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My new pond has just been completed and full today Dec 18th. I plan on stocking rainbows in the spring and plan on feeding pellets. When i called PENN STATE extension to inquire about other food they said No to minnows as they are forage fish!!!! 🤔 Ok then what will my trout eat during the winter? If my ponds frozen over. To me thats like throwing a 30lb hog in a new barn in dec and not feeding it and expecting it to be 70 lbs in the spring. Can anyone clarify this for me? I know the pond will generate natural food on its own but being so new i thought it might not be up to speed during that first winter.

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I don't feed my trout in my trout pond pellets when it ices over and they come out of the winter just fine. They may not gain weight but they don't appear to have lost any either. Keep in mind they are not mammals but poikilothermic which means even trout at low temps have a much reduced metabolism and need for calories. Allegedly they don't grow in water below 41 F. and can live on their fat reserves.

There is not enough natural feed in the winter in my 1/10th acre trout pond ( no minnows) for up to 500 lbs. of trout either.

Did they say why no minnows? I'm guessing disease intro concerns?


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Yes they said they would compete with the trout for the natural food the pond produces, like vegetation etc

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In think you'll be disappointed in the survival and growth of your trout if you don't feed them an artificial feed during optimum temps. I had four brook trout over 6 lbs. last year. Would never have happened on natural feed. And they were only three year old fish.

I've also grown browns to 12 lbs., and bows to just under 10 lbs. Won't happen in a pond on natural feed.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 12/19/15 12:06 AM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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The trout will also feed on invertebrates in the bottom sediment of the pond, but I sure would feel better putting minnows (fatheads) in the pond.

Cecil, I can see why the OP shouldn't stock Golden Shiners, but what's your feeling about Fathead Minnows in the trout pond?

Another option, is that if you are aerating during the winter, you can throw feed into the open water that is made by the aerator.

Cecil, haven't you fed your trout through the ice before?


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Cecil, i think you misunderstood me, I plan on feeding my trout pellets daily. My worries about minnows were that i was thinking when my pond froze over during winter what would the trout have to eat. By the sounds of it mother nature will provide and i shouldnt worry about it.Im i correct?

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Originally Posted By: esshup
The trout will also feed on invertebrates in the bottom sediment of the pond, but I sure would feel better putting minnows (fatheads) in the pond.

Cecil, I can see why the OP shouldn't stock Golden Shiners, but what's your feeling about Fathead Minnows in the trout pond?


The only concern I would have is bringing in a pathogen or parasites.

Originally Posted By: esshup
Another option, is that if you are aerating during the winter, you can throw feed into the open water that is made by the aerator.

Cecil, haven't you fed your trout through the ice before?


I have done the above but have precluded it during severe winters and had no issues after ice out. When I did feed them it was once a week at most and during a mild winter.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 12/19/15 11:04 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Originally Posted By: Bob-in-PA
Cecil, i think you misunderstood me, I plan on feeding my trout pellets daily. My worries about minnows were that i was thinking when my pond froze over during winter what would the trout have to eat. By the sounds of it mother nature will provide and i shouldnt worry about it.Im i correct?


Yep misunderstood!

Correct they will do fine in winter as long as there are no oxygen issues.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Originally Posted By: esshup
The trout will also feed on invertebrates in the bottom sediment of the pond, but I sure would feel better putting minnows (fatheads) in the pond.

...


+1 I would probably throw in some FHM as well, especially since it's a new pond with limited invertebrates to see them thru the first winter under the ice.

Last edited by Bill D.; 12/20/15 11:16 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Cecil Baird1
In think you'll be disappointed in the survival and growth of your trout if you don't feed them an artificial feed during optimum temps. I had four brook trout over 6 lbs. last year. Would never have happened on natural feed. And they were only three year old fish.

I've also grown browns to 12 lbs., and bows to just under 10 lbs. Won't happen in a pond on natural feed.


Man have I got to pick your brain on how to feed my fish correctly.


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Originally Posted By: DonoBBD
Originally Posted By: Cecil Baird1
In think you'll be disappointed in the survival and growth of your trout if you don't feed them an artificial feed during optimum temps. I had four brook trout over 6 lbs. last year. Would never have happened on natural feed. And they were only three year old fish.

