Written by Logan Cowan, Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist
Throughout the country, small ponds serve a variety of uses in our communities. Biologists help manage ponds for aesthetics, recreation, and stormwater collection—as well as for trophy fishing. Establishing a trophy fishery can be a complex endeavor that requires many tools and strategies to support the goals of the property owner. Supplemental feeding is one of these important tools, which is often essential to establish and maintain a productive fishery. However, the success of a supplemental fish feeding plan can depend on a variety of factors. Before implementing a fish feeding program, it’s important to confer with a professional Fisheries Biologist about the expected benefits and potential undesirable impacts.
Supplemental feeding with a high-quality pelleted fish food is a cost-effective technique to increase forage production. Feeding forage such as Bluegill and Golden Shiners can improve Largemouth Bass growth and condition. Depending on the unique goals and characteristics of the fishery, managers may also opt to feed Largemouth Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass instead of the forage base. No matter the approach, automatic fish feeders can be highly effective at providing consistent feed and attracting sportfish, including catfish and Rainbow Trout, to specific locations for improved catch rates.