Feeding your Game Fish

Do I need to feed
my fish?

It is not necessary to feed your fish if you have a correctly stocked pond. Adding minnows regularly to your pond should maintain a natural balance. With this said there are some other factors that contribute to a naturally balanced pond.

The size of your pond can affect the ability of your pond to sustain a natural balance. Generally a 1/4 acre pond or larger is necessary. Habitat can also help, if you have places for small fish to hide and minnows to safely reproduce you will reduce the need to add additional prey fish. Another factor to consider is how you plan to use your pond. If fishing is important and you would like to see quick growth, then the most economical way is to use a supplement food source i.e. fish pellets.

It can also be fun to feed your fish! Regularly feeding your fish will train them to come to the surface when you are present allowing you to observe and better enjoy your fish. This will also make them less aggressive, reducing the chance of fish nibbling you while you're swimming.

What do I feed my fish?

In the past people have fed their fish a little bit of everything includingdog food, grain,bread, etc. Nowadays, there is no reason not to feed your fish a good quality food. There are many companies producing specialized fish foods which are available at most specialty pond stores and fish farms. The difference in using a quality fish food and using dog food, grain, bread, etc. is that the fish can digest a "quality fish food" more efficiently. It is important that what you're feeding your fish stays in your fish! Lower quality foods are not easily digested by your fish. The majority of low quality food is passed through the fish, contributing to unnecessary nutrients which case water clarity issues. When purchasing fish food, look at the ingredients. If fish meal is not one of the first three ingredients, it is probably not a good choice.

How much do I feed my fish?

When it comes to how much to feed your fish, each pond is unique. It depends on several different factors, such as the time of year, water quality, size, number of fish, and presence of an aeration system. Aeration will allow your fish to be more active, requiring you to feed more aggressively. Typically start out feeding one-half to one pound of pellets per surface acres of water, or however much the fish will eat in 5 to 10 minutes. Water temperature will have an effect on how much your fish will eat. As the water temperatures start dropping in the fall, the fish will eat less and will eventually stop feeding until spring when the water warms up.