• Common name: Burbot
  • Scientific name: Lota lota
  • Order: Gadiformes
  • Family: Lotidae
  • Indigenous names for this species may be available through the Yukon Native Language Centre

Also known as

Mariah, Ling, Lingcod, Loche, Eelpout, Lawyer

Viewing opportunities

  • While you can find Burbot in most Yukon lakes and rivers, they are bottom dwellers and difficult to see unless you catch one while fishing.


  • Eel-like elongated body with 2 soft dorsal fins, tapering to a rounded tail.
  • Flattened head, large mouth, single whiskerlike barbel under the chin.
  • Olive-green to brown/black on the back; sides with irregular pale blotches.

Fast facts

  • Length: 40 to 100 cm
  • Weight: 1 to 9 kg
  • Habitat: Freshwater

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S4S5 (Apparently Secure/Secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.


The only freshwater member of the cod family, Burbot are found in deep lakes and eddies of large rivers and streams. They are one of very few fish to spawn under the ice. They spawn in large writhing masses called “spawning balls.”

Burbot are a bottom dwelling fish making them most easily caught on baited set lines.


Aquatic insects, molluscs, crustaceans and fish.


Burbot distribution map.

Burbot and people

  • Burbot are a popular ice fishing species.
  • Yukoners can obtain a special permit to use baited set lines to fish for Burbot.
  • Even though their numbers may appear plentiful in any particular lake, they are easily caught making them susceptible to over-harvest.


Population assessments: