Feeding Fish

Feeding Fish

You do not normally have to feed fish in a healthy bream and bass pond to produce good crops of fish. Natural food organisms are typically abundant enough to feed fish. However, you can increase growth of bream with a supplemental feeding program using a catfish floating feed (about 28 percent protein).

Bluegill readily accept feed and can be attracted quickly to feeding areas. Always feed small ponds stocked at high density with channel catfish or hybrid sunfish to maximize fish growth. Not feeding gives poor results. Here are some points to consider about feeding:

  • Feed at the same time and place each day.
  • Use floating feed, with a pellet size small enough to be easily eaten.
  • Never feed more than the fish will eat in 5 to 10 minutes. Keep in mind that uneaten feed may pollute the water.
  • If fish quit eating, stop feeding for a few days. Watch for signs of disease.
  • Do not feed in very cold or very hot water.
  • Reduce the feeding rate as winter approaches to about one-fourth of the feed rate of the previous summer.
  • Automatic feeders give good growth results where small ponds are unattended for long periods.
  • Do not try to feed fish up to large sizes without some harvest to reduce the number of fish. Otherwise, crowded large fish may become diseased and die.

Following these simple rules will provide good growth rates while minimizing the risks of  deteriorating water quality.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Man showing fish to group
Filed Under: Fisheries, Fish Management November 22, 2022

BILOXI, Miss. -- The Southeast has some of the most commercially and recreationally valuable fisheries in the United States. However, anglers’ observations of fish populations don’t always match the results of official stock assessments for important reef fishes.

Creek with trees on the left providing shade and a steep bank on the right.
Filed Under: Healthy Soils and Water, Natural Resources, Pond and Lake Management, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources August 17, 2022

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The presence of a water source on private land can make a property much more desirable for several reasons. Whether it’s a lake, pond, stream or river, a water source provides opportunities for recreation, development, agricultural production, and wildlife and fisheries habitat.

A key aspect of maintaining the value of the water resource is ensuring that it is protected and used wisely.

A pond with a surface aerator.
Filed Under: Pond and Lake Management, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources May 27, 2022

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Summer has arrived, and your pond is heating up!

The surface water of local ponds feels like freshly run bath water, but it gets cold deeper in the pond. In the peak of summer, surface water temperatures in a deep pond can be in the low to mid 90s, while the deepest areas might still be in the lower 70s.

A tall, purple weed in the foreground with green grass in the back.
Filed Under: Natural Resources, Pond and Lake Management, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources January 27, 2022

Some plant species found in ponds can multiply and interfere with pond use and fish management, but not all water plants are bad.

Large, silver fish swim in blue water.
Filed Under: Fisheries, Fish Management, Marine Resources September 1, 2021

Fisheries experts at Mississippi State University and other research institutions are conducting an $11.7 million study of the greater amberjack, an important recreational and commercial species in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that is threatened by overfishing.

Select Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

Portrait of Dr. Wes Neal
Extension/Research Professor
Fisheries Extension