The Press Room
Feeding Pond Fish
Editor’s Note: Many hunting lands may have old ponds on them that if handled properly can provide some outstanding fishing for Mossy Oak Properties’ clients. However, perhaps the clients don’t want to incur the costs involved to drain the pond and then restock it or to wait for 2 or 3 years before they can fish the pond. According to fisheries biologists, you may enjoy better fishing in an old pond without draining it. Barry Smith, one of the co-owners of American Sport Fish in Montgomery, Alabama, and a longtime fisheries biologist, gives these keys for rehabilitating an old pond.
“You’ll need to fertilize your pond regularly,” Barry Smith explains. “After the club removes the pond’s weeds, start a fertilizing regime to put more food in the water for the fish to eat.
This fertilization improves the pond’s algae growth on which microscopic animals feed. Then baitfish feed on these tiny water animals, the bluegills eat the small baitfish, and the bass feed on the bluegills. Pond fertilizer usually costs $5 to $7 an acre per application. Most ponds need to be fertilized about once a month, starting in March and continuing through September. When you fertilize a pond, you triple the amount of food available for the fish in your pond.
“You can supplementally feed. To produce more food, especially for your bass, you can use an automatic spin feeder to supplementally feed the bluegills in the club’s pond. By supplementally feeding the bluegills on which the bass feed, you’re also supplementally feeding the bass, which will cause them to grow bigger, quicker.” Smith recommends a landowner place one fish feeder for every 5 to 7 acres of surface water in a pond. Too, a feeder on your pond concentrates fish around the feeder, grows those fish to a larger size quicker and helps the landowner and his family members catch more fish quicker around that feeder than they can at any other place in the pond.
Most biologists suggest that you feed the fish in a pond about twice a day, often by using an automatic timer on the feeder. During the spring or fall when the bluegills grow the most, and the water temperatures don’t get too hot or too cold, feed the pond’s fish four times a day the amount they’ll eat in 5 minutes. On the average, most landowners will use 5 to 7 pounds of fish food per day, and a 50-pound bag of food will cost about $10.