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I've looked back a few pages and am not seeing much specific to feeding YP. I'll purchase whatever food is recommended, I have several stores within 100mi (most Purina)..
I like the "idea" of floating but that may not be best for RES or YP, I'm guessing??
Suggestions?

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fathead minnows, shiners, crawfish pretty much anything that has meat on it. When I was a kid I used to catch them on worms and even small pieces of hotdogs.

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adr, I guess I was referring more to supplemental type feeding.. Pond is full of FHM and crawfish and I just stocked brooder GSH a few weeks back also.
I guess I'm wondering about float or sink pellet..

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Until fall of 2017, the YP in my pond did not come to the surface for supplemental feed. Neither did the BG nor GSF. I had been hand feeding AM 600 and Skretting for a few years.

I switched over to floating Optimal BG fall of 2017. The trout made the change immediately. Soon, both GSF and YP were coming up. Of course, I quit feeding when the water got cold.

This spring everyone bellied up to the feed trough. Trout are really splashy feeders. GSF ease up, study the pellet, then rise to it and dart away. YP come up from a couple of feet below the pellet and hit it with a splash and a turn back down.

A few small LMB and BCP fed with everyone else, too. The big grass carp hoovered in what they could.

I'd try Optimal BG. Maybe hydrate it for a few weeks for the perch. They will figure it out in time.

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From experience of many members here, you won't get many RES to eat pellets unless they are pellet trained as young fish (DIY) or you buy them pellet trained. RES like YP are bottom oriented fish and are inherently hesitant to rise to the surface for food items. It is not in their instinct like that of bass and BG.

Unless the YP are pellet trained when you bought them it is fairly difficult to get these close to the bottom oriented fish to rise to the surface for pellets. However pellet trained stocker YP will have a high percentage of the stockers fairly quickly find the feeding area and rise to the pellets. In a new pond setting the new YP will often follow other fish to the feeding area and respond to the pellets.

I am still working on finding the best pellet feed to promote longevity for pellet feeding perch. Many perch growers use Aquamax or Zeigler because it is readily available in the Midwest. The perch grow fast to large sizes with these feeds but they die prematurely when 5-6 years old. Common current feeds used for YP have protein around 40-42% and fat content 10%-12%. I think the fat levels are too high for long lived perch. This summer I am going to test feeding a pellet with 44% protein & 8% fat; a low fat and nutrient rich formulation designed to increase longevity

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I'd be extremely interested in the results of that Mr. Cody. I'd prefer a closer to more "natural" lifespan, and probably like everyone else, I want the cake and eat it too.. Just want to ensure growth continues and there are no "dead spots".
One of the things I noticed during my net samples was my redear were pretty close to 100% WR for the ave size sampled but low WR for those fish sampled larger than ave. My YP were similar, but data for YP WR came from NE charts and WR chart for RES was SE KS so just needed to establish a baseline.

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http://www.melickaquafeed.com/index.html

I use the 40/10 floating 7.5 pellets and have good luck with my YP.

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Bill, Are you testing the YP feed you mentioned above? Any initial thoughts?

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Originally Posted By: lmoore
Bill, Are you testing the YP feed you mentioned above? Any initial thoughts?

Interested here as well, Bill.

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The pellet feeding test is progressing as noted above. Both control and test YP are feeding well. From just a visual perspective the YP eating the Optimal bass food (44%) appear more "bulky" than those eating Zeigler pellets (Silver 40%). Physical and body chemistry tests will be conducted on both sets of perch this pre-winter.


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Bill,

Any updates on this feeding test? I am back in search of a fish food for my perch pond due to my current source, Mellick Feeds having suffered a fire at their production facility. They are not able to supply food this year and I am down to my last bag of pellets. While searching for what I want I found this thread.

I would have bought a 1/4 ton of the Mellick food had it still been available. My perch eat it readily and eagerly, pond was stocked in 2009 and is a perch only pond, still producing good fish annually.

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Joe,
My perch attack the Optimal brand fish food like it is their last meal before meeting their demise. They are not fussy on pellet size, just love the taste. I think optimal fish food has mastered the art of finding the right ingredients and the correct way the oil and smell dissipates from the pellet after it starts getting wet in the water. The nice thing is that they have lots of choices and ship rapidly to your door for no extra cost. Go to their webpage and give them a try.

