Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I have a 5 acre pond with bass,bluegill, crappie, and catfish. I was thinking about getting a protein based food called Aquafeed to feed the fish in order to keep them fat and healthy. Is this a good or bad idea? The last thing I want to do is to screw up the system.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Replies to This Discussion

Sure you don't mean AquaMax?
Yeah, I don't have a feeder though nor do I want one but, I was just looking for something to toss out and feed them.
Feeding fish is the great idea. Just think of it like this. If only 25% of your fish eat the feed that give the rest of your fish 25% more food from your forge food line. Start feed them once aday at the same time and same place. Just feed what they will eat in about 20min. They'll start coming to this place everyday. Then you can increase the amount and may be twice aday. Good luck
I have thousands of every size minnows in my pond, and the bluegills are hardly eating any fish food. Does this seem normal? I seem to be feeding only minnows, keep thinking something has happened to my bluegill
I have just started using Game Fish Chow, has anyone else used this or had luck with it?

The turtles seem to love it.

I feed my gills ground carp; they love it and its very plentiful where i live.

Aquafeed is good feed - I use it presently. Overton Fisheries, one of the top hatcheries in the country, also uses it.
Gamefish chow is not bad, Zach, certainly better than catfish chow which is plant-based and therefore not ideal for bluegill. I wouldn't worry about what you're feeding them right now, but if you do stock coppernose or northern-strain bluegill a few months down the road, you'll get a lot faster growth from them if you feed a higher-protein food such as Aquafeed, which is made by Cargill, or Purina Aquamax. Aquamax is 41% protein; Aquafeed is 44% protein. It makes a big difference.
Purina Aquamax 2000 is what I use. I think after reading a little on each type of feed. This really the best buy per your buck. I don't have a feed any more. The fist cheep one I got gave up. I like hand feed with mawmaw. I'm going to video it soon and post.
Aquamax 2000
Here is some comment and Studies done on feeding BG in ponds.
Here are some ideas for improving your bluegill (BG) population. As time allows more items will be added by the other moderators and myself as we find useful information on this topic. You can Private Message any moderator with your big BG ideas to get items added to this Archive topic. Thanks for using Pond Boss Forum.
1. The pond should be bass heavy with the population dominated by 6"-12" bass. The pond will have some 14"-16" bass but not lots of them. This means harvesting primarily the largest bass caught in the 16"+ range. Harvesting a 16"+ makes room for 3-6 smaller bass that eat more little BG (1"-3") than that big 16"er who eats mainly the BG of 4"-6" size range. There is previous posts about why to do this. Larger bass can be caught by fishing with smaller BG (3"-4") under a bobber.
2. Feed the BG but just don't use catfish food or similar food in the 32% protein range common at various stores. Use Purina Aquamax Carnivore (blue bag) that has 41% protein. It grows bigger BG faster. For a pond your size (small ponds 0.1-0.5ac) and feeding mostly BG, a 50 lb bag should last you one whole summer. You and another pondowner can share food purchases. Buy a bag of 5D05 (3/16")and a bag of 5D06 (5/32") mix the two and then split it between the two of you. This gives two sizes of pellets one for smaller BG 3-5" and one for 6-9". Try not to hold or store Aquamax Carnivore pellets longer than one year.
During long term storage the pellets can loose some of the nutrient, vitamin, and flavor qualities.

3.Harvest mainly the female BG to help produce larger BG overall. Searching the old topics will produce posts that will teach how to tell males from females and why to do it (see item 6). There might be a topic on this in the old posts or at bigbluegill.com (on the homepage, see on left side under RESOURCES the Heading of "Differentiating between male and female bluegill".

4. Don't overfish the pond. It causes fish to be hook smart (shy) of the method used. Spend more time feeding fish, harvesting small fish, angling for biggest bass and keeping records of lenghts and sizes of fish caught. Trends of growth and size structure of BG & bass will be evident from several years of records.
5. Initially if small BG appear overabundant, manually harvest some of the 3"-5" BG with angling and trapping until the pond becomes bass heavy. Small BG that would normally be discarded can be used for hand feeding big bass. I often cut the tails off the small BG and/or some of the side fins and toss them back into the pond. These impaired small BG swim abnormally and are easy meals for larger bass or catfish. This also conditions the larger predators so they are easier to catch.
6. Get and read the 3 back issues of Pond Boss Mag (Mar-Apr, May-Jun, Jul-Aug 2006) of Growing Behemoth BG in Small Ponds by Cody, Condello and Baird. They discuss lots of details for producing trophy BG
Here are some additional items for improving the quality of BG in a pond.
8. Consider adding new genetic stock that is from BG populations known to grow trophy class BG. The new individuals will enhance your exisiting gene pool.

