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Ok the posts that involved a somewhat similar topic were erased when pond boss switched servers so i will try again.

Here's my theory, i understand that the more protein fish have the faster they grow. So instead of feeding the 32% protein for 15 minutes, feed the 41% protein (or higher) in what Meadowlark likes to call a 5 minute frenzy. This in theory should help growth, cut down costs fo feed, and make fish more apt to feed on natural forage. Therefore, making them easier to catch.

The question is though, is 41% protein enough to keep the same growth rates?

Do you think the fish would grow just as fast, or slower? And if slower how much slower?

What are your thoughts on this subject?

P.S. I will be gone up to my pond for a couple days . Will try to be back soon

Thanks - Jighead

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jighead I hope others respond to this question. I could not respond to your other question b/c linked to old server i guess. Do what you will, some food will help growth. I think the fish might eat less if fed higher protein??

We manage about 50 ponds with feeders. IMHO I disagree with many folks here on this subject. The fish are healthier than ever and seem to bite more agressively than prior to supplemental feeding program.

I have a much larger data base to pull from other than just a pondowner with one pond. I have not been the pond of many folks here but feel fish are not biting for other reaons rather than "feeding too much". I agree I like the food gone in 5-10 mins not 15 mins. I also agree feeding program not cheap, but how much did the pond cost, how much are the fish you stock. By feeding you have much better growth rates especially catfish and trout. So your choice I just wanted to stress not everyone thinks feeding too much results in poor fishing success, in fact I think quite the oppostie.


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I believe I could feed the entire bag and the fish would eat it all. I caught a 7 pound CC that looked like it was 9 months pregnant. However, I don't use an automatic feeder. They only get fed when I show up on weekends.

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Greg,

I'm not so sure that we disagree on this as much as you think. We agree on the "15" minute rule, we agree that higher protein probably would make up for some reduction in feeding, and we agree that feeding is not cheap, but isn't bankruptcy either compared to the cost of other pond related things, e.g. construction.

We differ perhaps on the question of feeding and catchability of fish....and yes I don't have 50 ponds, but know when a fish is full it isn't as likely to eat my flies as when it is hungry. I believe the trick is finding the right balance between growth and catchability.

Also, it is likely that I have different objectives than most of your clients. I am striving for a pond eco system that needs no chemicals whatsoever.

I consider algae feed. Yes, algae is feed for LMB and HSB. Crazy? I don't think so.

Tilapia eat copious amounts of algae and produce prolific numbers of offspring which are consumed by the LMB and HSB. I am in effect feeding the LMB algae. As a rancher I really raise grass, not cows. I like to apply that same common sense to Ponds.

I like that system far better than adding fertilizer, then using herbicides to kill the algae and weeds that result from the fertilization and then having huge muck build up problems and DO problems. (and as an aside, artificial feeding adds significantly to that muck also)

I just happen to believe there is a better way. I feed the Tilapia algae, they feed my HSB and LMB. I catch the LMB and HSB. I like that system. It works for me. Maybe it won't work for others....

Jighead, I hope I didn't get too far off topic and that this helps you with your own decisions on managing your pond.

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M-L I agree we are not that far off. I can only dream of using algae as food for bass and agree you are doing that with tiliapia we just can not legally stock in GA or I would. However with our fertilization program we get less fialmentous algae than with lakes that do not get fertilized. Get why?

this leads to next point I disagree about fed adding to algae. If not over fed and consumed by fish and lake build right this may aid in phyto production not algae.

Ok, back to major point. I feel the opposite on fish biting. Most sportfish are oppurtunistic feeders. When fishing ponds which is rare for me working so much I can catch bass that are very skinny b/c of hunger but also in other ponds mgmted right super fat healthy bass. We try to manage for these. WHy do they bite when full? Because they have plenty of energy to chase lure b/c not using up all the enrgy to try to gain weight. So you see two phiolosphies on why they bite. Your point is easy to understand for many mine maybe not so easy but I strongly agree to be true.

On bluegill, I wish you could come to some of clients ponds. Huge bluegill that readily bite about anything that hits the water, fat and ready to hit a fly.


