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#12345091 - 07/17/17 09:24 PM Cottonseed for forage fish food source?
mhouse7 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 07/17/17
Posts: 3
I currently have a 1/2 acre spring fed pond near College Station. Its 15 feet in the middle, super clean (probably too clean to be honest, but my next plan is getting the water tested and adjusted for more growth). It is stocked with spotted bass, a few largemouths and bluegills. I currently feed Purina Game Fish 32%, because I work for a feed store and we had a busted bag so I got a good deal. I only feed about 1 pound per day, usually every other day or so. I dont usually see fish hitting the food but I dont have a reason to believe they dont eat it. That feed usually costs 25.95 a bag, which is kinda high. We sell 38% cottonseed cubes and cottonseed meal for much less. Is their any reason that crunching up some cubes into bite sized pieces and putting them in a burlap sack wouldn't work as a good food source? I know people used to use cottonseed slab cakes, but unfortunately those are obsolete for livestock nowadays. Any other tips for feeding bass directly, or bluegill for the bass? Long time fisherman but new to the idea of growing fish.

I'm not concerned at all about "baiting" fish, I just wanna grow big bass, and I think starting with my forage fish is the right place.

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#12345132 - 07/17/17 09:48 PM Re: Cottonseed for forage fish food source? [Re: mhouse7]
Donald Harper Online   happy
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 13571
Loc: Justin, TX.
There is no cheep way to feed your fish. Feed the bait and put plenty of bait in the tank. A couple of other bait sources are Bull Head Minnows which are not that expensive and during the winter months throw in some trout. Start by reading on the sack what is in those pellets, then seek out other sources on-line for the feeds.

There are pond management people here on the forum to help. They hang out in the pond section and one or two other places. Send in water samples to get advice on greening up that tank with the right fertilizers and etc..
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#12345544 - 07/18/17 08:38 AM Re: Cottonseed for forage fish food source? [Re: mhouse7]
Outdoordude Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 2060
The minnows will eat crumbled up cottonseed meal, and the uneaten cottonseed meal will act as a fertilizer. If the pond remains clear during the summer, odds are there are chemistry issues preventing plankton blooms from establishing; probably low alkalinity and hardness. You can send a water sample in to the Extension service to test for this. Bluegills don't grow as well on plant-based proteins so a true fish-based feed would be best for them. Your best bet for growing big bass in a small pond is to get a nice planktonic algae bloom established (visibility between 18-24 inches) by treating chemistry issues and fertilizing if necessary, then overload it with bluegill and minnows (providing true fish feed for the bluegills goes a long way), harvest any bluegills over 5 inches in length, and keep the bass population very small (i.e. no more than 15 or 20 adult bass in the whole thing, harvesting up to about 10 lbs of bass under 14-15 inches in length per year after the bass have been in the pond for two years post-stocking).

Or, hire a pond management company and tell them you want big bass. That's the easiest route if you have the cash for it.

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#12347262 - 07/18/17 11:30 PM Re: Cottonseed for forage fish food source? [Re: mhouse7]
mhouse7 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 07/17/17
Posts: 3
I'm taking water to A&M soon to get a test done. I know it's acidic, I'm just not sure how much limestone it needs. My visibility is about 36" right now. I'm currently feeding Purina game fish 32%. I mapped it today and it's about 5 acre feet of water. And I'm gonna say there are probably 35 adult Spotted bass in it right now, and I've only caught 2 large mouths. I'm going to try to get down to the 10 biggest spotted bass then probably get some large mouths stocked. I have a ton of bluegill, and I'm going to get the water tested so I can add limestone in the fall to hopefully get good growth next march. I'm trying to build my pond into a honey hole

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#12347761 - 07/19/17 10:16 AM Re: Cottonseed for forage fish food source? [Re: mhouse7]
Outdoordude Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 2060
Sounds like you've done your homework. The fisheries specialists at A&M, Todd Sink is their pond specialist I believe, should be able to answer all your questions.

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#12348464 - 07/19/17 04:11 PM Re: Cottonseed for forage fish food source? [Re: mhouse7]
TxRanger1 Offline
Angler

Registered: 12/31/15
Posts: 280
Loc: Humble,Tx
I get one ton of threadfin shad every February put in my lake

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#12349444 - 07/20/17 07:30 AM Re: Cottonseed for forage fish food source? [Re: mhouse7]
Jaret Latta Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 01/06/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Austin, Tx/Nacogdoches, Tx
1/2 acre limits you but definitely low numbers of bass and high numbers of forage. Can't have too much forage for bass. They are gluttonous fools lol

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