DO Feed the Fish: The Benefits of Supplemental Fish Feeding

August 5th, 2014

Written by Industry Expert David Beasley, Fisheries Biologist

15_pound_channel_catfish_cA common vision for many pond owners is to have a healthy population of pond fish. Fish need the proper food sources to maintain a healthy, successful population. Often times in ponds, the base of the food chain is lacking, limiting the available food for the pond’s smaller fish. This has a negative impact on the larger fish that are relying on smaller fish to grow and prosper. When the pond’s fish population is balanced, the overall ecosystem will benefit from the productivity.

Supplemental feeding is a great way to provide the needed food source to establish and maintain a healthy fish community. Supplement feeding can be done by stocking bait fish or by providing artificial feed. Using automatic feeders with artificial feed is often the most cost effective option.

Incorporating automatic feeders into a pond management strategy is beneficial for many reasons and should be highly considered when a healthy fishery is desired. Bait productivity will improve with the added artificial food source, reducing the need to stock bait fish. Improved growth rates, survival rates, and reproduction rates are all great benefits to feeding.

Having the ability to see your fish up close can be both fun and productive as well, allowing you to observe fish health and growth. Kids especially love this feature, as it gives them an up close view of different fish. When it comes to fishing, the feeders provide great fishing holes. Fish will usually stay in relatively close proximity of the feeder which makes fishing near feeders very successful.

texas_hunter_fish_feeders-1Pellet feed is five times less expensive than stocking forage fish, which reduces costs associated with creating and maintaining a healthy fish community. In times of reduced budgets, feeding rates can be cut back, but a reasonable amount of pellet fish food can still be affordable, allowing you to keep feeding and maintain a healthy fish community. Ponds naturally go through cycles where predator fish over populate and forage fish become overwhelmed and nearly eliminated through predation. Providing an additional food source will not prevent predator fish from over populating, so it is good to remove some of the intermediate size predator fish such as largemouth bass from the pond when fishing. Keeping predator numbers under control will reduce some of the predation pressure on the bait fish, allowing the bait needed relief to maintain a healthy prosperous population. Teaming annual bass harvest with supplemental feeding will greatly improve the health and balance of a fish community.

Fish feeders are an investment, allowing the ability to feed fish for a very reasonable price year after year. Two pounds of fish food will convert into approximately one pound of fish growth. This 2:1 growth rate conversion makes feeding very cost effective. To provide the best supplemental feeding program, a long-lasting reliable feeder is the best cost effective approach. Having a feeder that will feed every time on time is important. Having a feeder that is in need of constant attention to ensure the feed is dispensing properly, or one with parts that are continually not functioning properly is a hassle and can negatively impact the fish.

SOLitude Lake Management has experience with many brands of fish feeders, and has found through our experience that Texas Hunter feeders are a very high quality and reliable feeder that should be considered when implementing feeders into a fisheries management plan. The quality and longevity of their feeding systems will pay for themselves time and time again. If you are looking to improve the health of your fish community, supplemental feeding should be highly considered. Please contact our office if you have any questions about the fish population in your pond or if you have would like to know if supplemental feeding is right for your pond. We have experts on our staff who will be happy to visit your pond and determine the best plan for you.

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