Catching burbot in winter – where to look and what to bite on

Burbot is the most unusual representative of the ichthyofauna. It differs from other types of fish not only in appearance, but also in the way of life. In good weather, almost all underwater inhabitants are active, but he does not manifest himself in any way. But in bad weather, when, not just fishing, you don’t want to go out into the street, the spotted handsome man “wakes up”, comes out of his hiding place and begins to feed hard. It’s the same in winter. If the sun is shining, there is no wind, and there is a plus on the thermometer, it is extremely difficult to catch burbot. But a blizzard, frost and a dark sky to blackness is what you need to catch burbot in winter.

Burbot is a predator that prefers to hunt mainly in the dark. Like catfish, he is an orderly of the reservoir, so you can catch him both on live fish, and on loose or pieces of fish meat. Tackles for catching burbot in winter are used in a variety of ways, from a simple winter fishing rod to a girder. If you do not take into account the weather conditions, such winter fishing at first glance seems like a simple occupation, but in fact, not every lover of ice fishing can get burbot in winter. To do this, at least you need to know its habits and habitats.

Behavior of the object of fishing in the cold season

In November, this fish begins to eat, which lasts until mid-winter. In January, activity decreases as spawning begins in burbot.

Fish in waterDuring spawning, they are caught much worse than at the beginning of the season, but this does not mean that going to the river will necessarily be ineffective. A couple of specimens can be caught even during the period of mass spawning.

After spawning, the burbot gradually recovers, becomes active again, bites at everything that the fishermen offer him. This lasts until about mid-spring, and then the predator lays down in the pits and remains half asleep until late autumn. That is why burbot fishing in winter is the best period, especially the first and last months.

Where to look for a predator

Burbot is found in deep rivers and lakes with clear water. He is very picky about his environment, polluted areas within the city are definitely not for him. There are two ways to determine its presence in a pond: ask local fishermen or measure depths and make a map. If there are many places with serious depths (10, 12, 15 meters), then there is no doubt that there are burbots here, and it sits there in hot summer. Ruffs will become another landmark. The more of them, the higher the likelihood of the presence of the object of fishing, because prickly bottom fish are his favorite delicacy.

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Finding this predator on an unfamiliar body of water is problematic. In order not to waste time, taking turns fishing in different areas, experienced anglers are advised to start searching from deep areas with a hard bottom (rocky, pebble, sandy). The most promising should be considered deep places, the bottom of which is literally covered with stones, large boulders, snags. Burbot loves to hunt among such shelters.

An excellent catch can be obtained from fishing under a steep river bank, where he often hides between tree roots washed away by the current.

Of course, in such conditions it will not do without hooks, but for the sake of catching a spotted handsome man, you can make certain sacrifices.

What gear to use?

The choice of tackle for winter burbot fishing is unlimited. Winter donks, fishing rods with a heavy jig, bait or balancer, snorkels, girders are used. With the right approach, they are all effective, especially if the process takes place at night. Let’s consider each of them in more detail.


Nothing is easier than this tackle. They consist of a reel, a thick fishing line (0.4-0.5 mm), a sinker capable of resisting the current, a leash up to 25 cm long installed above it and a large hook (No. 8-12). Rough rigging is not intimidating to burbot, so there is no need to set thin line and risk losing the rig. Don’t bother with the leash length either. After a grip, this predator does not rush to the side, as a pike does, it swallows its prey right on the spot.

Bottom rig
Bottom rig

When fishing for burbot on a donk in winter, either live bait or pieces of fish serve as a bait. In the fishing literature, bird guts are also often mentioned, but such a bait is not aesthetically pleasing and creates some inconvenience. It is much easier to attach a gudgeon or a brush to a hook, besides, a live fish at the bottom will behave restlessly and thereby attract a predator.

Donkeys are installed so that the reel lies across the hole. This tackle shows the best results if you put it in the evening and check it in the morning. On a crowded reservoir, it is advisable to sprinkle the Donka with snow, otherwise competitors may get the catch.

