Pond fishing conjures up images of monster bass and aggressive bream hitting everything you cast into the water. At least, that's the ideal we imagine, and what we strive for when we buy fish feeders. But just having a fish feeder isn't necessarily going to get you there. There are some basic things to know about fish and feeders that can significantly improve your chances of success.

What types of feeders should you consider?

Sometimes it's difficult to find an ideal location along the shore to set up a feeder. Models with an adjustable pitch feed chute, like Moultrie's Wildlife Directional Feeder, offer placement flexibility by letting you cast feed over obstacles such as bushes. The Wildlife Directional also features a unique foot design for secure positioning on shore or bolting to a deck. Its highly adjustable legs allow for level placement on an incline. If space on your dock is limited, the Moultrie 30-Gallon Quick-Lock Directional can be staked to ground virtually anywhere, while its tripod design even allows for placement in the water. Also consider the Moultrie 15-Gallon Directional Hanging Feeder, it comes with a bracket that allows for easy mounting to a 4”x4” post. Another option is Moultrie's 6.5-Gallon Directional Hanging Feeder, its simple set up makes any tree, shepherd’s hook, or post along the shoreline an ideal feeder location.  

Where to place feeders?

You want your feeders casting into water that's at least three feet deep with no obstructions in the feeding area. Place your feeders so that they are upwind from your pond, this will reduce wastage by preventing feed from getting blown back toward the feeder. If you need multiple feeders, try to spread them out evenly around the pond to create more feeding opportunities for more fish.

How many feeders?

As a general rule it is recommended to have one feeder for every acre of pond. But that number really depends on the size of your fish population. It is possible to damage your pond's eco-system with too much feeding (more on that later). Keep in mind that a feeder is meant to be a supplement, not the sole source of food for your fish.

wildlife feeder

How much feed should you cast?

Feed that's not eaten can create bacteria problems in a pond. If there is feed leftover, then reduce the time the feeder is casting. If fish quickly consume all the feed in just a couple of minutes, then increase the time. The goal is to only cast what the fish are capable of eating in 10 to 15 minutes. Choosing a floating feed help ensure that all the feed will be consumed.

What type of feed?

There are many types of fish feed, so be sure to choose feed specific to your fish species. It's important that the size of the pellets match the size of the fish. For example, bream require feed that is 1/8" to 1/4" in diameter. Some fish feeds come in mixed sizes to accommodate a greater size range.

When should you feed?

Keep a routine. Feed at the same time every day. Take advantage of feeders with programmable timers. Moultrie's family of Quick-Lock Directional feeders are designed for easy programming of multiple feed times per day. Water temperature has a big impact on fish activity. In colder conditions feeding tends to slow down because the fish slow down due to oxygen depletion. You should stop feeding when water dips below the 65-degree mark. In very hot conditions, like the middle of summer, oxygen levels are also low. If you start seeing fish gulping air at the surface, then you know oxygen depletion is happening. Because cloudy weather also impacts oxygen creation, you should reduce or stop feeding during extended periods of overcast weather.

What can't a feeder fix?

Fish feeders are a major asset for improving the quality of your fishing experience. But they aren't a cure for every situation. Your pond needs to be a balanced ecosystem. If your pond has a stunted bream population, cranking up the feeder in hopes of helping the fish grow, probably won't fix the issue. That's a classic example of overpopulation and requires thinning out to correct. Likewise, adequate plant life is the foundation to healthy fish. It's true that feeding fish helps with the growth of phytoplankton, but a deficiency in plant abundance requires a bigger fix than placing feeders.