General information about burbot (Lota lota), a cool-water fish species in Alberta.



  • 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:

Previous Bull trout