Spoon and balancer

For fishing with artificial lures, you will need a durable winter spinning rod equipped with an inertial reel with a stopper and a line supply that allows you to fish at decent depths. Lures and balancers for fishing in winter are used in a variety of ways: zander, pike, homemade products, made taking into account the preferences of burbot, balancers of all types and sizes. In the latter, it is advisable to remove the lower tee, if provided by the manufacturer, otherwise it may alert the predator. There is no need to be afraid of gatherings, the spotted handsome man almost always swallows greedily and deeply.

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Burbot in the holeThe technique of the game is no different from that used in other predatory fish. The bait can be gently shaken or thrown rhythmically, remembering to pause at the bottom of the retrieve. On this type of fishing, the movement of a spinner or a balancer is not the main attraction. Burbot is more interested in noise, so blows on the bottom surface are mandatory. Some fishermen even add homemade petals to their baubles to make them really noisy. In the water, such a lure tinkles loudly, attracting fish.


In terms of its external characteristics, it resembles a balance beam, since hooks also stick out from both sides of it. To make a catchy snorkel, you first need to prepare the mold and find some lead (you can use unnecessary sinkers). Hooks are inserted into the mold on the sides, then molten metal is poured into it and while it has not cooled down, a wire eyelet is inserted from above to attach the fishing line. Sagging and other surplus material is grinded with a file.

Spoon baitThe bait must be heavy (at least 20 g), otherwise it will not make enough noise when hitting the bottom.

The technique of fishing with a snorkel is as follows: a piece of fresh fish is put on each hook, the bait sinks to the bottom, with a sharp swing of the fishing rod it is thrown up and again falls to the bottom. It is not known what exactly provokes burbot to bite, appetizing meat, natural curiosity or annoying sounds, but it bites, and very actively.


For catching burbot in winter, pike tackle in the form of a tripod stand with a coil and a bright signaling device is suitable for girders, but anglers more often use so-called postavki made from scrap materials.

This tackle is affordable, practical and effective. For her, you need a stick longer than the diameter of the hole, a spear and a piece of rope (or wire). The roach is tied with a rope to the center of the stick so that its forked part looks down. A fishing line with a margin is wound on it, at the end of which a sinker and a double are installed. It is important not to forget to make an incision at the end of the spear to fix the fishing line. That’s it, the post is ready, you just need to put the bait on the hook and you can send the tackle into the water.
Catching for supply
In the working position, the spear is under the hole, after biting the line jumps out of the slot and comes off freely. When it is over, self-notching will occur. The burbot will not be able to drag the supply under the water, it will be held by a stick lying across the hole.

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Usually fishermen set several dozen girders for the night, and in the morning of the next day they “harvest”. Live bait, including those that have fallen asleep, are often used as bait. If there is not enough bait, the removed fish can be cut into pieces.

Alternative nozzles

In winter, especially in inclement weather, it can be difficult to get live bait, but this is not the only food for burbot. Experienced lovers of burbot fishing have been harvesting worms since autumn; many breed them in basements and garages. Such an occupation does not imply any tangible costs, you just need to find a wooden box on the farm and fill it with compost mixed with earth. If you throw fifty worms there at the beginning of autumn, they multiply and form a large colony by winter. In addition, fattening burbot is well caught on amphipods, shop sprat (not salted), any meat, even spoiled.

Fishing tactics

Burbot is not a perch that you have to run after all over the reservoir. Going on such a fishing, the fisherman must know exactly the places of his deployment or be able to quickly determine them. This is the main thing, everything else is a matter of technology.

Burbot on iceDonkeys, girders and stavushki are generally placed at night, while in the daytime you can try to catch burbot with a spoon or trick. It so happens that it starts to activate in the late afternoon, when it is already getting dark. It’s a shame to go home empty-handed, and even with the knowledge that the nibble is just beginning. In order not to get into a similar situation, you always need to carry a tent, a torch, a reliable flashlight and provisions with you.

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