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Q & A
Burbot in Lake Erie
Question
What can you tell me about Burbot (freshwater cod) being caught in the channel between Lake Erie & Presque Isle Bay? My question is about size and creel limit. Also, how long have there been cod in the lake and what is the future hold for this fish?
Answer
These relatives of the Cod Family (Gadidae) were left as Lake Erie residents subsequent to the last retreat of the continental ice sheet some 14,000 years ago.

burbotThey, like their marine relatives, prefer colder waters and therefore are restricted to the deeper waters of Lake Erie during the summer months. They move to shallower waters after fall cool-down to eventually spawn during the winter. Their young seem to tolerate warmer water as they can be found in the near-shore shallows around and under rocks and bedrock shelving during their entire first year.

In Pennsylvania, burbot are not unique to Lake Erie, where they are considered abundant. Their maximum length is somewhat longer than 30 inches and the Lake Erie burbot population should continue to prosper in the future. Regulations for Lake Erie are listed within our Fishing Summary Books.

Elsewhere in the state their populations are considered poorly established and the burbot is considered a endangered species, not to be caught or possessed.

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