I've also grown browns to 12 lbs., and bows to just under 10 lbs. Won't happen in a pond on natural feed.


Man have I got to pick your brain on how to feed my fish correctly.


Don,

I might not be the right person to ask. I think I overfed my fish even though I only fed them once a day vs. the recommended twice a day. In my defense I think the feed I was using had too many carbs in it (Aquamax).

As you can see these brookies were on the tubby side.




Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 12/20/15 04:34 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Yeah Dono, who would wanna raise such obese fish as those?


Do nature a favor, spay/neuter your pets and any weird friends or relatives.
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wow, Those are some pretty impressive fish Cecil.

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Originally Posted By: Bob-in-PA
wow, Those are some pretty impressive fish Cecil.


Impressive growth rates yes but most likely they had fatty livers shortening their lifespans. I had some dying off at three years of age and even scooped some up that were swimming erratically. I would have liked to keep them another year but not sure they would have made it.

I can't say for sure they had fatty livers as I was reluctant to cut any open and lose money. I was getting up to $120.00 for the biggest brooks.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 12/20/15 10:08 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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The other impressive thing is the brook trout pictured above raised by Cecil came out of a 0.1 ac well water pond. Cecil has growing big trout in a small pond developed into a science and art form.


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Trout seem to do very well on brine shrimp over the winter in some WY lakes, which suggests to me you might look at crustaceans to help establish a forage base in your new pond. I think scuds do well during the winter. I don't know what Daphnia and the various species of shrimp (other than brine shrimp) do, but there probably are people on the forum who know such things.

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I better do something about the minnows in mine then. I've got about a trillion fatheads in there and probably a longer winter than anyone else.

Last edited by wbuffetjr; 01/20/16 05:23 AM.

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Where I did get my crayfish from was a trout farm and they were trapped from his grow out pond with two traps. There was easy 100+ in the two traps as well as fathead minnows.

He was pellet feeding his trout as well and everything seemed to be doing quite well.

Cheers Don.


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Cecil,

Do you mind telling what the food chain is in your pond, and do you think that's important, or do you think the commercial food is about all that counts?

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Originally Posted By: wbuffetjr
I better do something about the minnows in mine then. I've got about a trillion fatheads in there and probably a longer winter than anyone else.


I wouldn't mess with the minnows.

The reason minnows are discouraged in a trout pond is the possibilty of introducing pathogens and possible competition with the smaller trout, as studies have show trout don't really go after fish until they reach about 16 inches. That said with fatheads being slow moving they may go after them sooner.

From my experience, and what I've read, if your fish aren't stressed even the introduction of fish with pathogens or parasites won't mean they will automatically get sick or develop serious parasite issues. A lot of the pathogens out there are ubiquitous to our waters and don't become a problem unless the fish are stressed.


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Originally Posted By: Turtlemtn
Cecil,

Do you mind telling what the food chain is in your pond, and do you think that's important, or do you think the commercial food is about all that counts?


In my trout pond it's 99.9 percent commercial pellets that create the growth. With up to 500 lbs. of trout in a little 1/10th acre pond there's no way any natural feed could be enough.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Cecil and others have learned if you want to grow more fish than the natural fertility your pond can produce, then adding fish pellets can fairly easily and simply allow you to grow more fish and larger fish. Relying solely on using natural foods, limits the carrying capacity of prey fish and predator to the fertility of the natural system which in many cases can produce less than expected or desired results to few fish or an unbalanced community. Increasing the natural fertility using fertilization for decent results can be tricky, require knowledge, and it can often cause unintended problems when performed improperly.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/20/16 11:54 AM.

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For me, managing the pond can be as much fun as catching the fish. And it's something I can engage in year round. My old pond didn't require any managing, but this pond is much different, and a challenge that I'm enjoying. I like to feed, but it's as much because I enjoy watching the fish as because I'm looking for more pounds per acre. Everyone has his or her own thing, and there are endless ways of enjoying and benefiting from ponds. The exchange of ideas and knowledge on this forum is great.


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