9. In angling and harvesting BG, take a good look at each fish. You should have a measuring device ALWAYS handy when catching BG. STUDY AND DO HOMEWORK TO LEARN TO RECOGNIZE MALE AND FEMALE BG. Give all larger BG (7+") a second look. Almost always, BG at 8" will be sexually mature. Sometimes in less than optimum conditions, BG are mature at 7" or smaller. In these cases the BG population as a whole needs more management if big BG are the goal. In trophy BG fisheries, maturation of BG especially males is usually delayed until they are about 8" long (=/- 0.5").
A. As mentioned in item 3, Determine if fish is male or female. Harvest primarily females.
B. Look at body condition - plump, medium, or thin bodied? Harvest all thin bodied individuals. Pick and choose remaining BG. Return plumpest individuals as broodstock.
C. Look at general body shape - is it roundish, normal or more slender or streamlined? Release those fish with your concept of the ideal BG shape. For instance a more roundish shape, nice big dark gill flaps, good markings or color compared to others you are catching. You want to release your idea of the best BG as your brood stock. As you take time to closely look at body shape of each BG you catch, you will gradually over time learn to see and recognize subtile differences in shape coloration and markings/patterns.
10. Here is a pond management tip that has several benefits. 1. It removes small BG, 2. It feeds your bass, 3. It focuses your time away from bass fishing as much and slows the chances of creating hook shy bass, while productively spending your time still fishing and managing your fishery, 4. It is a creative way of using small BG that otherwise usually are discarded. 5. It usually improves the balance or ratio of BG:bass in a pond managed for big BG. 6. It is a way to collect and sort BG, put them in a cage, raise them to maturity and restock males into the pond. 7. It is a way to entertain the kids or keep them occupied as they fish for small BG, 8. It is easy and fun.
If you are harvesting small BG in the 2"-5" size range, you can use them as live bass food. One interesting way to do this is to slightly impair their swimming ability and toss them into the pond. The bass will quickly learn these fish are "easy pickings". I impair swimming ability of small BG by cutting off portions of their tails and or fins. These fish then swim abnormally. Bass and predators are attracted to odd or abnormal swimming fish who are usually more vulnerable and easier to catch. Bass who typically survive by normally working hard to catch fish, take advantage of this type of situation. When you harvest a larger number of small BG, you can put a lot of them in a live box or small cage to hold them for several days. This way the live food feeding of the bass can be spread out over a longer period without taking time to harvest more BG.

Because fish growth often is limited by food availability, supplemental feeding is a logical tool to improve the condition of fish in small impoundments as the energy cost for bluegill to feed on pellets is small relative to the high caloric intake, which can be 4-5 times greater than those fed natural foods (Schalles and Wissing 1976).
Some commments about this werre:
1. Cody - Go pellets! It seems that the higher quality pellet food (Aquamax) is a more logical wiser choice if one is trying to produce trophy BG.
2. esshup - I wonder if those figures are still accurate due to the age of the study. I wonder if the high protein, easy digestibility food that is on the market today was available back then.
I noticed a marked difference in BG growth switching to AquaMax from 36% floating catfish food in the past year.
3.Ewest says - esshup the difference you noticed I bet was in large part a result of the protein source difference between catfish food vs. AM (plant protein vs. fish meal/oil).

So far I have not read the study just others' analysis of it. I think that the major point is that energetically the BG don't have to expend energy eating pellets while regular foraging uses significant energy. As a result the net energy gain from eating pellets can be 4 to 5 times higher than normal foraging. This is the first time I have seen the difference quantified. Higher/better sources of protein may also make some incremental difference as well. There are of course possible negative aspects to fish relying to much on just pellets.
My thought was I can try feeding out and see how it goes, I do not have a feeder and hand toss when I go which has been about 3 times a week lately.

Now with the GSF problem not sure I want to spend twice the money of Aquamax as compared to Game Fish Chow, plus with all the CC not sure how many BG would even be able to eat.

Plus the Turtles have moved in and they devour it.

It would be nice if I could purchase a smaller amount of Aquamax or Aquafeed and take all 3 out there and see if one does happen to attract the fish more than the other.

Has anyone tried this experiment?
A good 22 with solve the turtle problem. lol

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