burbotThe burbot is a member of the cod family. It is the only cod found in freshwater  in North America. It is related to the common ling and the cusk.  Found generally in  deep, cool, lakes, rivers and reservoirs north of Iowa these fish prefer freshwater although they can survive in brackish water. They prefer colder water and therefore feed more aggressively in the winter months.

Burbot are a bottom feeding, predatory fish and can swallow other fish almost as large as them. Some people mistakenly consider the burbot or eelpout as it is sometimes called, to be a worthless fish . Many believe the meat is similar to the taste of lobster therefore it is sometimes referred to as “poor man’s lobster”.

Its body has a shape that is similar to an eel. It has a head resembling a catfish with one barbell on it’s chin.  It has a mottled green and black skin resembling a reptile. Their skin has a slimy feel because of their very small scales. If you catch a one and hold it near it’s head, it has a tendency to wrap their body around your arm.  Their average length is about 16 inches however the largest one on record was over 24 pounds and 40 inches in length. Its firm textured flesh is distinctive in flavor.

Cooking Burbot

Three Burbots, Skinned


The burbot has  firm textured flesh with a  distinctive, delicate flavor. It is a good idea to remove the dark line that runs down the fillet. The best way to cook it is to bake, broil, poach, steam or deep fry. Click on a link for ways of cooking.                                       HOW TO BAKE FISH                                           BROIL FISH                                         POACH FISH                                             STEAM FISH 
For information on other fish and how to cook them go to If you need information on shellfish check out .