How many feeders should you install? The general feeder ratio for a pond is one per three surface acres. Lake managers strive to maximize feeding programs so fish don’t roam the lake all day in search of a meal. Unnecessary movement expends valuable energy and nutrition that could be converted to growth.
Thoughtfully select feeder locations. Place them near deep water and proper habitat, again so fish travel the minimum distance when pellets rain across the surface. Carefully evaluate your pond’s annual water level fluctuations. If it’s susceptible to sudden rises, place feeders on elevated bases or floating platforms to prevent flooding. If livestock or wild pigs frequent the pond, consider securing it in a wedge-shaped fence with cattle panels that extend slightly into the lake.
If your goal is big bass and trophy bluegill, don’t stock channel catfish with bluegill and bass. Catfish will compete with bass for important forage and rob bluegill of needed nutrition to achieve bragging status. There’s a better option. Stock catfish in a separate pond to themselves.
Purina Mills’ research farm at St. Louis, MO, has done numerous nutritional studies. Latest findings indicate catfish gain approximately one-pound from consuming 1.25-pounds of feed. Stock 500 six to eight-inch channel cat in a one-half acre pond. Begin serving with fries and hush puppies when they reach one and a half to two-pounds. After you harvest 250 of them, simply restock with another 250 six to eight inchers. By the time you catch the last original group, the second generation is ready for harvest. Repeat restocking after you catch the next 250 and you have a perpetual catfish garden. We’d enjoy helping you or a friend develop a management plan to optimize production of your treasured waters.