Let’s follow the forage chain to find one important method. Bob emphasizes the only thing limiting a fingerling bass from reaching record potential is—food. What composes that “food”? As Bob states in a video, “Let’s start at the start.”
Pond life cycles resemble a ladder. The bottom rung is “plankton”, a true unsung hero. Plankton are microscopic organisms that feed starter phases of all aquatic life. Properly managed plankton “blooms” can triple pond productivity. They benefit not only fish, but also every creature in the ecosystem.
Use bluegill as an example. Newly spawned fry are hatched with a yolk sack that nourishes them only a few days. If natural food like plankton isn’t present when that nourishment is consumed, survival rates decline. If available, survival rates increase significantly. Greater bluegill populations ensure bass, catfish, and other sportfish have ample food to achieve their potential. It’s that simple!
Nutrient levels in the pond determine plankton levels. Some waters receive nutrients from runoff across cattle pastures. Others may be enriched from fertilized hay meadows in the water shed. Waste from large waterfowl populations is a source. Or it could be from waste of fed fish.
If you don’t have a natural source, ask us about approved fertilizers. The formula should have high phosphorus. We like a product with a ratio of 12-61-0.
This brand is applied at six to eight pounds per surface acre when water temperatures reach a “sustained” 65 degrees. Follow instructions carefully. More IS NOT better. Fully dilute fertilizer material. If granules settle to the bottom, they stimulate vegetation. Obtain a standard water analysis before applying. Balanced alkalinity levels are required for good response. Ponds with excess vegetation should be evaluated by a professional before fertilized.
Regularly measure plankton density with a secchi disk shown in our website on-line store. The disk should disappear from sight at 18 to 24 inches. If you lose sight at 30 inches, add a maintenance treatment of three to four pounds per acre. If the disk drops from sight at 15 inches or below, contact us for instructions to begin immediate aeration.
Spawning season is near. Valuable plankton “blooms” should be established soon. Ask our biologist for a quote to maintain your plankton food chain this season.