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Thread: Speaking of Burbot

  1. #1
    Member outaMT's Avatar
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    Default Speaking of Burbot

    We used to catch them in NW Montana (been 20 years or more ago); smaller then AK Ling– biggest I ever saw was maybe 2 pounds. Tasted like mud so I never kept any I caught. Some guys would smoke them; others would boil in Montaindew, etc. I just never liked the muddy, mushy meat.

    But, I seem to remember that the guys catching/keeping them would pluck out two pieces of ivory that were just under the skin, one above each eye….looked like little flat, thin ivory chicklets (like the chewing gum).

    Anybody else know about Burbot ivory, or am I totally mistaken?

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    You are probably refering to their otoliths, which aid in a fishes balance and hearing. They are typically located just a little behind the eye. Depending on the species and size of fish the otoliths can range in size from almost impossible to see to bigger than a quarter (Pacific Cod). Biologists can estimate a fishes age by counting the annuli on an otolith, not unlike what is done with aging salmon scales or counting tree rings. Also using electron microchemistry techniques, researchers can measure the concentrations a certain micronutrients at each annuli to determine if that fish was present in fresh or salt water during that time period. THere is some interesting research done currently by the USFWS on whitefish anadromy in interior Alaska rivers.

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    Bairdi,

    I remember something about navigation or sonar or some such, but what you said makes sense...is it an actual scale? I remember they looked like little chips of ivory or mother of pearl. Hadn't thought about it all these years until I saw the burbot cake on another post.

    Thanks for the info - +1

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    No, not an actual scale. If I remember correctly they are primarily composed of calcium carbonate or something like that. They do have a very pretty ivory/white color to them and an interesting shape. I've seen halibut and cod otoliths made into some nice looking earings. If you happen to be hanging around the cleaning tables at an ocean port when someone is cleaning pacific cod they are pretty easy to get out with a stout knife or hack saw. It is easier to remove them prior to filleting, but it can be done almost as easily if all you can get is the head. See this link for instructions on otolith removal. http://www.marinebiodiversity.ca/oto...ish/remove.htm

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    We caught them through the ice at the Fort Peck Dam - they were nice white meat - fairly firm and not mushy or muddy tasting....

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    not sure about the ivory thing. i am not from alaska, from northern mn, i live on lake of the woods and burbot are plentiful and big. People throw them on the ice and leave them, they say they scare the walleye away, and don't like them because they're slimy and what not. All my friends know i love to catch them and eat them, so they save ones they catch or pick fresh ones up for me when they're out.

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