Burbot (Lota lota)
- Size 2 to 8lbs
- Food Value Good
- Game Qualities Average
- Habitats River, Lake
Burbot are slender, almost eel-like, highly predatorial fish inhabiting frigid fresh and brackish waters.
These relatives of Cod are carnivorous and known to attack fish of similar size and feed on eggs of its neighbors. For this reason, they are considered to be an invasive species and some fisheries (Utah, for example) have a "no release", catch and kill policy. Otherwise, they are mostly taken as bycatch when fishing for Lake Trout.
Burbot are commonly caught up to 8lbs, but can grow to almost 50'' and over 25lbs.
The species can be found throughout the world at latitudes over 40° N. They are common in many lakes and streams across Alaska and Canada, including the Great Lakes, but excluding Nova Scotia and and the Atlantic islands. They can also be found throughout northern Eurasia, but are considered extinct in the British Isles.
They require extremely low temperatures to spawn (between 34 and 39°F) and so are often fished for under the ice during winter months.
How to catch
The flash and vibration of spoons is helpful in attracting Burbot. Tipping them with small lively baitfish such as mullet should be successful. These can be jigged and dropped to the bottom periodically to stir up the sediment. An excellent and detailed guide to proper techniques of Burbot fishing can be found here.
Good to eat?
The flesh is said to taste similar to lobster. The roe is also consumed.
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