To start, you will want to locate an obstruction free area at your pond or lake that is at least 3’ deep or deeper and preferably not a spawning area. While training your fish you will want to feed in the same location and time of day, because you are not only training them to eat commercial feed but you are also training them to a location as well as your presence.
Now that you have a location picked out you will want to do your feedings either early morning or late afternoon, as you will get a better feeding response at these times.
Begin feeding a ½ to 1lb of feed per day until you observe a strong feeding response, once you have achieved this you can start to increase feeding amount. It’s recommended not to exceed what the fish will consume in a 7-10 minute period per feeding. Do not feed the full ration at one time but rather feed a scoop or handful at a time, allowing the fish time to eat what was thrown before offering more. Until your fish are trained to your presence you may need to broadcast the feed then slowly move away from the water giving them time to feed without feeling the presence of a potential predator.
Unlike a commercial aquaculture facility where fish are separated by size when raised, your pond will have many different size fish coexisting together.
This is why we felt the need to offer a pond feed that came in mixed lengths, Optimal Bluegill and Optimal JR. This enables you to feed your forage base fish from one bag of feed at a time while ensuring that multiple sizes of fish are given an opportunity at supplemental nutrition for improved health and performance.
Our feed has proven to be compatible with numerous leading brand pond feeders.
Utilizing an automated feeder can provide your fish with a consistent daily feeding regiment that may be hard for you to accomplish with a busy schedule. It is still very important to frequently observe your fish feeding from the feeder to ensure the correct ration is being feed, as overfeeding will lead not only to wasted money but will have a negative impact on water quality in your pond or lake.
Storage of Feed
It is important to store your feed in a cool, dry place and free of rodents. Never feed spoiled, moldy, or rodent infested feeds.
We also recommend you do not store feed for longer than six months before using. If you have feed stored for a long time or in poor storage conditions and are not sure if it is safe to feed, it is better use the expression “when in doubt throw it out”.
You have a lot of time and money in your fish and it’s not worth it to feed spoiled or contaminated feed.
We have received several inquiries regarding the need to hydrate feed before feeding (soaking in water). It is our experience that with a quality feed and the correct size feed there is no need to hydrate feed before feeding.
Some have used this technique to feed larger pellets to small fish allowing them to pull the pellet apart to be able to feed, as well they will clump hydrated smaller pellets together to make a larger single pellet or ball to feed to larger predator fish.
Feeding Rate and Water Quality
During a single feeding period it is recommended to only feed what the fish can consume in a 7-10 minute period. A recommended daily ration is no more than 10lbs per day per acre of surface water.
It is important not to feed more than the fish can consume as uneaten feed will lead to negative water quality, which can include a drop in dissolved oxygen levels in the water. Keep in mind the more feed you introduce into your pond or lake will increase the overall bio mass of fish and in return the demand for oxygen will increase.
If your fish stop or dramatically slowdown from eating their normal ration there may be a water quality problem or fish health issue. You should suspend feeding until you can be sure what is wrong. Feeding fish that are stressed from poor water quality or health issues can lead to a fish kill.
When do I need help?
With every pond or lake comes unique circumstances and variables.
When it comes to feeding your fish and managing your pond or lake in a healthy and productive manner there is not always a one size fits all answer. If you’re not sure what to do or if what you are doing is not working, you should seek the help of a reputable pond and lake management service in your area. They can come and look at your body of water and give you answers tailored to your specific needs and goals. If you need assistance locating a local pond and lake manager email us at firstname.lastname@example.org