Supplemental Feeding of Bluegill as a Small Impoundment Enhancement for Largemouth Bass
Type of Degreethesis
Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
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Several pond enhancements are commonly used to increase fish production or enhance angling opportunities. I investigated whether providing supplemental feed to bluegill leads to higher reproductive rates, and if the indirect effects of bluegill feeding improve largemouth bass growth. During 2009 and 2010, adult bluegill and largemouth bass were stocked into nine 0.1-ha ponds; ponds were provided with no pelleted food (control), a low ration (1.52-kg•ha-1•d-1), or a high ration (2.68-kg•ha-1•d-1). Supplemental feeding increased growth of initially-stocked bluegill, female bluegill gonad weight, larval bluegill density, and age-0 largemouth bass growth increased compared to the control. Adult largemouth bass size and fall age-0 bluegill density and biomass did not increase with feeding. Supplemental pellet feeding is clearly beneficial when the pond management goal is to increase bluegill size and reproductive output, and this improved condition of the bluegill population resulted in enhanced growth of age-0 largemouth bass.