Burbot perform spectacular spawning dances through the lens of a high definition underwater camera. About 'Pout
High Definition Underwater Video Captures Rarely Seen Burbot Spawning Behavior
Crosslake, MN - Eelpout are in. Burbot are a big deal. Lawyers are likeable.
Actually, yes. This lone freshwater member of the cod family easily qualifies for the
most interesting fish in the world—right up there with megamouth sharks, pufferfish
and those bizarre, alien-like creatures that haunt the deep seas.
Intriguing about the enigmatic eelpout is that for most of the year, no one particularly
knows where they go. We know that the species’ circumpolar natural range stretches
from the Great Lakes to Alaska and across the Bering Strait to Europe and Asia,
excluding the United Kingdom, where they’ve not been captured for nearly half a
We also know that during late winter, adult burbot begin assembling en masse,
spawning beneath lake and river ice atop sand and gravel bottoms. That’s when anglers
encounter and increasingly target them. There’s a movement afoot, particularly among
adventurous young ice anglers like Minnesota guide Hays Baldwin, to learn more about
the burbot; to study them through the lens of an underwater camera; to learn where
and how to catch them; and finally, to appreciate and release the larger, older burbot
to swim and spawn once again.
But not all anglers who chance upon burbot appreciate them. For the eel-like fish likes
to greet us with a slightly amusing, friendly bark and by “hugging” our forearms with its
soft, sinuous tail. Nevertheless, everyone seems to find them fascinating to observe
with an underwater camera. When burbot assemble to spawn late each winter, we
marvel at their large gregarious assemblies, their spectacular mottled flanks and the
impressive energy they display within seemingly tranquil underwater environs.
Alas, we give you the increasingly beloved burbot . . . Fascinating Burbot Facts:
1. Reproduction occurs in pairs, as well as within groups of dozens to hundreds of
2. Burbot have been captured in extreme Great Lakes depths up to at least 600
3. A single female can lay well over one million eggs depending on her size. Tiny
burbot hatchlings measure just 0.15 inches, one of the smallest freshwater fish
4. The burbot’s durable skin was once used as window material in Siberian homes.
5. The International Game Fish Association lists the world record burbot at 25-
pounds 2-ounces, caught in Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan. Anecdotal evidence
points to fish up to 60-pounds once living in other parts of the world.
6. Tracking data has shown that burbot often remain inactive and sedentary for over
24 consecutive hours, moving only at sunset or at night. Minnesota fishing guide Hays Baldwin harvests delicious smaller burbot, but releases larger breeders to help
perpetuate the species.