Lamprey river: where dwells, what eats, how to catch, how to cook

Lamprey river - fish, like a huge worm. Despite its far from attractive appearance, it is becoming more and more popular as an object of fishing for fishermen, since the inhabitants of very many countries use lamprey for food.

Whether fish or not

Due to its long (sometimes up to 1 meter), snake-like body covered with mucus, the lamprey is very similar to eels. Because of their peculiar physiology, zoologists do not classify them as classical fish, classifying these primitive vertebrates as a special class of cyclostomes.

lamprey river is dangerous to humans

A special feature of this strange-looking fish is the absence of paired fins and bones. The skeleton consists of cartilage, and the spine replaces the flexible rod. The gills of her are also unusual; there are 7 gill holes on either side, for which the river lamprey received another name for the lamprey - the seven-furrow. Three eyes on her head also do not add to her attractiveness.Rounded mouth is the same as that of a leech. It plays the role of a sucker, through which fish can stick to stones or snags. Lamprey river - a predator. About a hundred teeth located at the edges of the mouth allow it to make a hole in the victim’s skin and penetrate into it with the help of a tongue that also has a number of teeth.

lamprey river how to catch

To parasitize on the body of its prey, the lamprey can last for a very long time since its mouth is not used for breathing. The absence of an air bubble does not allow this fish to swim, so it almost always spends at the bottom, masquerading in the thickness of the silt.


Basically, lamprey is found in freshwater rivers and coastal waters. Not so rare and the movement of these animals in the open sea. It is found in the basins of the rivers of the North Sea, along the coasts of Italy, France, Norway, England. In Russia, it often comes to spawn in the rivers of the Gulf of Finland and the Kaliningrad region. Especially on the Baltic coast the lamprey river is common, where it lives almost everywhere. Rarely found in rivers of Belarus, single specimens are present in the Neman, Western Dvina.

Lifestyle lamprey

Despite the fact that this fish is a predator, it moves very sluggishly. This slowness is due to the fact that the basis of the lamprey are dead animals and fish, as well as organic matter, which are mainly in the mud. Therefore, chasing a victim to catch it is not necessary. Moving over long distances, the lamprey can be carried out by sticking to any fish. Then her victim is not only a source of food, but also a means of transportation.

On the other hand, such a sedentary lifestyle makes lamprey easy prey for other predators that live in the water, especially burbot, catfish, and eel, which live on the bottom of the river.

Sometimes poses a danger to fishermen lamprey (fish).

lamprey river

The photo, the river fishing on which is captured at the time of lamprey obtaining, shows well how it is necessary to hold this predator so that he does not put his teeth into his hand.

Power base

In the larvae stage, lamprey feeds on small algae, worms or crustaceans, catching them at the bottom, sometimes for this it has to dig into the ground. Adults try to stay close to flocks of herring, cod, smelt or mackerel, sticking to their prey.The fact that this is a predator parasite can be determined by what the river lamprey feeds on - in its digestive tract bones, scales and fragments of the internal organs of various river fish are found.


Lamprey become sexually mature when they reach a length of 20-25 cm. The ascent into the rivers takes place in spring - from the end of May to mid-June, when the water warms to 12-13 degrees. Migrations are mainly carried out at night, since, due to the negative reaction to light, the course of the lamprey depends on the phase of the moon — it is more intense on a dark night. During the ripening period of caviar, the fish organism undergoes some changes. Teeth become more dull, dorsal fins increase, the intestines degenerate.

The nest is built by a male. With his torso he clears a small platform at the bottom of the river (up to 50 cm wide), removing even stones from it. Sticking to them and immediately abruptly jumping off, he manages to remove them from the nest. He can also push out the uninvited guest in the form of another male.

lamprey fish photo river

By the time the construction is completed, a female appears at the nest. Having stuck to a stone, she lays caviar. The male wraps around his body at this time and helps squeeze the eggs, watering them with milt. At the end of spawning, both producers are killed in a dark place and die.

Lamprey river has a fertility from 16 000 to 40 000 eggs, pear-shaped and about 1 mm in size.


After about 2 weeks, small (up to 3 mm) larvae appear from the eggs. They differ significantly from adults in appearance and behavior, and therefore are distinguished into a separate species called peskoroki.

