To better serve site visitors, Government of Alberta ministry web content is being centralized on Webpages on this ministry site will be either relocated to or removed over the next few months. Messaging and redirects will help guide you to updated content during and after this transition. Scheduled completion date for this project is March 31, 2019. Thank you for your patience as we proceed with these changes.

Burbot (Lota lota)


Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


  • These unusual-looking fish have a slim, brownish black body with smooth skin and a flattened head.
  • Distinctive barbels, whisker-like filaments of tissue, hang from the lower jaw and nostrils, and provide a sense of touch and smell.
  • A fin stretches along the back half of the body.
  • Also known as freshwater cod or ling, burbot are found in lakes and streams throughout most of Alberta.
Natural History


  • Burbot prefer cooler water and are found near lake bottoms.


  • Burbot eat small fish, aquatic insects and even small rodents.
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Burbot spawn under the ice in the winter and early spring, and are extremely productive.
  • Large females lay up to one million eggs.
Conservation and Management


Classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


Burbot are cool-water game fish subject to current Alberta sportfishing regulations. For details, see the My Wild Alberta website at:


Page Information

Updated: Apr 3, 2009