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Optimal will provide discounts for 1/2 and full pallets of food. Consider sharing a pallet of food with another pond owner/s as Chris Steelman does in Texas. Contact Optimal for pricing and shipping. They have a warehouse I think in eastern Ohio. My second choice would be contact the nearest trout farm / producer and try and get some of his food. they could be using Zeigler feed which is made in PA. Trout farm should work with you. You could buy two sizes for small to large perch. The other acceptable food is a Purina Sportfish or their Sportfish MVP (multivariable pellet) several sizes for small and large perch. Contact your local Purina retailer. You can visit PurinaMills.com/fish-and-aquatics-feed.

Where did you buy your perch?? . They may have some larger pellets that they feed their brood stock perch.

Optimal feeding test is still in progress. Optimal staff evidently wants to have the feeding test progress longer than one year. I am starting the 2nd year for the study and perch are still doing well. I do not sample them because there are not a lot of the all females in the pond and I don't want to make them hook smart so I can easily collect them at the study completion. There were eggs present this spring in the test pond but the ones I looked at were not fertilized.

I thought I would be loosing some of the test perch due to an otter visiting late last year. Evidently it did not find hunting successful since perch stay deep in the ponds. Otter moved about 1.5 mile away where hunting was better in a bass pond.

Let us know what your progress is with finding a pellet supply. You should have some nice sized perch at this point after raising them for 10 years. How they doing for sizes?

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I may give the optimal a try but my fish feed very pronounced and are not first year feed trained fish, after 11 years of hand feeding and harvest, I doubt you will make them do tricks just by changing foods. It is probably safe to say that all my original stocked fish have been eaten by harvest, hazards, or herons. The guy I bought my fish from locally was a Mellick customer, and for good reason, it was reasonable cost and good quality. I got 600 lbs last year for under $500 including shipping, $.83/lb to my door. I know, times change, things cost money, but I use to work in sales and have a degree in engineering, I analyze everything, probably too much at times.

I have fed Purina grower 600 and the Mellick 40/10 in a 7.5 mm size, I like the bigger pellets but Optimal doesn't list 6-7 mm size it jumps up to 9 mm, I know by stomach content checking my 5 -6 inch perch eat 7.5 mm pellets. I worry the 9mm are too small and the 3.5 I know are not what I want to try to hand throw, which is how I feed, 2 times a day. I'm looking back at the Purina but the local supplier was difficult to deal with, tractor supply can order it but they are trying to figure it all out. I may buy a couple different feeds and see what me and my fish find most favorable.

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Bill we are getting some nice sized fish to eat, we have stuck to a slot harvest (8-12 inch size) with very few exceptions and leave the very largest in the pond to be the predators and crop YOY. I can't find the picture of it but we found a 16 incher dead this spring, and we have landed multiple 15 inch plus fish. It is usually very difficult to catch larger fish during the day, but at dawn and dusk they feed pretty heavily and are much easier to catch. I suspect they are too used to feeding and laying about all day, as well as eating fry.

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Joe G,
IF you work with Optimal and feel strongly that a certain pellet size is the best for adult perch, they will probably work with you. They can extrude at various sizes and would love to learn why one pellet size makes a difference. For me, I bought two sizes and mix them. I also from time to time half-crush (not very scientific) so I have some smaller sizes, smaller fragments and even better yet some 'pellet dust' to throw out for the smaller size fish. You can easily make the larger optimal into a smaller size, or you can presoak the largest pellets and they will be easy to slurp.

I don't know if you can answer this but how many of the pellets are being attacked at the surface by YP and how many of the YP are hanging out a few feet down to suck up the sinking ones? In conditions where there is more daylight left I see less YP splash at the surface but I can't tell how many of the pellets ever hit the bottom.

To me in a very unscientific way, the taste, smell, or oil content of the optimal is like a magnet. The fish not only come to the surface and clean up more readily, they attack it with much more ardor and vengeance compared to the other brands I used to use (skretting and Tractor supply no name cheap pellets). I'm not sure what that oil film is that makes them go crazy but it is the real deal...

