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Ways to Make Fish Grow

by Bob Lusk, The Pond Boss

Thirty years ago, if someone wanted a pond on the farm, they simply called the local earthmover. He came out, pushed up some dirt as he dug a hole, they did a rain dance and…presto-chango…a pond. It ain’t like that anymore, folks.

Today, ponds are planned, thought about and designed. Everything from building the dam to designing the perfect habitat for different species of fish is part of the plan…before the dirt guy comes out. Part of that ever-evolving method also involves how people feed their fish. New technology and new, specialized fish feeds allow pondmeisters the opportunity to have a fish feeding program.

A thoughtful feeding program involves taking care of different sizes of different species in their own niches in your pond. For example, you have some shallow water where baby fish are spotted from time to time, darting in and out of the safety of dense aquatic plants. Just beyond, you see larger fish that look like bluegills, just at the edge of those plants, in two to three feet of water. Beyond that…a swirl…a big bass chasing baitfish.You can feed those small fish, the medium sized ones and in the case of feed-trained bass, the large ones.

Here’s the skinny on how to design a fish feeding program. Choose the right fish feeds…that’s job one. The “right” feed is based on your goals. If you have a weekend place and there’s a fish feeder on the dock and your main goal is to attract some fish and growth rates aren’t that important to you, choose one of the grain-based feeds. If you are feeding catfish, they don’t need those high-powered, high protein feeds. They’ll do quite well with the grain-based feeds. But, if you want to put some weight on bluegill or feed-trained bass, don’t sell them short on their food. They are meat-eaters, athletes of the underwater world. Give them a good, fish meal-based feed.

Second thing is get a reliable, automatic fish feeder. The secret to Texas Hunter’s patented automatic pond fish feeders is in the design and engineering. Texas Hunter Fish Feeders are available in three models or capacities: 70 lbs., 175 lbs., and 250 lbs. of fish feed. Texas Hunter Products has built a reputation in the automatic feeder industry for delivering tough, long-lasting products for over 65 years.

For your pond, feeding the small fish makes sense because they are your up and coming stars, the freshman team, if you will. Feeding the medium size critters sets the table for those fish to be the junior varsity, on their way to the big time. So, in today’s world of fisheries management, you have a number of choices. Feed for fun, feed to grow big fish or design a program to mix it up and feed different sizes of different species of fish to speed up Nature’s process and to grow fish well beyond those sizes you might ordinarily see in a normal pond.

As a general rule, all feed should be consumed by the fish within 5 to 10 minutes of each feed event. If you observe feed floating on the water after this time you should reduce the number of seconds of the feeding. If the fish are consuming all of the feed in just a few minutes, slowly increase the amount of fish feed dispensed for that feed event.