High Protein Feed.
Imagine realizing you’ve wasted a pile of money feeding common carp or catfish while neglecting the fish you prefer to catch! This is often the case as quality fish feed and sportfish nutrition requirements are not readily available for pond owners. It’s often frustrating to meet those of you who are stuck here. This is why we’ve set up a relationship with the experts at Cargill Animal Nutrition to offer Triton 45% protein high performance feed to Oklahoma pond and lake owners. The hatcheries use it, you should too.
Occasionally, a customer will call who, through reputable resources such as PondBoss Magazine, realize they’ve been wasting money on poor quality feed, frustrated by the hoard of catfish or carp eating all the fish feed while their largemouth bass and hybrid striped bass struggle to grow.
Its in Fine Print.
Check the Label…
Often, pond owners have no other access to quality fish feed. Or, they’ve been misled by labels on fish feed that they can find. The cool pictures of largemouth bass and packaging that boast ‘high protein’ are often entirely misleading. For those of you who have a bag sitting nearby, read the fine print, the descriptions on those bags most often highlight that largemouth bass are attracted to other pond fish feeding rather than the feed itself.
Your local feed store, even the big sporting retailers, likely carry a catfish or pond fish feed product with about 25% to 36% protein content. But, for those who prefer to grow the most exciting fish like hybrid striped bass and largemouth bass, its better to use a feed with 40% to 48%. 45% is ideal for hybrid striped bass. You’ll notice, bluegill are and other panfish will also benefit from the good stuff. Our bluegill show incredible growth, larger size and more energy at the 45% protein. See the attached table for more on species and feed.
Most high protein feed comes in a variety of pellet sizes. The variety of sizes can be confusing and stepping in a perfect sequence is not necessary. Smaller sizes are more expensive than larger, even in the same formula. We prefer two specific sizes of Triton for our hybrid striped bass and pure strain stripers. We hold small fingerlings at a 1/8″ pellet and move them to a 3/16″ as soon as possible.
We have not noticed any difference in fish performance or water quality when transitioning from one size to another. So, to save cost, use the largest pellets your fish will eat. Most all species in a performance pond will readily accept the 3/16″ floating pellets so there is no reason to pay extra for smaller high protein feed. See the table below for a visual alignment of feed protein levels, pellet size and species.
Species x High Protein Feed x Pellet Size
Ponds with only catfish and panfish will likely perform well with lower quality feeds, but for those growing predatory fish (especially those in the table above) should align protein levels by species. Its important to remember, restocking forage fish alone doesn’t provide the adequate nutrient base for a large population of large sportfish. In other words, if you are looking to grow a pond full of giants, where a person can continuously catch monsters, you need to ensure the predators have a continuous supply of quality feed.
Cost vs. Use…
Aligning the right protein level for your fish is worth the price tag. For those that hesitant to make the change to performance feed because of the added expense, you’re right, it does cost 10-20% more per bag. But, the cost quickly becomes irrelevant as every bag of high protein feed will add size to the fish you like the most. Most important, it should be applied conservatively for full effect. This is important to ensure waste doesn’t taint the water. Yet, its important to use it as directed to maintain water quality.
A Bag a Month…
Applied appropriately, high protein feed can actually last longer than throw away generic feeds when used as instructed. A bag of Triton costs about the same as a bag and a half of low grade pond fish feed. But, measured appropriately during feedings, the usage should balance cost (with the added benefit of growing quality sportfish). I plan on a bag a month per acre for an effective program. Check out our feed page for more on feeding.
If you’re looking to boost your pond’s performance this spring, starting a high protein feed plan is a smart choice. Each bag will add noticeable weight and increased energy levels throughout your pond. But remember to look past the to images of largemouth bass the bag. Take the extra step to flip it over, read the label to make sure you match the right high protein feed with the fish you intend to grow. The average price is about a dollar a pound, a dollar that grows fish rather than one that goes to waste. Feel free to contact us direct for more on high protein feed.