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Do you know what brand of feed your perch supplier is now using? Maybe you and him could place some sort of order together? I feed all 7"+ perch the Optimal bass pellet. This is my test feed that I am using. Some of this bass pellet has been 6-8.5mm, the current bag that I have has this smaller bass pellet. I and my adult perch prefer the 9mm size. Optimal tells me the juvenile perch do well on the bluegill pellet they make.

My perch feed best at the surface just before dark right now this is 9pm for me in west Ohio. I am feeding Zeigler 1/4" Silver in my other test control pond. My perch now until the water gets 76F will splash water on the dock as they feed. I have several pond owners who have perch are calling their YP piranha when they feed. I have seen YP also feed very aggressively at the surface on the Purina Aquamax 600.

Your top end size perch matches what I have been seeing in most of the local perch ponds. We are still trying to get that 17" perch. Hopefully the Optimal feed will allow the YP to live long enough to reach that size.

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Canyon don't let me fool you into thinking I am some deep thinker, just an educated skeptic at best, I appreciate your comments too. I am not sure much of my feed ever gets to sink, it is a splashing, slurping, free for all sort of deal when I throw it. I have also seen it blown along shore the next day if it was too windy or I made a bad throw, which happens. They go after it quickly and consume it all then all at once when the pellets are gone they splashing quits. I I have seen the aggressive feeding behavior with Mellick and Aquamax both. It is most pronounced on the colder water temperature side of things as Bill mentions and by July/August things slow down for a period then ramp up as the water cools in the fall. I think the larger fish tend to move deeper in warmer water temps too making them less active on feed. I also think that natural food supplies balloon at this time causing less active feeding, I have no science to back that up though.

Thanks for the input as well Bill, I will reach out to my fish guy today on the feed. He seems more focused on Koi, HSB and HBG but it can't hurt to see what he is using for feed since this became an issue. If I never thanked you before I surely can't thank you enough for your help when I put many of these puzzle pieces together with regard to my pond. I have not seen many but there are still FHM reproducing in this pond as well, 12 years this August is when I put them in, a season ahead of the perch and they are still here too.

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I’m feeding my YP Optimal BG feed. They clean it up in seconds. Along with the HBG. Cleaned several YP a week ago. All were full of the Optimal, and most were caught at the opposite end of the 1 ac pond from the feeder. I was mixing in the Bass formula Optimal feed last year, but ended up with a very strange blue green clumped algae explosion. Not sure if it was dangerous, but I stopped feeding at all for several months. It scared me a bit. Just feeding the BG feed now, for a 5 second burst at dawn. We are releasing all the larger YP we catch. Only found two ribbons this spring, I’m hoping there were others in deeper water.

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I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Optimal tells me the juvenile perch do well on the bluegill pellet they make.

I talked to the folks at Optimal before I stocked YP. Clayton recommended putting them on Optimal Jr. once they were big enough to eat it, and then keeping them on it.

I'm just now getting to the end of the Starter #3 that I bought to feed the stocker YP and RES, so I ordered a bag of Jr. a few days ago.

If I'm understanding your previous comments correctly, you're suspecting that the 10% lipid formulations are good for growing perch, but may be cutting short their ultimate potential due to liver issues.

It seems a jump to the 9mm pellet size bass formula from starter would be a stretch for my fish.

I'm thinking that a transition from the starter to the Jr. to the BG then to the bass formula would be a way to get the fish moving to pellets that are more suited to the size of the fish.
Maybe buy a bag of the BG formula now and mix it with the Jr. and once they are accustomed to the larger pellets introduce the bass formula to the mix?

Am I over-thinking this?

#1 goal for the pond is growing/maintaining/propagating healthy Snipe-strain YP.

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I think that is a good plan for getting started growing perch. Even my second year 6" perch will eat the 7mm - 9mm pellet.

