Farm Pond Fish..to feed or not to feed?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BJ, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We stocked a new pond 3 years ago with fingerling bass, catfish, bluegills, and minnows. We've never fed commercial food since we had waited until there was some vegetation growing in the pond before stocking. My son caught a couple of the bass and blue gill this weekend. He said they are still kind of small. Should we throw a little feed now and then? If they fish aren't used to it will they eat it? If they don't eat it....would the "spoiled" feed hurt the fish?

    This is the first spring we have had green moss floating on the pond. We have some grass carp but have learned they do not eat anthing on top of the water. So.....how do we get rid of the moss without damage to the fish or tainting the drinking water for the cows? :confused:
     
  2. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    I dont really know that you can feed bass or minnows with commercial food. I think the minnows pretty much are eating very small "things" in your water and the bass are eating the minnows. I would go ahead and try to start training the catfish and bluegills to eat the commercial food. Dont overfeed and you should have no problems. Also, I think there is a forum at WWW.PONDBOSS.COM which is very helpful.
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I stocked three years ago with brim, gambusia (mosquito larvae eaters) and channel catfish. I also feed a 32% commercial floating pellets. All of my fish have reproduced well and my largest cats are now about 2 feet long and weigh over 5 pounds. They were pretty big in their first year and I also stocked with fingerlings. They don't cost that much to feed and I don't feed everyday. When the water temp is too cool they stop coming to the surface to eat so I stop feeding for a couple of months (in Florida). So yes you should feed. I buy pond weed killers at killlakeweeds.com They have a chart for you to choose a product from and all the products I have purchased are safe for fish, for swimming, and for aquatic plants (except the targetted ones). Good luck.
     
  4. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    If you don't feed your catfish, they will grow very slowly. Nature will make a balance in your pond, and depending on your rations, your bass'll be predating on your other fingerlings. Think about your other farm critters...if you don't feed em, or provide natural grazing for them, will they grow? or be half starved runts after a while. Fingerlings are especially needful of nourishment, as they aren't large enough to have large reserves to live on till they can find natural food. (did that make sense???) In other words, once they get several pounds, they can go awhile without food, but when young, if not fed, a good portion will either starve or be eaten by something else, being in a weakened condition.

    If you have a county agent, you might take a sample of your water to them, or get them to come out and check your pond. It may need fertilizing.

    I feed the catfish/bream/perch/shiners that come up to my pier bread, flour tortillas, dogfood...tried some of the floating fish food, had trouble with all the top water feeders getting most of it before the catfish could start devouring it.
     
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You probably really need to start eating some of those fish. Overcrowding is unhealthy. Once you get the numbers down, you will find the fish start getting bigger. I wouldn't start feeding them until I removed some of them.
     
  6. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Copper Sulfate will take care of the mossy looking floating weed and its pretty safe. I guess I have "Special Grass Carp" because they sure will eat top floating "weeds". I have seen them ease out the water eating grass clippings of the pond bank, but that was only because the pond was "Clean" they were hungry.
    Alot of people that own ponds don't understand How ponds work---If you have a large pond--you better get several families to help you keep it fished or you will end up with a over-stocked pond. My grandmother was so Stingie---------she would not let hardly anyone fish in her 1 1/2 acre pond---she dumped hundreds and hundreds of dollars of fertilizer and feed into the pond. The water was SOOOOOOOOO green it looked like pea-soup, but after several years of doing this she still couldn't catch a bream over 2 to 3 fingers wide. She could go to the pond any time and catch 50 to 100 bream that wouldn't fill a 10quart bucket. She believed that one day she would fatten them up, but there were just to many. I finally talked her into letting me trap and net it. I set a couple of nets and made several traps and for the next few weeks(traps rusted out from so much fertilizer in the water) caught out hundreds and hundreds and thousands of little fish (told her I was catching a few-- LOL) and dumped them into a ditch that dumped into a big swamp. Then over the next few months her fish got bigger and bigger--in a year she had a Great fishing pond. She invited several friends to come over any time they could and fish. She caught alot less in number, but alot bigger in size. My pond got over stocked bad one time, we were into bass fishing so we let the bream get over stocked because of not fishing it. I had a Idea--------I told my Bass fishing buddies that if they caught some 1 to 3lb bass some where else to bring some over and dump them into my pond. We put app 125 bass into my 1 acre pond in about 2 months time, them we started catching a few bass aweek, about every weekend for a while for a friday night fish-fry. In about a year I had my pond back under control---very good bream fishing. So in my opinion-----------if its overstocked---------get large amounts of the bream out as soon as you can------------then you will see the fish-size increase. I don't feed my fish or fertilize it, but about 1/2 of my pond is nature-made with 56 tree's in it-----the water is black and the fish taste like River caught fish. I tried fertilizer but the fish had a --Fertilizer taste-----------or just taste different, so I stop using it. Good Luck. Randy
     
  7. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Our pond is not overcrowded. We bought just the number of fish recommended by the Conservation Dept. Problem is those fish weren't as big as your little finger. The bass looked liked minnows! The said "you don't need to feed them...there's plenty of "natural" food in the pond." So...now we're realizing....we probably should have been feeding them. Thought they'd be big enough for my 4 year old grandson to catch by now.....he does catch some...but turns them right back cause they are so little. Biggest one he caught was the grass carp that we just put in there last year...and it has already doubled its size.

    We got to get the moss off the top....may be forced to use chemicals...but sure hate to since we have a concrete waterer in the dam to water cattle. We'll check with the local FSA to see what they recommend. Till the fish get bigger...we'll just have to keep hittin that "all you can eat catfish" night at the local resturant :)
     
  8. NWSneaky

    NWSneaky Well-Known Member

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    We built a bunch of USDA subsised ponds here in North Missouri; the government calls them structures. Around 96 or 97 we stocked them with the same mix of fish the Conservation department supplied. last year we caught channel cat 15 pounds, etc. We never fed them. BUT, they have cattle grazing and maybe that supplies some nutrients???
     
