In search of burbot “trails”

My experience of catching burbot in the reservoirs of Siberia, the Baltic States and central Russia gives reason to believe that in different regions in general, its behavior is similar. However, there are many nuances, especially when looking for burbot camps and “paths” along which he moves, looking for food. So, if the springs in central Russia are either catastrophically small, or they are polluted, in Siberia there are still rivers that have not been poisoned by “civilization”. On such reservoirs, the search for burbot sites is reduced to the following rule. If on a river section 1-1.5 km long there are two or three tributaries with clean water, plus several spring springs, at the exit of which you will find a pile of pitfalls, drifts or clay boulders, consider that these are ideal conditions for a cold-loving “secretive »Burbot.

In general, the Siberian burbot, as far as I have noticed, tends to a greater extent towards the upper and middle reaches of rivers, leads a vagrant lifestyle and concentrates in deep areas only closer to freezing. It is more difficult to look for it in vast lakes and reservoirs. The main landmarks here are usually coastal and remote from the coast rocky ridges, indented dumps in depth, underwater hillocks, snags at the outlet of rivers and streams, where there are at least small areas with a sandy or sandy-pebble bottom. Small burbot weighing 1.5-2 kg lives locally in some reservoirs near Moscow: Istra, Klyazminsky, Ruzsky, Ivankovsky, Uglichsky. And also in the Oka, Moskva River, Dubna and many other rivers.

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When fishing for burbot, it is important to know when it makes seasonal migrations (spring, autumn and winter moves). The spring movement of burbots to the upper reaches of rivers is associated not with procreation, but with the search for cleaner, colder water and feeding places. However, it cannot be said that this fish always and everywhere avoids muddy water. A characteristic feature of the Siberian burbot is an active bite on the worm immediately after the ice drift, for about 1-2 weeks, until the water clears up. Best fishing time: from early evening twilight until 2 am and then before morning. After heavy rains, the predator comes close to the shore. It is caught in troubled waters during the day. In general, burbot reacts very sharply even to the slightest pollution of water bodies by industrial and domestic wastewater, as well as to water temperature. Perhaps that is why one can often find in the fishing literature the statement that in the summer, especially in hot weather, he does not eat and lives exclusively on fat, which is rich in burbot liver.

This is not entirely true. Burbot falls into lethargy only in those reservoirs where it is not able to find more comfortable conditions for itself. And therefore, the poor fellow has nothing to do but hide in a crustacean hole or other shelter for a long time. In Lake Baikal, for example, burbot is very active throughout the summer, since the Baikal water is almost equally cold at any time of the year. In my youth, I had to catch burbots in the middle of summer in small mountain rivers of Transbaikalia with very cold water. As for the behavior of burbots living in the reservoirs of central Russia, then the myth of summer hibernation does not stand up to criticism. As recently as 1999, on a rainy August day, I took a burbot weighing 1.6 kg with a float rod at the mouth of the Voloshnya River (Ruza reservoir). A nocturnal predator was seduced by two fresh dung worms wriggling on a hook. Cases of summer catching of burbots with spinning gear for artificial baits were also noted in the Moscow region. In spring and autumn, burbot is good for dead fish.

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In autumn, burbot begins to move towards spawning grounds, and in winter, in the most severe frosts, it goes to spawn, actively feeding at this time. He not only makes seasonal migrations, but also constantly roams within the chosen area of ​​the reservoir. This is due to both changes in water temperature and other factors (for example, in some water bodies of the Baltic region, burbots often accompany flocks of smelt and smelt, which serve them here as food). On moonlit nights, burbot moves less, on dark nights – more.

author V.A. Kazantsev
Open Water Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)