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Well I bought 2 bags of Optimal, one of the BG and one of the bass sized pellets. I can't smell any fishy odor as most any other food I have fed has had, smells like cat or dog food to me. The BG feed is tougher to throw long distances since it is smaller, as expected. I mixed them together and have been feeding it for a week now, no tail dancing or increase in frenzied fish feeding activity, my fish fed heartily already. It actually seems to take longer for them to clean it all up, I suspect it is because the BG pellets are smaller so there are obiously more bites per feeding than with a larger pellet. I was able to source Aquamax grower 600 for $43 a bag and think I will be going to that at this point, I had trouble with the time it took to get my orders previously, we will see this time I guess.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
The pellet feeding test is progressing as noted above. Both control and test YP are feeding well. From just a visual perspective the YP eating the Optimal bass food (44%) appear more "bulky" than those eating Zeigler pellets (Silver 40%). Physical and body chemistry tests will be conducted on both sets of perch this pre-winter.

Bill C. - how'd the test feeds for you perch ponds turn out? If you posted the reslts in the different thread perhaps you could add that link?


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Stressless - pellet feeding test is still ongoing. The oldest YP 2016 yr class will be 7yr old in April 2022, second group will be 6yr old, all other female YP will be 5 yr old in April 2022. No recruitment as occurred in three years so I did a pretty good job of selecting just female perch for the study. I had 2 deaths in July 2021 that were 13.5"+ that I think were from the 2018 yr class as the youngest test group. I have not sampled by angling any of the YP to prevent hook smart fish. Since I had two deaths in 2021, I now plan to catch a few in 2022 for a size weight sample. I might sacrifice a couple of them if Optimal wants a fat content weight, liver color, etc. IMO I think the study should continue for at least another 2 years. One of my goals is to see if pellet fed YP will live 9-10 years.

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Bill,

Are you doing final age determinations on the fish by examining otoliths?

If so, how easy is that process to perform by novices?

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FishinR - I also am a novice at examining otoliths. I have removed several otoliths but never attempted looking at any of them. Removal can be a little tricky at least for me. Trained people do otolith extraction of 1"-2" fish. I would really like to see that one performed. Lusk should produce a step by step article for the process of extracting otoliths from several fish species. Then do an article step wise about examining the otoliths. Big Bump to the PBoss editor. Get 'er done.

If one would do 50 to 100 from several species, removal would seem to be rand look relatively easy. But if you don't know what you are doing,,, it is not quite so easy. I equate it to playing the piano or an instrument. If you know how it is EASY. If you don't how it seems pretty difficult. "Practice makes perfect". I tend to have a hard time locating the otolith chamber.

I know my perch habits well enough after years of working with them. So for the pellet feeding study, I used 3 obvious age classes of known age FEMALE perch. So I can monitor the ages of the YP basically by size.
Mixes of males and females will grow at different rates. Thus one is not sure of the age class just by looking at and measuring the fish.

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^^^ I agree with Bill on the age vs size thing. I caught a 13" YP from my pond last year in early Spring. Looked kinda plump, thought it was a female. Nope. it turned out to be a male when I cleaned it.

There were people from SDSU at one of the PB conferences doing otolith removal and aging. They sure made it look easy and quick. Zip out it came, they cracked it in half and looked at it under the microscope.


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Thanks Bill and esshup!

Almost everything looks "easy" when an expert is doing it!

Good data is the key to good studies, but I hadn't read much of people using otoliths on the forum to get correct ages. So I figured it was probably difficult for novices.

If we do have a resident expert, could they make a side hustle of performing that service for members?

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It can be done but having the proper equipment to do it is tougher than one may think. We pull otoliths from WAE every year for age study. I've done it with 2 perch about 5" long and it's a job. It's very easy to destroy the otolith if you haven't had some training.
They are dried and wiped clean, then set in a small receptacle that resin is poured into. When it sets hard the mold is sawed in half through the otolith. The cut is cleaned and placed under magnification and they appear somewhat like rings of a tree yet a bit more complex. Most Biologists are looking at year class but the trained eye can get down to within a week-accurately.

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Thanks Snipe.

That is very similar to how I used to process geological samples for microscope studies.

Relatively easy when you have a lab with all of the equipment.

Way too costly in time/money if you don't have a processing facility.

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Snipe's otolith description is why I haven't done it yet; due to being too busy with other things that I know more about.

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Bill, you would have no trouble getting your head wrapped around the growth patterns. Part of the reason otoliths are used now is due to the fact you can determine growth rates as well as year class. Something that can't really be seen when using scales.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Bill,

Are you doing final age determinations on the fish by examining otoliths?

