Distribution in the local
Balfour Lake, Baptiste Lake,
Limerick Lake, Mink Lake
Lota, from the old French, la
Other common names include: American Burbot, Cusk, Dogfish,
Eelpout, Freshwater Cod, Freshwater Codfish, Freshwater
Crusk, Gudgeon, Lawyer, Ling, Lingcod, Loche, Lush (Alaska),
Maria, Methy, Mother Eel, Mud Blower, Spineless Catfish,
Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
Order Gadiformes, cod and hake
Family Lotidae, cusk fishes
Genus Lota, burbot and eelpout
The North Country's only freshwater representative of
the primarily ocean-dwelling Codfish Family.
An ugly, eel-like freshwater
cod of deep waters and nightmares
, can reach 46"
Typically 1-3 lbs can weigh
over 12 lbs
Back and sides dark olive or
brown with dark mottlings; adults may be dark brown
or black belly white, cream, or pale yellow fins similar
in color to adjacent body parts
Slender, elongated, and cylindrical
smooth skinned and slimy, with minute scales dorsal
fin divided short first dorsal lobe of 8-16 soft rays
long, low, second lobe of 61-81 rays. anal fin of 52-76
fin rays; nearly as long as second dorsal fin pelvic
fins of 5-8 rays in the throat area slightly ahead of
pectoral fins tail fin rounded, separated from both
dorsal and anal fins scales present, but so small as
to be nearly invisible, except on large adults
Wide, flattened head small
eyes single large barbel on chin barbel-like tube from
Unlike anything else in North
Short forward dorsal fin paired
with long rearward dorsal fin
long anal fin, nearly equal to the second dorsal fin
wide, flat head single chin barbel
Bowfish Distinquished by single
whisker on tip of chin; long, thin anal fin.
Deep, cold waters of lakes and
rivers. Prefers to be near the bottom in areas of low
light intensity (usually in the deepest water available).
Also inhabits areas with aquatic vegetation, rock piles,
submerged logs, and other underwater structures.
Migrates late winter and early spring, after spawning,
from lakes to tributary rivers.
A rather reclusive fish, hiding
about underwater structure during the daytime and foraging
actively at night over the bottom. Predominantly predators,
eating small fish, aquatic insects, and even small rodents.
Adults over 20" or so feed almost entirely on other
fishes during the summer, when in deeper water, and
on invertebrates in the winter.
Consume mainly mayfly nymphs and other insects while
young, shifting to a diet of fish and crayfish as adults.
Voracious appetite and indiscriminate eating habits.
Stomachs have been found to contain small stones, wood
chips, and plastic as well as the more typical fare
of crustaceans, fish, and insects.
Despite ugly form, meat is tasty
and nutritious. Still regarded as a coarse fish, however,
and not widely sought by anglers, though interest in
ice fishing for burbot is increasing..
A delicacy in Scandinavia, the liver contains an oil
said to rival that of the saltwater cod. Harvested commercially
on the Great Lakes.
Spawns in mid winter under the
ice, usually in 1'-4' of water, with water temperatures
near 35º F. Spawning occurs at night in shallow
bays or tributary streams over a sand or gravel bottom
and is said to take place in a writhing ball about 2'
in diameter made up of 10-12 individuals.
Extremely productive; large females lay up to one million
eggs, which drift along the bottom, hatching within
30 days. No care is given to the fry young.
The young grow rapidly for their first four years, feeding
mostly at night on a variety of invertebrates. They
spend most of this time in lake shallows or stream channels.