Burbot (Lota lota)

Category: Fish
Vulnerability to climate change (More details)


Description and Range

Physical description

Burbot are primarily found in northern waters, including those of northern Europe.

Climate vulnerability

Sensitivity to climate change


Burbot is a cold-adapted species whose distribution, behavior, and physiology is limited by warmer water temperatures. Warmer water temperatures limit dispersal to more southerly locations and influence behavior and physiology in current habitat. Burbot have been documented to seek out cool-water thermal refugia near lake inflows, and warmer water temperatures have been documented to decrease survival and have variable impacts on growth of hatchery-raised individuals. Shifts in streamflow may affect spawning migrations and/or spawning synchrony of this winter-spawning species. For example, reduced streamflows and lake/reservoir levels can reduce or degrade spawning and rearing habitat, while high winter flows may impede upstream movements of adult burbot.

Confidence: Moderate

Exposure to climate change


  • Increased water temperatures
  • Altered flow regimes
Confidence: Low

State record

WeightAnglerLocationDate Caught
17.37 lbs Mike Campbell Bead Lake, Pend Oreille County April 24, 2004

See all sportfish records


This species is identified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) under the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). SGCN-classified species include both those with and without legal protection status under the Federal or State Endangered Species programs, as well as game species with low populations. The WDFW SWAP is part of a nationwide effort by all 50 states and five U.S. territories to develop conservation action plans for fish, wildlife and their natural habitats—identifying opportunities for species' recovery before they are imperiled and more limited.