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Greg, I like the fact that you are using 50 lakes from which to develop your opinion. I'm to the point of considering stopping feeding. It's getting to the point that some of the fish won't eat anything but pellets. It's a lot of food value for very little energy expended. I've cut back on feeding greatly and that has helped. I don't care about large size or growth rates which we certainly get with pellets. What is important to me is high catch rates. We have fairly high fishing pressure, all catch and release, and commonly catch the same fish 50 or more times per year. Any thoughts?


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I have huge BG that readily hit flies...I'll match the size of my BG with anyone. I've never complained about BG catchability, never. My complaint is LMB catchability, which is accerbated by excessive artificial feeding of BG (IMHO)

Sorry, my experience with lots of salt water and fresh water predator fish says that when they are full, satisfied, they are less likely to eat than otherwise. If your logic was true, I should feed all fish to satiation before going fishing so that they would have lots of energy to "feed" on my lures. Sorry, Greg just don't buy that one.

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One of the strongest theories that I hold is that catchability is most strongly influenced, not by hunger, but by perceived competition.

In other words, if a fish is full or not, if it can see another fish, especially a small aggressive fish that has the chance to snatch the bait away it will respond by "throwing caution to the wind". This could explain some perceptual differences between catchability and its relationship to satiation.

I've watched it personally many times. A fish comes up to the offering, hesitates, then sees one of his buddies making a move to steal it. The results in a sudden "race" to the prize. I personally don't think that any artificial lures look as good to the fish as we think. I believe that a fish is hard-wired to act more quickly and agressively when there is the threat of losing the opportunity.


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So, Bruce you believe, like Gregg, that predators should be fed in order to give them the energy they need to be caught by us? A full fish is an easier fish to catch, all other things being equal?

Just does not make sense to me, but I have been wrong before and will be again, but I can't wait to tell my friend in Campeche that he needs to feed the Tarpon before we go fishing so that they will have the energy to bite. I suspect that might result in a deserved loud guffaw.

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Grimes:
WHy do they bite when full? Because they have plenty of energy to chase lure b/c not using up all the enrgy to try to gain weight.
I agree with Bruce that predators will bite even when full out of competitive instinct. That wasn't the question, I didn't think. The question is, all other things being equal, do predators bite better when full or hungry or does it make no difference?

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No, actually I don't feed my fish to satiation. I probably give them about 3/4 of what they would comsume. I'm only saying that I don't believe that you can gauge, or predict agressiveness based on satiety. I think ponds are healthier and less ammonia is produced if fish aren't belching up pellets all the time. I believe that ponds with good clarity and good numbers of YOY fish create better fishing because if a fish isn't aggressive to the lure he's outta luck.


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I think satiety is a factor, it's just not the ONLY factor.


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Jighead,

See what you started \:\) I hope you have found these exchanges interesting and helpful to your decisions regarding what feeding approach is best for you. As you can see, there are many facets to an answer to any question about our ponds...its what makes this so much fun to me...I've got to run to get something to eat so I can have the energy to chase my fish later today \:\)

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I agree that bass and other predators often "bite" due to instinct or competitiveness or? We have all caught bass that had the tail of a shad or BG or other forage fish sticking out of their gut. Most lures look nothing like normal prey.

I still don't understand why some gamefish hit everything thrown at them and others never hit a lure. The same killer instinct is there in both types, whether hungry or sated. I doubt that I could catch every bass in a forage free pond. I believe that genetics, as Bruce is trying to work on, plays a role; albeit an imperfectly understood role.

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Meadowlark,

Due to the instincts and aggressive behavior of predators just because a bass strikes a lure or prey doesn't necessarily mean it intended to eat it. If you sight fish for bass on spawning beds (right, wrong, or indifferent) many times a bass will aggressively hit, peck and even move a lure or prey item with no intent of eating it. It may aggressively strike at a rattle trap or buzz bait because it just buzzed by it's face 10 times, it got mad. It would be hard to remain at the top of any food chain without showing some aggressiveness or being a bully. It's like a bear that just was just fed 20 lbs of doughnuts at a park. It may not be hungry but if you go out there and poke it enough, it'll attack. I believe that's the point everyone is trying to make.

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Great topic, thanks Jighead.

