The first dorsal fin is short and is followed by a very long second dorsal fin that is at least six times as long as the first dorsal fin and is joined to a rounded caudal (tail) fin. Burbot fins have neither dorsal nor anal spines, but instead have 67 to 96 soft dorsal rays and 58 to 79 soft anal rays. The caudal fins have 40 soft rays. The good size pectoral fins are rounded.
Thriving In Cold Waters
They are voracious predators and their diet consists of over 80% fish, but will also take frogs, snakes and young swallows that fall into the water. Slow for a fish, they will use their natural camouflage to hide in wait for minnows and small fish. When their prey swim close enough the Burbot will grab them with their large mouth which is lined with several rows of tiny teeth.
Some biologists speculate that the Burbot was once a saltwater fish that somehow became “landlocked” millions of years ago. This is based on the unusual fact that the Burbot is the only fish to spawn in midwinter which is the exact same time that saltwater cod spawn. Burbot usually spawn beneath the ice and in water less than 30 feet over sandy shoals or mud flats.
Nutritious and Delicious
Did You Know?
Long before the Bighorn River was tamed by the Yellowtail Dam, the roiling waters through the canyon were feared. During spring snowmelt, the water turned into a raging torrent, a combination of whirlpools, rapids, and eddies. Conversely, the river through the canyon had a reputation for being placid by late summer, when dry heat and lack of rainfall turned it into a sedate stream. More...