502861 - 03/09/19 08:20 AM Re: Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5401
Loc: SE Kansas
BG will find the feed, especially with a feeder where it is consistent in its location and timing. No "training" necessary. They will train themselves. CC will also find it, even if it sinks and hits the bottom. Especially if it hits the bottom.

Occasionally I will have the wind blow some to shore. Just before dusk I will see a half dozen or more CC with their heads out of the water right along the edge of the bank getting the feed right at water surface level. Look like little pigs rooting around the shore line. I mostly see the 2# size class doing this. I have multiple generations from fingerlings to 6#.

CC have incredible sense of smell. If it is edible and falls to the bottom, the CC will find it.


Edited by snrub (03/09/19 08:24 AM)
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#502863 - 03/09/19 08:52 AM Re: Old Pond thatís never been fed. How should I start [Re: Nathan&Kelly]
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 1138
Loc: Deep East Texas
You might make a feeding circle out of pvc pipe and toss feed in it. It will allow you to Train in one area and keep uneaten food from blowing to the bank. I placed mine out in about 4-5 foot of water and just weighted it in place with trotline string and some homemade weights. Bluegill learn fast and if fed in the same area each time others will follow. Then you won't need the feeding circle.
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