There are a number of reasons , I think , that fish eat/bite or don't. As Dave noted many { I think probably all} are based on genetics. They are hard wired with many traits that we don't know or understand and can only guess at how the traits interact. Some are safety , hunger , dominance , competitiveness , reproduction , and others. Their method of perception is by sences we do not fully understand in fish. Sight , hearing , lateral line , taste etc. For example we don't know all the range of sight that fish have . Can they see a range of light that we can't { UV or IR }?

All of these traits and sences merge into one fish and each can take pirority under different circumstances. For example there may be 5 LMB in a small area all about 10 in. except one that is 22 in.. Even though the small ones are hungry and would eat your lure they may not try because of safety concerns. If one attacks and the big fish does not respond then all may go after the lure out of competition. The big fish might out of anger {dominance] hit your lure because the lure along with the other small bass in its area were just to much.

If you catch nothing in the area you may think it is lack of aggressive fish or they are full, if you catch one of the small LMB it is because the big ones are not catchable , and if you catch the big one it is because you are a great pond mgr. and fisherman. LOL. In reality none of those assumptions would be correct.

I read a study {will post if I can find} that concluded that in a pond with BG/RE and LMB that a large % of LMB { ? 50 %} will never bite a lure , that another 25 % might bite a lure under the right circumstances , and that 25% would bite a lure and would do so repeatedly. It did not say why this was so probably because there were to many reasons and not enough answers.

I think all of the posts above have truth in them but no one answer explains the total relationship. One thing is clear , there is much we do not know and need to learn . ewest
















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green head,

I was attempting (perhaps poorly) to focus the discussion on a "full" predator vs a "not so full" predator, to address the original question regarding amounts to feed on this thread.

Certainly there are many factors, spawning, competition, and genetics perhaps being the foremost among them, that influence the decision to eat or not. The thread, however, was about feeding artificially, not those other factors.

A common engineering approach to answering a question is to isolate only on the variable directly involved in the question. Thats what I meant by "all other things being equal".

If you could take all the other variables out of the equation, e.g. genetics, etc. is a "full" predator more likely to bite lures than a "not so full" predator? Does a "full" predator bite lures better than a "not so full predator" becasue it has more energy from being fed as Greg stated?

Maybe what you guys are saying is that it is impossible for you to take the other variables out of the equation and I can accept that. But I simply can't accept that, all other things being equal, a "full" predator will bite lures better than a "not so full" predator because it has more energy from the artificial food. Nope, just don't buy that. Don't shoot me, but I just don't buy it.

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I think the difference of opinions is based more on the variables not being stricktly defined. To me a "full" fish means he is stuffed with food, natural or other wise. To me this fish will be less motivated to hit a lure due to hunger. A well fed fish (not completely stuffed) will be healthy and have energy and motivation to feed more. A hungry fish ( lack of nutrition) will probably want to feed but might not have the energy to chase food, or compete with other healthier specimens. Now that being said, hunger is only one of several factors that cause fish to hit lures. Curiosity, reflex reaction to fleeing prey, territorialness (is that a word?), and competition are other factors that cause fish to "strike" not necessarily eat a lure. Just my $.02
Very interesting topic guys keep it up!!!

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Outstanding discussion! Thanks to all. I just may pass on fishing tomorrow and re-read this thread several times.

And only 2,100 of us have access to this great information. The rest of the "average Joes" will have to just stumble along blindly.

Dang, I love this site........ \:D

Dan


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Looks like I stirred up a hornets nest. Ok M-L if you read my post I never said they bite better when full. I just gave example of catching them when skinny and when full and healthy. I understand your point and my answer is I do not know which will bite better.

THis brings me to my point...I as a pond manager I try to grow as many pounds and as many large bass as I can for a client concerned with these goals. So do I slow down feeding b/c I think they will can catch more fish? No way. Norm not sure on this you might be right about better catches when not feeding. Feeders going off and fish feeding like crazy seems to have little effect on catchability. THus I do it to promote better growth on bluegill and thus better growth on bass.

I think most of my clients have private ponds with little fishing pressure. This I beleive to be the #1 reason for catchability.

So if fishing pressure is #1 then why not try to grow as many as you can this means fertilizing if low fertility right conditions, as many forage species as conditions warrant, and supplemental feeding.