If so, how easy is that process to perform by novices?

It is not easy for experienced examiners and certainty not for novices. It is worth a try, but results are not fully reliable for exactness.
















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ewest, I'm intrigued by your "not fully reliable for exactness" comment.. Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean there?

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Originally Posted by Snipe
ewest, I'm intrigued by your "not fully reliable for exactness" comment.. Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean there?

Its easy to destroy/miss information in samples especially that of the early years particularly if/when the growth was small. One must view in cross section and so this requires intersecting the 0-year.

There are number of methods for aging fish (e.g. scales, spines, and otoliths). They all work by the same principle, seasonal growth causes the growth darker margins where growth is subdued. Provided the subdued growth is annual, then counting the rings is an indication of age. I am not aware of any real world conditions where fish are developing more than one ring per year but it is in principle possible. Generally, rings indicate a minimum age that can be taken as true but it is possible that age is underestimated.

I've read that spine collection can miss early growth and that usually field samplers try take spine as far below the outer surface as practical without unduly harming the fish. Spines are often preferred due to the ease of sectioning (the collected sample is sectioned for example). Like otoliths, growth rings are preserved over time. Scale growth can destroy information of early life.


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Agree with jpsdad on what the studies show. This is especially so in warmer climates as the rings do not separate as well when there are not strong distinct seasonal weather changes.

Don't get me wrong on this however - they are good sources and experts can do amazing things with all of the aging sources.

Last edited by ewest; 01/20/22 11:38 AM.















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FYI - aging info - be sure to note location

Neal et al. Invalidation of Otolith Ageing Techniques for Tropical Largemouth Bass
Otoliths have been used to determine individual age of many species of fish in different regions of the world (Warburton 1978, Erickson 1983, Summerfelt and Hall 1987, Crawford et al. 1989, Brothers 1990, Fowler 1990). For temperate regions, an nual growth checks (annuli) in otoliths have been validated for many species, and are generally related to seasonal changes in water temperature and corresponding changes in the growth rate of the fish (Williams and Bedford 1974, Bagenal and Tesch 1978, Jearld 1983, Schramm 1989). In sub-tropical regions, such as Florida, accurate ageing of centrarchids using otoliths has been accomplished where scales have been shown to lose their validity (Hoyer et al. 1985, Crawford et al. 1989, Schramm 1989). The same is true for temperate fishes such as walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), for which otoliths are preferable to scales and spines for age determination (Erickson 1983). Ageing of tropical fish using otoliths has not enjoyed the same success as in temperate regions (Pannella 1980, Longhurst and Pauly 1987). This inadequacy is due to a lack of discernible or interpretable patterns on otoliths, possibly resulting from the lack of variation in environmental conditions affecting growth rates (Pan nella 1980). However, fish ages obtained from otolith annuli have been verified in some tropical marine fish families, including Lutjanidae, Serranidae, Lethrinidae, and Sciaenidae (Fowler 1990). Largemouth bass are not native to the tropics or marine environments, but they have been widely introduced into freshwater reservoirs in tropical regions. For age and growth studies of largemouth bass in temperate and sub-tropical regions, annuli from whole and sectioned otoliths have been verified (Miller and Storck 1982, Taubert and Tranquilli 1982, Hoyer et al. 1985, Crawford et al. 1989). Yet, there is no evidence in the literature of validation studies of ageing techniques for tropical large mouth bass. As sport fish management increases in Puerto Rico, so does the use of otoliths as an indicator of fish age without proper validation. This study was under taken to assess the utility of otoliths for age and growth analyses of largemouth bass populations in a Puerto Rican reservoir.

For the entire sample, only 14% (5 of 36) of the otoliths exhibited opaque bands that correctly identified largemouth bass age. Although true age only spanned 3 years, ob served ages from otoliths often missed the true age by 2 years, and average ageing error was 1.25 years.
















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I can see that being an issue where seasonal changes are less pronounced, definitely would make it much tougher to read.
It's my understanding that's why KDWP got away from scales due to inaccuracies. Fish grown in Hatchery conditions from a known hatch date, then scale samples were not really depicting proper age structure on a consistent basis..

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