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One of the keys to any successful pond or lake is food supply. Without an adequate food supply, growth rates will fall below normal levels and the overall balance of your pond can be put in jeopardy. For this reason we always recommend that you supplement your fish with a commercial feed.

Although all types of fish do not feed on a commercial feed, all of the fish in your pond can benefit greatly. Any time you add an additional food supply to your pond or lake, all of your fish will reap the rewards!

Advantages of Supplemental Feeding
  • Will double the growth rates of all fish that accept commercial feed - catfish, bluegill, etc.
  • Will greatly enhance the table quality of your fish.
  • Conversion rates can be as high as two pounds of feed to one pound of fish.
  • Reduces competition level for forage fish, increasing food supply for sport fish.
  • Leads to higher survival rates for new hatchlings during critical spawning season.
  • Is especially beneficial during low water situations when demand for food is highest.
Choosing the Right Feed

To begin your feeding program, speak to your local feed store about the types of feed they have available. Most ponds have a variety of different size fish, therefore we recommend purchasing a 1/8" pellet. This pellet is small enough for most young fish to consume, but large enough to satisfy your adult fish. You may have some difficulty acquiring a 1/8" pellet as it is not always considered a stock item. If this is the case, you may have to choose a 3/16" or 1/4" pellet.

Always purchase floating pellets. Floating pellets will enable you to monitor the exact amount of feed that is being consumed. It is very difficult to determine how much sinking food is being wasted. Wasted feed will reap havoc on your water quality and over a period of time could contribute to a "turn over" or algae problems.

The Protein level on your feed should be in the 28% to 32% range. There are higher protein feeds on the market, however, they are not necessary for most non-commercial pond environments. Higher protein feeds are typically reserved for production ponds with commercial stocking densities.

Getting Started

Choose an open area in your pond where the water is no less than 3' deep, preferably away from any established spawning areas. It is important there be no obstructions present in your feeding area. Once you have selected a feeding area, it is best not to change too often. Fish are creatures of habit and will return to this area each day once they have been trained. Do not attempt to feed your fish when water temperatures are below 60 degrees, as the cooler temperatures will result in only limited activity.

Training your fish to feed on a commercial feed is quite simple. Start out by feeding a 16 ounce cup of feed every day until you start to see some activity. From that point on, feed your fish 5% of their total body weight, or whatever they are able to clean up in 10 minutes. When broadcasting your feed, try to cover as wide an area as the fish will actively feed in. This is important because larger fish will concentrate where the bulk of the feed is, forcing the smaller more timid fish to the perimeter of the feeding area.

When feeding your fish, never throw out large amounts of feed at one time. Always broadcast the feed a scoop at a time, allowing time between scoops for the fish to clean up the feed before throwing more out. Throwing their full complement of feed at one time will result in wasted feed as the wind and wave action forces it into shallow areas. Also, feed left floating for too long may sink. Either scenario can negatively effect your water quality over a period of time, as well as your bottom line!