Ice Fishing Tips -Check your local regulations! > Eelpout

Eelpout and Burbot are not the same fish

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I tried to figure out if Burbot and Eelpout were the same kind of fish, but it turns out they're not.

These are Burbot (scientific name: Lota lota)

And these are Eelpout (scientific name: Zoarces viviparus)

Eelpout are saltwater fish found in Europe. Burbot are freshwater. If you look at Burbot, it has two distinct dorsal fins along its top, a caudal fin, and an anal fin. The Eelpout has one fin for all of these. Also, look at the head. The Burbot is very catfish-like. The Eelpout's head is goby-like.

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia: "The International Eelpout Festival that takes place in February in Walker, Minnesota, celebrates the burbot, which is actually a cod-like fish misleadingly known locally as the eelpout."

I think what happened is when Europeans (Scandanavians) immigrated to the US, they probably caught Burbot but started referring to them as Eelpout, thinking they were the same kind of fish they'd caught in Europe.


Chris Raymond:
Good luck explaining this to the folks in MN.  ;-)

There's no scandanavians in Minnesota. (sarcasm ;)

Awe you ruined it!  ;D  The one above, I caught.  The one below...I've never caught.

I guess when someone wants to be technical about it and tells me that I've never caught an're right.  Maybe that's what that one guy meant when he told me, "There are no eelpouts in that lake!"


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