Supplemental Feeding For Effective Fisheries Management
Establishing a forage base that is self-sustaining should be a primary goal of pond and lake owners. A good way to achieve this is through supplemental fish feeding. Using automatic feeders filled with pellet feed is an ideal method to feed many species of forage fish. The additional food source will give your bait the needed edge to improve survival and reproduction success, while also providing your pond with the needed food to support a much greater biomass of forage.
Feeding is beneficial for predator fish as well. Bass, catfish and trout species thrive on artificial feed and the option of feeding should be considered when managing for these species. A large advantage to using artificial feed is the front row seat you will have when managing your fishery. The ability to observe fish growth and health up close is a great benefit. Also, feeders provide a great fishing hole for kids and a quick place to catch a meal if desired. Pellet feed is 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 maintaining a healthy fish community.
Directional fish feeders are very reliable systems that have proven their quality over the years. Fish feeders are an investment and will save a great deal of money in the 5-10 year picture. Fisheries management programs are often crippled because of reduced cash flow when it is time for the fishery to stock forage fish. Artificial fish feeders allow you to maintain a productive fishery through economic lows. Artificial feed also has a 2:1 conversion ratio, so for every 2 pounds of feed you grow 1 pound of fish. Stocking forage fish may have its benefits, but the conversion ratios are only 10:1. When setting up a management plan that will have low annual costs to keep your fishery going, fish feeders should most likely be incorporated.
Ponds and lakes that use Sterile Grass Carp to control submerged aquatic vegetation should be cautious when implementing feeders to improve the forage base. Grass Carp have the tendency to feed on the pelleted feed, so if the waterbody has a vegetation issue that needs attention, feeders are not the most effective method to improve the forage base. Lakes with major vegetation issues using carp as the means for control should stock forage fish until the undesired vegetation species is under control.
Overall, consider supplemental feeding for your forage and predator fish to hep enhance the productivity of your fishery.