  9. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

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    Besides double the grass carp recomended we put koi in to eat the soft algae and stuff the carp don't eat.the koi fry are all eaten because they are too colorfull to hide from predators!We can't believe the rate of growth for our crappies, bass, blue gills,perch and channel cats.we plan to start eating next year, our fourth year.
    Wouldn't think of using chemicals!
    Chas
     
  10. Roxie

    Roxie New Member

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    BJ---Why would you feel your pond is not over crouded if your fish are not getting any larger?? I am in way trying to BE SMART with you---I have already been THERE several times ahead of you----This is what I found out!!!! The bream you put in there 3 years ago breed 3 to 5 times a season and lay 1000's of eggs each time. I don't know how big your pond is or how many fish(little finger size) you put in, but to play with some numbers here--say you put in 2000---say 1/2 were females--that 1000 females that at 1 year old say only bread 3 times the first year and layed say ONLY 1000 eggs for each time, but lets say only 100 of each time made it to a little finger size bream---well thats only --say 300 new babies in your pond/per bream x 1000, but thats only 300,000, but les say that only 5% make it to the small adult size---well we only have 15,000 plus the 2000 you started with---17,000 now only 2 years in--- 8,000 of these are females --they breed---X 300 per-now we have 2.4 million babies---we going to loose alot of these-Say 95% dies, gets eat, etc---hey we only have 120,000 plus the other 17,000 by the third year. And you can back dump truck loads of feed and dump it into the pond and it will only help a small amount until you get 1000's and 1000's of fish out of there. If you want your pond to get BETTER, catch/trap out hundreds and hundreds of fish in the next few months---feed them some and you will start seeing their size increase. Good luck!! Randy
     
  11. Poultryguy

    Poultryguy Well-Known Member

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    Grass carp can eat floating grass, that's why they use it for grass control in waterways.
     
  12. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You may get some good ideas here: Auburn is one of the leading aquaculture schools in the country. http://sfaas.auburn.edu/

    geo
     
  13. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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  14. copperkid3

    copperkid3 Well-Known Member

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    less about the law(s) which were suppose to prevent their entry.:ashamed:

    http://www.bcsn.tv/news_article/show/378441

    http://www.cleveland.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2013/10/first_evidence_of_grass_carp_r.html

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/28/asian-carp-great-lakes/3289387/
     
  15. o&itw

    o&itw aka avdpas77 Supporter

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    I have learned that on a decent sized pond it is best to skip the blue-gill. They over populate, and tend to end up too small for decent size pan fish, but too large for food for the catfish and bass to catch easily.

    We had this go on for about 20 years. We drained the pond and only put in minnows (shinners or fatheads, I don't remember which), a few crappie, a few bass, and channel cat. Within a few years everything was doing great. We found that if we sank some large truck and tractor tires that the catfish reproduced much better.

    The pond produced all the fish we wanted to eat, although the Channel cat did grow faster whe we fed them. A lot of moss (algae) in a pound usually means it is getting too much nutrients. This is often the case if it is shallow, or if it drains a pasture with animals. Giving a buffer of un-pastured grass above the pound will help.
     
  16. Sawmill Jim

    Sawmill Jim Well-Known Member

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    Well shucks these fish in the original post could weigh 50 pounds by now . :D

    #1 Report Post
    Old 06/03/05, 11:05 AM
    BJ BJ is offline
     
  17. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Grass carp in one form or another (diploid or triploid) are legal in 38 states.

    I would look at the condition of the fish not just the length. By that I mean the bellies should look full. The grass carp will eat surface vegetation unless maybe some areas of the pond have vegetation more to their preference. You can always keep putting more in until they completely strip the pond of vegetation but then the bass will clean out the sunfish in the pond.

    Normally a pond won't get so many sunfish that some won't grow unless the pond is choked with weeds so badly the bass can't get the upper hand. It could just be that you aren't fishing where the largest sunfish are holding.

    Usually a small pond tends to get "bass heavy" as my professor used to say. That's where the bass take over and eat all but the largest sunfish and then the bass stunt. It's remedied by removing a bunch of bass to give the sunfish population some breathing room.

    It is possible to have a situation where there are so many small sunfish they prevent bass reproduction by eating the bass eggs or fry. In that case you don't keep any bass and start fishing the small sunfish hard.

    When I was at Auburn it was accepted that a well fertilized and managed Alabama pond would produce about 500 lbs per acre per year. That's a pond kept in balance and fertilized regularly.
     
  18. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I live on a 200 acre lake that winterkills some winters. One year it killed and the minnows went nuts. There were schools of minnows that blackened the water for 30' in diameter. Evidently someone stocked some largemouth bass that spring before spawning because by mid-summer you could see the little bass hammering the minnows and small sunfish right along the shore in 3" of water. By the end of the summer they had completely wiped out virtually every minnow in 200 acres and then they stunted.

    It was possible to fill a 5 gallon pail of nothing but 6-8" bass with no water in a couple of hours. If the first fish got off before you reeled it in another would hit so you still caught a fish. I can remember seeing a 40' school of those stunted bass swimming along the shoreline like a giant shark with all the sunfish pressed up into the shallow water. They are eating machines. My professor called them the saber tooth tigers of the modern age.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  19. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    You think. Was you invited to the Fish Fry? I wasn't.

    We stocked my Sons Pond with Channel Catfish and Hybrid Bluegill. He was feeding them but finally quit.

    Thing is I got better quality and better eating fish out of the rivers and Large Lakes.

    big rockpile
     
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