Sorry Jighead this is so far off topic maybe we should put this under another thread?


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I don't believe fish feel hunger in the sense we relate to it. A fish's reaction to a lure, forage or fish food is predetermined by instinct.
I don't think a fish knows it is hungry. The same as it doesn't know it is stunted.
However, I agree with Greg in that a big fat preditor is more likely to be agressive.
I don't have alot of ponds to base this on but I do have quite a few years of fishing to reflect on & the big (full?) bass always hit harder than the skinny (hungry?) ones.

ML,
Your approach to feeding your bass is what most pond owners would like to achieve. I commend you & hope to mimic it. A somewhat self sustaining ecosystem. Some people though enjoy seeing their fish come to feed.
Will it make a difference whether the bass are full from eating pellets or tilapia?


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If I am not mistaken, that was a popular diet plan, Atkins?, until a few months ago, eat all the protein you want and cut out the carbs. Didn’t work for people, but who knows with fish.
Some tilapia are being breed to be kinder, gentler fish, so that they are easier to handle at harvest. Also, stripped bass were fed diets containing fish oil and were able to live and breed in northern climates. So maybe diet alone is not an answer, need to add in genetics as well if you want big fish that bite..
I do know that immediately after feeding my fish, they are easier to catch, I know these fish are not “full”, they certainly are fat. I think they are not unlike the double breasted cormorant, they will only stop eating to rest.


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Let's break down Jighead's original question.

He initially makes the supposition that feeding higher protein feed for a shorter period of time will cut down on feed costs, improve growth, improve utilization of natural food sources and improve catchability.

My answer to Jighead would be that growth rates would be influenced only to the extent that additional natural forage is indeed available for the number of fish that he has to take the place of the calories now unavailable to the fish through pellet feeding. Feeding five minutes instead of fifteen means that the fish will receive approximate 33% as much feed but with about 25-30% more protein.

.33 X 1.25 = .4125

This means he is artificially supplying about 41% as much protein. If he has increased his fish biomass in his pond through a previous feeding program, then these fish will need to look elsewhere to fill their bellies. If there is additional food available, and the additional calories burned by the fish pursuing and capturing this food source is also replaced, then growth rates will be comparable to what he had before.

Furthermore, he believes that the catchability will improve by using this feeding method. I think that the discussion since his original post has somewhat addressed this but ultimately it depends on the species, individual makeup of the fish, time of year, and a myriad of other factors. The best way to answer the question would ultimately be to try the new method and keep logs of how catch rates improve, or worsen.

My guess is that growth rates will initially slow and that the overall pond biomass will adjust to the new feedings. I also believe that the fish will be very agressive immediately after these "teaser" feedings, making the fish easier to catch for a while. How the pond's fishability adjusts after this change will depend on continued availability of natural forage and whether or not the same number of fish remain in the pond.


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I agree with Bruce in part, total calories are a bigger issue than protein alone. Protein, fat and carbohydrates all convert to calories.
But, I believe that the answer to the question lies more in a bell curve than a straight line equation. 10% eat most of the food, 10% eat the least and the other 80% somewhere in the middle. So that no matter what you fed them, them meaning any or all fish, they would wind up proportionally the same. The bigger, stronger just get more, regardless of how much you feed, or don’t, or what natural food is available.
I have 100 fish of the same species, all were approximately 1 1/2” long when I got them. Now they range from 6” to 11”, per my fishing log, thanks for that idea Theo . I watch them eat almost every day, the aggressive get to the food first, then a bunch just at the edge of the gluttony and finally the timid hanging around picking up scraps. The big guys come to the surface, mouths open, vacuuming the pellets, not one at a time, but three or four, the timid dart to a stray piece and quickly snatch it and run. But, I believe that Darwin has already cornered the market on this type of heresy.


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I had been trying to use pellets for my bg's, most of whom appears to be in the 4" range for months. Few would try it and it seemed like a decent portion would spit it back out.

So I decided to try bread. They are killing the bread and producing the "boiling water" effect. I am still tossing the pellets in for the huge catfish and the grass carp. The turtles also eat the pellets.

Is feeding the fish with bread bad? It appears as though some are taking the pellets after is gets soggy when they finish the bread.


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