After 3 days, they double in size and begin to burrow into the mud, screwing into it with serpentine movements of the body and taking a vertical posture. After 3 weeks, the sand dredges roll into places where the flow is slower and burrow into the ground there, where they actively feed on diatom algae. Before the larvae become true lamprey, many metamorphoses will occur with them.

Danger to humans

Cases when lamprey attack people are extremely rare. It often happens that a predator can attack by negligence, mistaking a man for fish. However, the lamprey river is dangerous for humans because when it bites, it releases a substance that prevents blood from clotting. Doctors recommend in such cases, immediately contact a doctor to prevent the possibility of the destruction of red blood cells and to prevent tissue breakdown.

Features of fishing lamprey

There are many hunters for this fish, because for more than one thousand years people have been eating it, despite the eerie appearance. Moreover, this delicacy was previously available only to very wealthy citizens.

lamprey river how to cook

The most different tackles caught lamprey river. How to catch it using merezhki, seine and other traps, know many experienced fishermen. These devices block the river, putting them close to each other and attaching to the established stakes.

The lamprey, even on an industrial scale, is often caught with the muzzle (burak). This tackle is a cone up to 80 cm long, consisting of metal or plastic rings. A wide part of it, where there is a funnel, is plugged with a cork, and this design is installed on the bottom of the river. The fish, getting inside, can no longer get back. Thus, in one night it can get up to 50 lampreys.

Today, experiments are quite successful when the lamprey river is caught using electric light. Special lights for underwater lighting are installed in such a way that the entire water space is flooded with light, except for the section along the river core, forming a dark corridor.Due to the negative reaction of lamprey to light, the fish begins to move through this unlit area, falling into traps placed there.what eats a lamprey river

The nutritional value

The lamprey river is highly valued for its nutritional and taste qualities. Its caloric value is about 88 kcal, this is 4% of the daily norm. Of these, 70% - proteins, 18% - fats, carbohydrates in the composition - 0%. This is one of the fattest fish in the world. Lamprey meat contains vitamin PP and minerals such as nickel, molybdenum, fluorine, chlorine and chromium. Due to the fact that fish lacks bone tissue, bile, as well as leftover food in the intestines, it can be consumed entirely. Lamprey is fried in special ovens, and then sometimes marinated. Such a product is especially popular in the Baltics.

Culinary processing

Very carefully, it is required to approach the process of cooking of dishes from this fish, strictly following all the recommendations on preparing it for eating. The fact is that the mucus that covers the river lamprey is dangerous to humans, because it is very toxic, therefore, it is first washed thoroughly and for a very long time. At the slightest sign of appearance on the fish of white color, it should be immediately discarded, otherwise the risk of poisoning is great. A fresh lamprey should have clean gill openings and a flexible body.Washed carcass is poured with salt at the rate of 3 tablespoons per kilogram of fish and left for half an hour, then again thoroughly washed under running water and proceed to gutting. For this difficult procedure, it is better to use nail scissors, making a cut from the tail to the head and at the same time removing the small intestine. After gutting the fish must be thoroughly washed again.


To the remnants of poisonous mucus when cooking does not penetrate into the body of the fish, the lamprey only fry. This method ensures the complete destruction of toxins that are completely destroyed at temperatures above 80 ° C. Fried lamprey should be eaten immediately after preparation, because it can not be stored for a long time. If it was impossible to eat the fish immediately, then it is poured with specially prepared jelly to protect it from the ingress of air.

lamprey recipe

Before cooking, cut the prepared fish into 5 cm pieces, wash again and place on a paper towel. After waiting a little while it dries, roll in flour and fry on both sides in heated oil. Then prepare the marinade. Without it, the fried lamprey is not kept for a long time.How to cook it? There are several ways. The easiest is when sugar, salt, cloves, pepper and bay leaf are poured with water in an amount of 500 ml and brought to a boil. Then put the pieces of fried fish, boil again, add a little vinegar and put for 2 days for pickling.

Preparing and in the oven lamprey river. The recipe is pretty simple. Place the pieces of fish on a dry baking sheet and place in an oven at least 180 ° C for half an hour. Put the lamprey on a plate. Add some hot water or dry white wine, apple cider vinegar to the rest of the juice formed during the preparation, mix and pour the fish over this sauce. The dish is ready to eat. Bon Appetit!

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