Burbot

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lota lota

NICK NAMES

Mariah, the lawyer, eelpout, poor man’s lobster, ling, lingcod, loache, methyl, lush, gudgeon, mud-blower, cusk, mother eel

Burbot

 

SIZE

Burbot males tend to be smaller than burbot females and females mature faster than males. Adult burbot are about 24-36 inches long.   They weigh around 8-15 pounds and the Alaskan record being 24 pounds.

Burbot Size

 

REPRODUCTION

Promiscuous.   Spawning season is mid-winter into early spring when ice still covers their habitat.   They spawn in pairs and sometimes in a group of many fish.   They spawn in shallow water over sand or gravel.   The sperm and eggs are released into the water and are thrashed around by the burbot and eventually fall to the bottom.   Females can lay up to 1 million eggs.   Embryos develop for 4-5 weeks and hatch at less than 0.15 inches.

Spawn

 

TROPHIC STATUS

Young burbot eat insects or other invertebrates.   Around five years of age they eat mostly fish such as whitefish, sculpins, lampreys, and other burbot.     At times they may even eat mice or shrews.

Baby Burbot
HABITAT PREFERENCES

Where can you find burbot?

Burbot is common in streams and lakes in North America and Europe.   They are found above 400N latitude, giving them a circumpolar distribution.

What kind of habitat does burbot like?

Burbot like to live in cold water usually including cold rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams.   They often live in the coldest water (on the bottom) and go to more shallow water to spawn.   They like to reside on different types of ground including mud, sand, gravel, rubble, and silt.   Burbot do not always change their habitat preferences over their life span, but adult burbot usually burrow in the sand/mud/silt during the day for protection, and hunt at night.

Hiding

ENEMIES & FRIENDS

Where Northern pike and burbot live together, they are known to feed on each other.   Many other fish living in the same habitat as burbot are known to feed on small, larval burbot or immature burbot.   In some places the sea lamprey feeds on burbot as well.   Humans are also a threat to burbot due to fishing activities.

Pike eating Burbot

 

INTERESTS

How much time does it spend over various aspects?

Burbot move with seasons, meaning it migrates to shallow water in mid-winter to early spring to reproduce.   Burbot that live in rivers and streams may migrate to different parts of the rivers and streams as well, but consistently stay in cooler water until it is time to reproduce.

Active or lethargic?

Burbot hide during the day by burrowing in the sand/mud/silt/gravel to protect themselves from potential predators.   They are active at night when they feed and often move to shallower areas to feed at night.

Hiding Burbot

QUOTES ABOUT BURBOT

“Ugliest fish I’ve ever caught, slimiest too, but tastes just as good, if not better, than most fish I’ve caught’

“In butter and garlic it tastes and feels like lobster!’

“Sit around and wait to catch a burbot on a fishing pole during the day? You’re hilarious!’

Ice

BURBOT SET LINES

Many use this method of fishing for burbot because several hooks can be put on a line and left in an ice fishing hole over night.   This method is fairly simple and not as time-consuming as sitting at the ice fishing hole with a rod for the entire day.   Multiple burbot may be caught as well.

Set Lines
COOL VIDEOS ON BURBOT

Underwater Burbot Video

Burbot Cleaning

Burbot set lines

 

SOURCES

https://www.fishalaskamagazine.com/fish/Burbot.htm

 

https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/education/wns/burbot.pdf

 

https://www.lakesuperiorstreams.org/understanding/burbot.html

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burbot

 

https://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Lota_lota/

8 thoughts on “Burbot”

  1. Ive tried all year to catch a burbot. All my buddies have caught them sitting right next to me with the same bait. For some reason I just cant seem to catch one. Good information though, I’ll have to start fishing at night more.

    1. The trick to catch a burbot is to go out near the mouth of the Chena or out on the Chena Pump campground and walk 100 yards to your right if you are facing the river, and put in set lines (or jig off of the bottom) right in front of that bluff you will see. I always use lamprey eel or chicken liver for bait, and it ALWAYS works. I can give you details about how I make my “set-lines” if you are interested. I have never pulled up an empty line except when my hooks broke off one time. Where have you been fishing for burbot at?

        1. I have never tried to catch a burbot in a lake. Wish I could help ya but I don’t know much about the Mat-Su/Wasilla area as for fishing at this point. All I can say is use lamprey eel and make sure those hooks are at the bottom! Best of luck I hope you get one before the season is over!

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